ACTION Campaign Submits Comments to Senate Finance Committee in Response to Hearing on Affordable Housing

Yesterday, the ACTION Campaign submitted a statement for the record to the Senate Finance Committee in response to the August 1 hearing on “America’s Affordable Housing Crisis: Challenges and Solutions.” The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548) featured prominently in the discussion and several witnesses and Committee members from both sides of the aisle made positive comments about the need to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit.

In our comments, we applaud Chairman Hatch and Senator Cantwell for introducing S. 548 and organizing the hearing on affordable housing, and we thank the several other Committee members who have signed on as co-sponsors of S. 548 and expressed support for strengthening and expanding the Housing Credit. We also urge all remaining Senate Finance Committee members to support the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act because of its proven ability to revitalize communities, preserve existing investments in affordable housing and meet the growing need for affordable housing across the country, a need that was reiterated extensively throughout the hearing.

We urge the Senate Finance Committee to advance the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act this year and protect both the Housing Credit and multifamily Housing Bonds—a central component of the Housing Credit program—as part of any tax reform effort considered by Congress.

Senate Finance Committee Holds Hearing on Affordable Housing

Today the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on "America’s Affordable Housing Crisis: Challenges and Solutions." In a bipartisan show of support for affordable housing, members of the Committee from both sides of the aisle acknowledged the need for more affordable housing and the role of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) as our nation’s primary tool for increasing the supply of affordable rental housing.

The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548) featured prominently in the discussion, and there were many comments from witnesses as well as members of the Committee about the need to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit. There are currently 20 Senators signed on as co-sponsors of S. 548, including seven members of the Finance Committee.

The witnesses were:

  • Daniel Garcia-Diaz, Director, Financial Markets and Community Investment, United States Government Accountability Office (GAO). Garcia-Diaz’s testimony focused on the three GAO reports issued on the Housing Credit over the past three years, which reviewed issues of federal administration, state administration and the role of syndicators. He raised findings regarding data collection and IRS oversight of the program, and recommended that further investment be made in oversight of the program. The GAO is currently working on a fourth report on the topic of Housing Credit development costs, which is expected to be completed in early 2018.
  • Grant Whitaker, President and CEO of the Utah Housing Corporation and President of the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA). Whitaker’s testimony described the scale of the affordable housing crisis and the role of the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds in addressing it, citing specific examples of these programs’ success in helping to house veterans and chronically homeless individuals in Utah. He also encouraged all Senators to co-sponsor S. 548, urging that, “This crisis will only get worse unless we act.”
  • Kathy O'Regan, Professor of Public Policy and Planning at the Furman Center and former Assistant Secretary for the HUD Office of Policy Development and Research. O’Regan’s testimony focused on the increasing number of households experiencing high cost burden, especially among the lowest income renters. She argued that now is an “opportune time to make substantive improvements” to the Housing Credit, citing several key provisions in S. 548, including income averaging, the basis boost for apartments serving extremely low-income tenants, prohibiting local approval requirements, clarifying requirements around the definition of a concerted community revitalization plan, setting a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate, and promoting development in Native American communities.
  • Kirk McClure, Professor of Urban Planning at the University of Kansas. McClure’s testimony acknowledged that the Housing Credit is “a good program” but suggested several reforms to promote the use of market studies to ensure that developments are sited in locations with the greatest need, to allow state housing finance agencies to exchange Housing Credit authority for voucher authority, to encourage rehabilitation over new construction, and to promote mixed-income developments.
  • Granger MacDonald, Chairman of the Board of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). MacDonald’s testimony stated that “housing affordability has reached crisis proportions,” and that the first step to addressing the crisis is to pass S. 548. He underscored that it is economically infeasible to develop homes that are affordable to low-income renters without the Housing Credit, and enumerated the many benefits of affordable housing for residents – including breaking the cycle of poverty by providing greater stability for residents – as well as the broader economic impacts for communities.

In his opening statement, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), lead Republican sponsor of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, described the affordable housing crisis as “a problem that should be ready for a bipartisan solution,” and throughout the hearing expressed support for S. 548 as an important step to make a meaningful dent in the affordable housing crisis. “One reason I support the Housing Credit,” Chairman Hatch said, “is that it keeps decision-making away from D.C., and keeps it in communities while involving the private sector.” Hatch also outlined broader principles for tax reform, including fairness, efficiency, simplicity, and American competitiveness.

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden’s (D-OR) opening statement reaffirmed his support for S. 548 and called on the committee to pursue bipartisanship both in advancing this bill and in tax reform more broadly. “Senators Cantwell and Hatch are demonstrating how the two sides can work together on major economic challenges,” Ranking Member Wyden said. “After a heated few weeks in the Senate, I know both sides crave a return to bipartisanship and regular order, and for this committee that would mean tax reform is likely on the horizon.”

In her remarks, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), lead sponsor of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, highlighted the role of the Housing Credit in serving urban as well as rural communities, and responding to specific needs like veteran homelessness. She emphasized the growth in the number of cost-burdened renter households, citing projections from Enterprise and the Joint Center for Housing Studies that the number of renter households who pay more than half of their income towards rent could grow to nearly 15 million by 2025. Senator Cantwell also underscored the high costs of inaction on the health and criminal justice systems, among others.

Prominent themes in the hearing included:

  • The affordable housing crisis affects every state and all types of communities. Senator John Thune (R-SD) noted that the affordable housing crisis affects rural communities in addition to the urban ones more often associated with the crisis, and asked about provisions in S. 548 to encourage affordable housing development in rural communities (of which there are several). Ranking Member Wyden said, “This crisis is a five-alarm fire across the country.” Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) also discussed the mismatch between wages and what it costs to rent housing in his own state, and quoted pediatrician Megan Sandel in describing affordable housing as a “vaccine” that is needed in order to keep children healthy.
  • The Housing Credit is the primary tool to develop more affordable housing. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), a co-sponsor of S. 548, called the Housing Credit “one of the best tools we have,” and confirmed with MacDonald of NAHB that none of the 4,700 affordable apartments that MacDonald had developed would have been possible without the Housing Credit. Several other members and witnesses also acknowledged that the Housing Credit is essentially the only tool the federal government has to add more affordable housing to our nation’s supply.
  • Even successful programs can be made stronger. Ranking Member Wyden, who is an original co-sponsor of S. 548, said that the bill will help us “wring all of the value out of the Housing Credit.” Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) added that we need “stronger tools available,” and that he is “not squeamish about looking at ways to make programs more effective.” Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) expressed her enthusiasm for the bill as well, indicating that she looks forward to being listed as an official co-sponsor, and discussed Michigan’s specific need for the provision to address planned foreclosures.
  • Private sector and state oversight are critical to the Housing Credit’s success. In response to questions from Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) about oversight of the Housing Credit, Whitaker of NCSHA noted that state agencies are deeply involved in monitoring Housing Credit properties, including compliance audits and reviews of financial records, rent rolls and physical conditions. Garcia-Diaz of the GAO also acknowledged the role of the private sector in monitoring the program, noting that while syndicators “don’t relieve the federal government of the responsibility” of overseeing the program, they do “play a unique role in oversight of the Housing Credit.” Senator Isakson also observed that the Housing Credit “has about as many incentives as you can have in a program to take good care of the properties.” “I know it’s hard to track from the GAO’s perspective,” MacDonald of NAHB added, “but at the local level there’s a lot of oversight.”
  • Adjustments to the Housing Credit will be needed in order to offset the impact of a lower corporate rate and other potential changes in tax reform. Even if there are no proposed changes to the Housing Credit in tax reform, other changes to the corporate tax code could negatively impact Housing Credit production. O’Regan of the Furman Center noted that, “any decrease in corporate tax rates also lowers the amount of equity raised by the credit,” and that Housing Credit equity could “decline by up to 17 percent under expected decreases in the corporate tax rate if per-capita allocations are not increased to keep pace.” Senator Thune also asked about the impact of a shorter depreciation period on Housing Credit investment, and MacDonald of NAHB noted that such a change could have a positive impact on Housing Credit pricing.

The ACTION Campaign will provide a statement for the record and encourages other ACTION members to submit statements as well. Statements must be received no later than two weeks following the conclusion of the hearing, and instructions can be found on the committee's hearing webpage. See our submission to the Senate Finance Committee submitted earlier this month for talking points and data regarding the need for affordable housing and the impact of the Housing Credit.

For more information about the Housing Credit and the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, visit our Advocacy Toolkit.

July ACTION Update: Senate to Hold Hearing on Affordable Housing, Tax Reform to Take Center Stage.

Senate Finance Committee to Hold Hearing on Affordable Housing Next Week

The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a hearing for next Tuesday, August 1, on "America’s Affordable Housing Crisis: Challenges and Solutions." The Housing Credit and the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548) will feature prominently in the discussion. The witnesses will be:

  • Daniel Garcia-Diaz, Director, Financial Markets and Community Investment, United States Government Accountability Office
  • Grant Whitaker, President and CEO of the Utah Housing Corporation and President of the National Council of State Housing Agencies
  • Kathy O'Regan, Professor of Public Policy and Planning at the Furman Center and former Assistant Secretary for the HUD Office of Policy Development and Research
  • Kirk McClure, Professor of Urban Planning at the University of Kansas
  • Granger MacDonald, Chairman of the Board of the National Association of Home Builders

The ACTION Campaign will provide a statement for the record and encourages other ACTION members to submit statements as well. Statements must be received no later than two weeks following the conclusion of the hearing, and instructions can be found on the committee's hearing webpage.

Tax Reform to Take Center Stage

While Congressional healthcare efforts are still underway, Congress is increasingly turning its attention to tax reform. It remains to be seen whether Congress will be able to pass comprehensive tax reform, or even a more limited tax cut bill, with many unanswered questions, including whether Congress will be able to pass a budget resolution providing reconciliation protections to a tax bill and whether Congressional Republicans will be able to come to an agreement with each other and with the White House on the details of a plan. In the meantime, we wait for a more detailed tax reform plan from the Administration, building off the one-page outline the White House released in April, expected to be released in early September.

Meanwhile, both the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee have held hearings on tax reform in recent weeks, focusing on the impact of tax reform for small businesses, middle class families, and working individuals. The Housing Credit was featured positively during a July 18 Senate Finance Committee hearing to consider the nomination of David J. Kautter as Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy of the Treasury Department. During the hearing, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) highlighted the critical need for more affordable rental housing in tax reform, saying, “The tax credit drives 90 percent of affordable housing, so if you don’t increase it, we’re not going to increase the supply.” Kautter responded that, “from what I’ve seen [the Housing Credit] works pretty well” and expressed an interest in making the program “even more effective and efficient than it is today.” See the full exchange between Senator Cantwell and David Kautter on the importance of investing in the Housing Credit.

During another July 18 Senate Finance Committee hearing, titled Comprehensive Tax Reform: Prospects and Challenges, Senators from both sides of the aisle discussed the need to lower the corporate tax rate in order to encourage job and wage growth, provide greater fairness within the code, and sustainably (and permanently) reform the tax system through fiscally responsible and revenue-spurring changes. Committee members from both parties expressed a desire to legislate in a bipartisan manner; however, some Democrats voiced concerns that GOP lawmakers may write legislation without Democratic input or not hold hearings in the Committee once a tax reform bill was drafted.

The House Ways and Means Tax Policy Subcommittee also held two hearings this month: How Tax Reform Will Help America’s Small Businesses Grow and Create New Jobs, on July 13, and How Tax Reform Will Simplify Our Broken Tax Code and Help Individuals and Families, on July 19. Both of these hearings explored the principles for comprehensive tax reform outlined in the House GOP tax reform blueprint, “A Pro-Growth Tax Code for All Americans,” released last summer.

Recent Op-Eds Highlight Importance of the Housing Credit Across the Country

Last month, the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution in support of expanding the Housing Credit and called for increased investment in the nation’s critical affordable housing infrastructure. Eric Enderlin, president of New York City’s Housing Development Corporation, and Christine Hensley from the Des Moines City Council, argue in a recent op-ed in The Hill that consensus between the public officials in NYC and Des Moines -- two very different places -- indicates that the affordable housing crisis is a bipartisan issue that transcends geography and should not go unnoticed by Congress. Enderlin and Hensley urge lawmakers to protect and expand the Housing Credit, which includes supporting the Affordable Housing Improvement Act in the House (H.R. 1661) and Senate (S. 548).

Ralph Perrey, executive director of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency, also wrote this week about the importance of expanding affordable housing resources, specifically the Housing Credit, which is the nation's primary tool to develop new affordable housing. And Matthew Reiger, CEO of Housing Trust Group in Miami, wrote in the Miami Herald that lawmakers must pass the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act to support cost-burdened renters in South Florida.

New Resources Highlight Benefits of Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act for Rural Communities

New ACTION Campaign fact sheets highlight the Housing Credit’s impact in rural areas and the provisions in the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act that would make it easier to develop affordable housing in rural areas. See the Senate version and the House version of the new rural fact sheet.

Visit the ACTION Campaign’s Advocacy Toolkit for other advocacy materials, including our new Case for Enhancing the Housing Credit, bill summaries, bill text, "Dear Colleague" letters, sample letters to members of Congress requesting co-sponsorship, and more. 

Affordable Housing Events Taking Place Nationwide During Week of Action

This week, Our Homes, Our Voices is hosting a Week of Action with events planned across the country in support of critical affordable housing programs. Affordable housing stakeholders are encouraged to participate in the events that have been scheduled or coordinate their own local events during the Week of Action.

With members of Congress preparing to return to their districts for the August recess, we also encourage ACTION Campaign members to arrange property tours and site visits for members of Congress and their staff.

Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act Continues to Gain Co-sponsors

The Tiberi-Neal Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 (H.R. 1661) has reached 77 co-sponsors (including Rep. Tiberi), with 14 additional members signing on in support of the Housing Credit in the past month. The most recent additions are Representatives Joyce Beatty (D-OH-3), Susan Brooks (R-IN-5), Matt Cartwright (D-PA-17), Keith Ellison (D-MN-5), Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA-4), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3), Alcee Hastings (D-FL-20), Larry Bucshon (R-IN-8), Darrell Issa (R-CA-49), Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1), Roger Marshall (R-KS-1), Robert Brady (D-PA-1), Scott Taylor (R-VA-2), and Stephen Knight (R-CA-25).

The Cantwell-Hatch version of the bill (S. 548) has reached 20 co-sponsors, including Sen. Cantwell.

With tax reform high on the agenda when Congress returns from August recess, now is a critical time for Housing Credit stakeholders to encourage additional members of Congress to sign on as co-sponsors.

ACTION Campaign Submits Comments to Senate Finance Committee

The ACTION Campaign has submitted comments to the Senate Finance Committee in response to Chairman Orrin Hatch’s (R-UT) request for recommendations for creating a simpler and fairer tax system. In particular, he asked for recommendations regarding tax relief for middle-class households, strengthening business, removing impediments and disincentives for savings and investment and updating the nation’s international tax system.

In our comments, we applaud Chairman Hatch and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) for introducing the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548) to expand and strengthen the Housing Credit, encourage the Senate Finance Committee to advance this critical legislation this year, and urge the Committee to protect both the Housing Credit and multifamily Housing Bonds—a central component of the Housing Credit program—as part of any tax reform effort considered by Congress.

Recommendation letters must be submitted by email to taxreform2017@finance.senate.gov no later than Monday, July 17. We again encourage all ACTION Campaign members to weigh in, and for those have not yet provided comments, we invite you to use language and data from the ACTION Campaign submission.

‘Out of Reach’ Report Demonstrates Critical Need for Expanding the Housing Credit

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) recently released its 2017 Out of Reach report with staggering statistics; renters need to earn a wage of $21.21 per hour, or more than 2.9 times higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, in order to afford a modest two-bedroom unit in the U.S. These findings reinforce the importance of supporting the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit), which is essential for preserving and expanding the supply of affordable rental housing.

According to NLIHC, a full-time minimum-wage worker cannot afford a modest two-bedroom rental unit in any state, metropolitan area or county in the U.S. On average, a renter earning the federal minimum wage would need to work 94.5 hours per week to afford a one-bedroom rental unit at Fair Market Rent, and 117 hours per week (three full-time jobs) to afford a two-bedroom. According to NLIHC, the national gap between the average renter’s wage and the “housing wage,” which is the hourly wage full-time workers must earn to afford modest rental housing without spending more than 30 percent of their incomes on housing, is $4.83 per hour.

Twenty-nine states, the District of Columbia and a number of local jurisdictions have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage. However, a full-time minimum-wage worker can only afford a one-bedroom rental home in twelve counties in the U.S. The report also finds that more than 20 million renter households live in “housing poverty,” meaning they are unable to pay for all of their other basic needs like food, transportation and medical care after paying rent.

There are 11.2 million severely cost-burdened renter households and a national shortage of 7.4 million affordable rental homes for extremely low-income households, indicating the critical need for more affordable housing. However, the supply of affordable rental housing has not kept pace with rising demand over the past decade. Between 2007 and 2015, the median gross rent for a rental unit increased by six percent (after adjusting for overall inflation), while the median income for renter households increased by only one percent, and the national median income dropped by four percent.

It is not economically feasible for developers to build affordable housing without a subsidy, which is why strengthening and expanding the Housing Credit – a successful public-private partnership that is responsible for nearly all of the affordable housing built and preserved since the program was created in 1986 – is so critical. Since it was created in 1986, the Housing Credit has financed nearly 3 million apartments since 1986, providing roughly 6.7 million low-income families, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities homes they can afford.

The Housing Credit also serves many of the households with the greatest needs; over 80 percent of Housing Credit tenants are considered very low-income (at or below 50 percent of AMI) and nearly half of Housing Credit tenants are considered extremely low-income (below 30 percent of AMI). Expanding the Housing Credit and increasing the supply of affordable housing cannot come soon enough for the 11.2 million severely cost-burdened families who must make tradeoffs between necessities like transportation, healthy food and medical bills.

The ACTION Campaign strongly supports the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017, introduced by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in the Senate (S. 548), and by Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH-12) and Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA-1) in the House (H.R. 1661). To read more about this legislation, read our bill summary for the House and Senate bills, and visit our Advocacy Toolkit for more resources to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit in your state and district.

ACTION Submits Statement on the Housing Credit’s Economic Benefits

The ACTION Campaign has submitted a statement to the House Ways and Means Committee in response to a May 18 hearing on “How Tax Reform Will Grow Our Economy and Create Jobs,” urging the committee to expand and strengthen the Housing Credit and protect multifamily Housing Bonds as part of any tax reform effort to grow our economy and create jobs.

Our comments describe the Housing Credit’s 30-year track record of success, as well as the host of positive impacts that Housing Credit development has on local economies and communities – including creating jobs, generating local income and tax revenue, revitalizing distressed communities, increasing property values and reducing poverty, crime, and racial and economic isolation. We also discuss the importance of the Housing Credit in preserving our existing investments in affordable housing, as well as the drain that a lack of affordable housing has on our economy.

We urge the Ways and Means Committee to advance the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661), sponsored by Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH-12) and Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA-1), as a way to support investment in the Housing Credit through tax reform. We also call on Congress to expand the Housing Credit and retain the tax exemption on multifamily Housing Bonds.

Visit our Advocacy Toolkit for more information about efforts to protect, strengthen, and expand the Housing Credit.

Support for the Housing Credit Continues to Grow

By Emily Cadik and Olivia Barrow

Recent articles, reports, policy developments, and advocacy tools continue to build the case for strengthening and expanding the Housing Credit. See our Advocacy Toolkit for more resources to help promote the positive benefits of the Housing Credit in your community.

New Video Features the Housing Credit's Far-Reaching Benefits

Strengthen What’s Working,” a new video from the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition, explores the Housing Credit's role as America’s primary tool for creating and preserving affordable rental homes—and why it should be strengthened and expanded as a proven community and economic development tool.

The video features Family Scholar House in Louisville, Kentucky, which provides homes for children with parents pursuing higher education; Hope Manor II in Chicago, which serves veterans; and Columbia Senior Residences in Decatur, Georgia, outside Atlanta. It also includes testimony from HUD Secretary Ben Carson and a statement from Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID).

Reports Highlight Impact of Housing Credit

A new publication from the NYU Furman Center details the Housing Credit as the federal government’s primary financing tool for the construction and preservation of affordable housing. Since 1986, the Housing Credit has generated a host of benefits for local communities, including increased surrounding home values and lower crime rates. The publication also shows that Housing Credit tenants have access to better schools.

Additionally, the AARP Public Policy Institute recently released a report highlighting the importance of Housing Credit properties for the elderly population. The report finds that 30 percent of housing cost-burdened households are ages 62 and older, making the Housing Credit a source of much-needed affordable housing for low-income seniors.

Poll Shows Vast Majority of Voters Support Housing Credit

A recent poll from Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies (CAPS) and Harris Insights & Analytics also shows that 74 percent of voters are in favor of keeping the Housing Credit in tax reform – giving it the most support of any corporate tax deduction or credit among those polled.  Read more in our blog post.

Bipartisan Support Grows for Housing Credit Legislation

Legislation in both the Senate and House continues to indicate that the Housing Credit has strong bipartisan support. The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 (S. 548) was introduced with 11 original co-sponsors alongside Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and companion legislation in the House (H.R. 1661) was introduced with 16 original co-sponsors, alongside Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH-12) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA-1). Both the Senate and House legislation have continued to gain bipartisan support since being introduced, with 17 and 37 co-sponsors respectively. The ACTION Campaign sent letters to both the Senate and House in support of these bills.

Administration Confirms Support for Housing Credit

Additionally, members of the Administration have signaled support for the Housing Credit. HUD Secretary Ben Carson stated his support for public-private partnerships, specifically the Housing Credit, at his confirmation hearing in January and more recently on his “listening tour” of HUD'-financed properties throughout the country.

Op-Eds Highlight Need for Housing Credit Expansion

Enterprise Community Partners President and CEO Terri Ludwig recently advocated for an expansion of the Housing Credit by touting the program’s strong history as a model public-private partnership that ensures accountability and results. “Investors receive credits only after properties are up and running as homes to income-eligible families at affordable rents,” write Ludwig. “In other words, private investors, not taxpayers, bear the financial risk of development.”

LISC President & CEO Maurice Jones and National Equity Fund President & CEO Joe Hagan also wrote in the Huffington Post about the need ensure that the Housing Credit remains robust and flexible: "It gets rid of blight. It creates jobs. And it gives people a chance for a better way of life."

Trump Administration Releases Tax Reform Proposal with Limited Details

On April 26, the Trump Administration released a one-page proposal outlining its high-level principles for tax reform. A linchpin of the plan is to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 to 15 percent, consistent with proposals President Trump made during the campaign.

Other corporate tax proposals include a territorial tax system to “level the playing field” for American companies, a one-time repatriation tax on trillions of dollars held overseas and the elimination of tax breaks for unspecified “special interests.” The Administration also proposes making significant changes to the individual side of the tax code, including a doubling of the standard deduction that prompted immediate criticism from the real estate industry.

The Administration’s plan does not mention the Housing Credit or Housing Bonds, and it is unclear how many tax credits and deductions will be targeted for repeal under the proposal to “eliminate tax breaks for special interests.” A recent poll from Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies (CAPS) and Harris Insights & Analytics shows that 74 percent of voters are in favor of keeping the Housing Credit in tax reform, giving it the most support of any corporate tax deduction or credit among those polled.

Democrats in Congress have criticized the plan and appear unlikely to work with the Administration on tax reform, suggesting that the likeliest path for tax reform is through the budget reconciliation process. Budget reconciliation allows legislation to pass the Senate on a partisan basis with only a simple majority instead of 60 votes. However, the budget reconciliation process is governed by rules that may preclude it as a vehicle for the Administration’s tax plan in its current form. Anything passed through budget reconciliation cannot raise deficits outside of a ten-year budget window, and while the cost of the Administration’s plan is not yet known, estimates range between $3 trillion and $7 trillion over ten years.

Republicans on the Hill generally supported the President’s goal of cutting taxes and simplifying the tax code but also voiced a variety of concerns. Unlike the House plan, which offsets $1 trillion in lost revenue through its controversial border adjustment proposal, the Trump proposal does not include major revenue offsets. Even using dynamic scoring, which considers future economic growth in the scoring process, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to fit the current proposal into the confines of budget reconciliation, or to gain sufficient political support among fiscally conservative Republicans.

While the release of the President’s tax reform proposal serves as an “opening bid” for what the Administration would like to see in tax reforms, the timeline for tax reform is still likely to take many months and is highly unlikely to emerge in accordance with the Administration plan.  In addition, the one-page plan leaves many details unaddressed. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin recently suggested that the timeline for the President signing tax reform will take longer than the initially ambitious August goal.

Throughout May, the Trump Administration will hold listening sessions with stakeholders to receive feedback on the proposal. At this time, it is not yet known when the Administration will release a more detailed tax plan. The House is also continuing to translate its tax reform blueprint, released last summer, into legislation, and plans to hold tax reform hearings over the coming months. The Senate has not yet announced its own formal process, but is very unlikely to accept either the House or Administration’s plans without significant changes.

New Poll Finds Strong Public Support for Housing Credit in Tax Reform

A new poll from Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies (CAPS) and Harris Insights & Analytics shows that 74 percent of voters are in favor of keeping the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) in tax reform – giving it the most support of any corporate tax deduction or credit among those polled.  

This strong demonstration of public support for the Housing Credit comes at a critical time as Congress and the Administration move forward in the tax reform process. The Administration has announced that it will release a tax reform proposal as soon as Wednesday, and the House Ways and Means Committee is preparing to begin hearings on tax reform in the coming weeks.

The poll also found that just under half of voters support cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, but are more inclined to support corporate tax reform that would bring foreign profits back to the U.S. and fund infrastructure investments in the U.S..

More Than 2,000 Organizations and Businesses Urge Support for Tiberi-Neal Bill to Strengthen the Housing Credit

Over 2,000 organizations and businesses from across the nation are calling on Congress to support the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661), bipartisan legislation introduced by Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH-12) and House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA-1) to strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit).

The letter submitted on behalf of the ACTION Campaign urges Congress to support the Tiberi-Neal bill, which includes provisions to provide states with additional flexibility, make the financing of affordable housing more predictable and streamlined, facilitate Housing Credit development in challenging markets like rural and Native American communities, increase the Housing Credit’s ability to serve extremely low-income tenants, and support the preservation of existing affordable housing. The legislation also contains important provisions that would support development of rental homes using the Housing Credit coupled with multifamily Housing Bonds, which currently provide critical financing to roughly 40 percent of Housing Credit apartments.

The Tiberi-Neal bill was introduced with 16 original co-sponsors, of which 13 are members of the House Ways and Means Committee. Since the bill was introduced, several additional members have joined as co-sponsors, signaling strong bipartisan support for the Housing Credit in a year that Congress hopes to achieve comprehensive tax reform.

The Tiberi-Neal bill is companion legislation to the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 (S. 548), introduced by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) earlier in March. The ACTION Campaign previously sent a letter to Congress on behalf of over 2,000 organizations and businesses in support of the Cantwell-Hatch bill. While the House version does not include the 50 percent cap increase on Housing Credit allocation authority that is included in the Senate version, the House bill does include the roughly two-dozen other provisions to strengthen the Housing Credit that are included in the Cantwell-Hatch bill. The ACTION Campaign fully supports the House bill and will continue to advocate for a cap increase in any tax legislation that moves forward in Congress.

For more information, see the:

The ACTION Campaign Circulates Sign-On Letter in Support of Tiberi-Neal Legislation

Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH-12) and Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA-1) recently introduced the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661), bipartisan legislation to strengthen the Housing Credit.

The Tiberi-Neal legislation is the House companion to S. 548, introduced by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) earlier in March. While the Tiberi-Neal bill does not include the 50 percent cap increase on Housing Credit allocation authority included in the Senate bill, it does include the roughly two dozen other provisions to strengthen the Housing Credit. This includes strengthening the Housing Credit by providing states with additional flexibility, making the financing of affordable housing more predictable and streamlined, facilitating Housing Credit development in challenging markets like rural and Native American communities, increasing the Housing Credit’s ability to serve extremely low-income tenants, and supporting the preservation of existing affordable housing. See our bill summary for a full list of provisions in H.R. 1661.

The ACTION Campaign will be submitting a letter to Congress demonstrating our strong support for the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act.

Read the letter and sign on to support the Tiberi-Neal legislation. The deadline for signing on to the letter is Friday, April 7.

All existing ACTION Campaign members will be included in the letter, so if you are already an ACTION Campaign member you do NOT need to sign on. However, we encourage you to share the letter with your networks to help us show broad support for the Housing Credit. 

If you have any questions or wish to remove your organization from the letter, contact Emily Cadik at ecadik@enterprisecommunity.org by the April 7 deadline.

Representatives Tiberi and Neal Introduce Legislation to Strengthen Housing Credit

Yesterday Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH-12) and Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA-1) introduced the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 (H.R. 1661), a bipartisan, comprehensive bill to strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit). The bill is companion legislation to S. 548, which Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced earlier this month

In addition to Representatives Tiberi and Neal, there are 16 other original co-sponsors, 13 of which are Ways and Means Committee members: Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26), John Faso (R-NY-19), John Katko (R-NY-24), Mike Kelly (R-PA-3), Patrick Meehan (R-PA-7), Erik Paulsen (R-MN-3), David Reichert (R-WA-8), James Renacci (R-OH-16), Jason Smith (R-MO-8), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3), Joseph Crowley (D-NY-14), Danny Davis (D-IL-7), Gregory Meeks (D-NY-5), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-9), Linda Sanchez (D-CA-38), and Mike Thompson (D-CA-5).

The House bill would provide increased flexibility, simplify program requirements, make the financing of affordable housing more predictable and streamlined, support the preservation of existing affordable housing, and facilitate Housing Credit development in challenging markets, like rural and Native American communities, and for hard-to-reach populations, including those with extremely low incomes. The legislation also contains important provisions that would support development of rental homes using the Housing Credit coupled with multifamily Housing Bonds, which currently provide critical financing to roughly 40 percent of Housing Credit apartments.

The primary difference between the House and Senate bills is that the House bill does not include the 50 percent phased-in Housing Credit cap increase that is part of the Senate bill. However, it takes significant steps to strengthen the Housing Credit, and ACTION fully endorses this critical legislation. ACTION will continue to encourage the inclusion of a cap increase in any final tax legislation that advances through Congress. 

The ACTION Campaign thanks Representatives Tiberi and Neal and the other original co-sponsors for their leadership and support of the Housing Credit. With tax reform likely to move forward in 2017, this strong bipartisan expression of support for the Housing Credit is extremely significant. ACTION looks forward to continuing to work with the House, Senate and Administration to protect, strengthen and expand the Housing Credit in tax reform, and urges the inclusion of the Tiberi-Neal provisions in the House’s forthcoming tax reform legislation. 

“The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit is a vital and effective tool to address the affordable housing crisis in America,” Representative Tiberi said in a statement. “Since 1987, Ohio has used the LIHTC Program to facilitate the development of over 100,000 affordable rental housing units. It is a great example of how the private sector can work with government to help families, individuals and seniors find a safe and decent place to live and call home. I look forward to working with Congressman Neal and the rest of the Ways and Means Committee as we reform our tax code to ensure that this incentive to provide affordable housing remains strong.”

“The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit is a powerful tool for leveraging private investment for affordable housing," said Representative Neal. "I’m pleased to once again be teaming with my colleague, Pat Tiberi, to further strengthen the Housing Credit program – and I call on my colleagues to support these commonsense reforms."

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Cantwell & Hatch Reintroduce Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act with Support of Over 2,000 Businesses and Organizations

Today Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 (S. 548), a comprehensive bill to expand and strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit).

In addition to Senators Cantwell and Hatch, there are eleven other original co-sponsors: Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), as well as Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Dean Heller (R-NV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Todd Young (R-IN), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Brian Schatz (D-HI). The legislation is very similar to the comprehensive version of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 3237), introduced by Senators Cantwell and Hatch in 2016, with minor modifications

More than 2,000 organizations from all fifty states signed on to an ACTION Campaign letter in strong support of this legislation.

The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act would increase Housing Credit authority by 50 percent, taking a meaningful step towards addressing our nation’s vast and growing affordable housing needs. “The affordable housing crisis is exploding all across the country. We are facing pressures from all sides: demand for rental housing has increased by 21 percent, but we are building units at the lowest rate since the 1970s,” Senator Cantwell said in a statement. “If we do not act to increase the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit – our best way to build new affordable homes – by 2025 over 15 million Americans could be spending half their income on rent. This is unacceptable.” Senator Cantwell also released a new report detailing the growing affordable housing crisis and the need to expand the Housing Credit. 

The Bipartisan Policy Center also recently reaffirmed its endorsement of a 50 percent expansion, calling the Housing Credit “the nation’s most successful rental production program, with a 30-year track record.”

The legislation would also strengthen the Housing Credit by providing states with additional flexibility, making the financing of affordable housing more predictable and streamlined, facilitating Housing Credit development in challenging markets like rural and Native American communities, increasing the Housing Credit’s ability to serve extremely low-income tenants, and supporting the preservation of existing affordable housing. The legislation also contains important provisions that would support development of rental homes using the Housing Credit coupled with multifamily Housing Bonds, which currently provide critical financing to roughly 40 percent of Housing Credit apartments.

For more information, see the:

 

Tax Incentives for Affordable Housing Included in Senate Democrats’ Infrastructure Proposal

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced yesterday that Senate Democrats will seek to advance a $1 trillion infrastructure package in 2017, which will include proposals to increase investments in affordable housing to create “places for people to live, work, and thrive.” Citing the 11.4 million households that pay more than half of their income monthly on rent and the $26 billion backlog for repairing our nation’s public housing, the proposal is clear that investing in housing is a critical component of rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure.

The “Blueprint to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure” proposes to spend $100 billion to “Revitalize America’s Main Streets,” which would create 1.3 million new jobs over ten years by investing in cities, towns, and rural communities. Possible solutions to address the nationwide affordable housing crisis include “expanding existing tax incentives and other affordable housing federal programs,” suggesting an opportunity to expand and strengthen the Housing Credit.

President Trump has identified infrastructure as a top priority for his Administration, though housing investments are not part of the Administration’s initial infrastructure priorities list.

The ACTION Campaign will continue to make the case that the expansion of the Housing Credit should be a critical component of any infrastructure spending package, considering the tangible and significant impacts that Housing Credit developments garner for residents, communities and local economies.

Housing Credit Receives Bipartisan Support as Congress Considers Cabinet Nominees

On January 12, Dr. Ben Carson appeared before the Senate Banking Committee for consideration to serve as HUD Secretary. Though the Housing Credit is not under HUD’s jurisdiction, it was raised numerous times in a positive light given its significant role and successful track record in providing affordable housing to our nation’s low-income families.

Dr. Carson expressed strong support for public-private partnerships, and specifically cited the Housing Credit as a successful example of the private sector’s role in affordable housing. “We’ve got a lot of very talented people in this country in the private sector… You know the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit is an excellent example – it’s overseen by the Senate Finance Committee – but that has allowed an enormous number of places to be renovated,” Dr. Carson said. “I want to study those programs that are working so we can multiply them across the country.”

He also elaborated that government must provide the motivation for the private sector to make such investments, saying, “they have to obviously be incentivized in order to do that – the big stumbling block is the initial capital in order to get it done,” and noted that the private sector must “realize a return on that capital investment.” Securing initial development capital and ensuring a return on investments, the two principles to which Dr. Carson refers, are foundations of the Housing Credit model and are important considerations as Congress considers tax reform legislation.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) indicated his strong support for the Housing Credit during the hearing as well. “While the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit is under the Finance Committee’s jurisdiction,” Chairman Crapo said in his opening statement, “it is very important to the U.S. housing market. It provides essential capital to underserved communities and provides key financing for small and rural affordable housing developments.”

On January 19 Steven Mnuchin appeared before the Senate Finance Committee for a hearing to consider his nomination to serve as Treasury Secretary. Comprehensive tax reform was raised by Mnuchin and members on both sides of the aisle as a top priority, and there was bipartisan interest in bringing American profits back to the U.S. from overseas and eliminating loopholes that allow American businesses to avoid U.S. tax laws. Though there was little discussion of specific tax reform proposals, several Republican members called for significant reductions in corporate tax rates and simplification of the tax code in order to make U.S. businesses more competitive, and numerous Democrats called for a commitment to preserve tax expenditures that benefit low- and moderate-income families and promote fairness through the tax code.

Though Neither the Housing Credit nor Housing Bonds were mentioned during the hearing, these topics were included in questions for the record submitted by several Finance Committee members. Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) asked for Mnuchin’s position on the Housing Credit specifically, and Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) asked what the Administration would do to encourage the development of affordable housing, but Mnuchin only committed to reviewing the Housing Credit and other affordable housing programs without expressing support for specific programs. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) asked about specifically about private activity bonds, to which Mnuchin responded, “private activity bonds are a valuable way to incentivize private investment in America’s infrastructure” and suggested that “there are areas where we can improve private activity bonds, including changing volume caps for certain types of projects.”

New Congress Begins Work on Tax Reform

Comprehensive tax reform is a top priority for the 115th Congress and incoming Administration.  The House has already begun its work to develop tax reform legislation based on the A Better Way tax blueprint that House leadership released last year, and may even release a draft in the coming weeks.  In order to reduce top corporate tax rates from 35 to 20 percent, as called for in the blueprint, the blueprint indicates that the majority of corporate tax expenditures would be eliminated, with only one - the research and development credit - expressly retained and several explicitly targeted for repeal. The draft was silent on the Housing Credit as well as on multifamily Housing Bonds, which account for more than 40 percent of Housing Credit production annually.

In December, Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee held a meeting to discuss specifics for translating the blueprint into legislation. During the meeting key Republicans on the committee voiced support for preserving the Housing Credit in tax reform. While this suggests that the Housing Credit remains in a strong position as the committee works to translate its tax reform proposal into legislation, it is important that ACTION remain vigilant in its advocacy efforts. Moreover, Housing Bonds and the 4 percent Housing Credit remain particularly vulnerable. The Ways and Means Committee is currently resolving outstanding issues related to tax reform through a working group process and is aiming to release a discussion draft in the coming weeks, followed by a period for public comment before holding a mark-up.

Prior to the December meeting, the ACTION Campaign sent a letter to Congress with 2,000 signatories urging the prioritization of the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds in tax reform. The ACTION Campaign also grew its campaign membership from 1,300 to roughly 1,800 organizations through this sign-on effort, demonstrating strong support for the Housing Credit as a result of robust mobilization efforts by ACTION members.

The Senate has not released any comprehensive tax reform proposals, but Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) were original co-sponsors of legislation to expand the Housing Credit in the 114th Congress, and have both expressed their continued support for the program.

We encourage all ACTION Campaign members to reach out to your members of Congress and encourage them to protect, strengthen and expand the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds as they consider tax reform legislation. Visit our advocacy toolkit for a new sample letter and talking points for the 115th Congress to help make your case.

Several new members have also joined the committees that oversee tax legislation. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), who signed onto both S. 2962 and S. 3237, has joined the Senate Finance Committee, along with Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

The House Ways and Means Committee welcomes six new members: Representatives Dave Schweikert (R-AZ-5), Jackie Walorski (R-IN-2) and Carlos Curbelos (R-FL-26) in the Majority, and Brian Higgins (D-NY-26), Terri Sewell (D-AL-7) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA-1) in the Minority.

We urge ACTION members represented by any of these new committee members to reach out to your Senator or Representative and emphasize the importance of protecting, expanding and strengthening the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds in the 115th Congress.

2,000 Organizations and Businesses from Across the Nation Urge Support for Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

2,000 organizations and businesses are calling on the incoming Congress and Administration to prioritize the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) as they consider reforms to the nation’s tax code and investments in the nation’s infrastructure. The letter submitted on behalf of the ACTION Campaign urges policymakers to: 1) ensure that the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds are held up as positive examples of the power of the tax code to improve communities by maintaining their viability under tax reform; and 2) expand and strengthen the Housing Credit to increase the availability of safe and affordable housing and revitalize local economies. 

The House is currently working to draft comprehensive tax reform legislation based on the principles outlined in Speaker Paul Ryan’s A Better Way tax reform blueprint, released this summer. The blueprint indicates that it would "generally eliminate special-interest deductions and credits in favor of providing lower tax rates for all businesses and eliminating taxes on business investment," and does not specify how it would treat the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds. Since the release of the blueprint, the Ways and Means Committee has been collecting feedback. It could release legislation as soon as late January.

The Senate is expected to introduce its own version of comprehensive tax reform in 2017 , though it is not as far along in the process as the House.

The ACTION Campaign’s letter sends a powerful message to Congress and the next Administration demonstrating the broad support at the national, state and local level for protecting and strengthening the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds.

The letter also urges the enactment of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, which was introduced by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) this summer and has strong and growing bipartisan support. Sixteen Senators have now signed onto support at least one of the two versions of the legislation – S. 2962 and S. 3237 – with Senators Dean Heller (R-NV), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) joining this week.

Deadline Extended: Sign On and Share to Support the Housing Credit

Thank you to the many ACTION Campaign members who have activated your networks to sign onto our letter urging the Trump Administration and Congress to prioritize the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds as they consider reforms to the nation’s tax code and investments in the nation’s infrastructure. As a result of these efforts, more than 300 organizations and businesses have joined the ACTION in the past four days, and we have grown the campaign to over 1,600 members.

To continue this momentum, we have extended the deadline for this sign-on letter until Wednesday, December 7.

If you haven’t already, we encourage you to read the letter, sign on and share the letter with your networks.

All existing ACTION Campaign members will be included in the letter, so if you are already an ACTION Campaign member you do NOT need to sign on. Click here for the latest list of ACTION Campaign members and signatories.

If you have any questions or want to remove your organization or business from the letter, contact Emily Cadik at ecadik@enterprisecommunity.org before the December 7 deadline.

Sign On to Urge the New Congress and Administration to Support the Housing Credit

With undivided Republican control in Washington, the likelihood of the next Administration and Congress advancing legislation that could impact the Housing Credit has increased substantially.  Specifically, Congressional Leaders and President-elect Trump have all said that tax reform will be a priority for them in 2017.  Many members of Congress and the President-elect have also stated support for infrastructure legislation, which may move on its own or as part of tax reform.  These present the potential for threats to the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds as well as the chance to advance ACTION’s Housing Credit priorities.  Read more about the legislative landscape for the Housing Credit in 2017.

The ACTION Campaign is calling on the Trump Administration and Congress to prioritize the Housing Credit as they consider reforms to the nation’s tax code and investments in the nation’s infrastructure. Specifically, we are calling on the Administration and Congress to:

  1. Ensure that the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds are held up as positive examples of the power of the tax code to improve communities by maintaining their viability under tax reform, and
  2. Expand and strengthen the Housing Credit to increase the availability of safe and affordable housing and revitalize local economies.

Read the letter and sign on. The deadline for signing on to the letter is Friday, December 2. 

All existing ACTION Campaign members will be included in the letter, so if you are already an ACTION Campaign member you do NOT need to sign on. However, we encourage you to share the letter with your networks to help us show broad support for the Housing Credit. 

If you have any questions or want to remove your organization from the letter, contact Emily Cadik at ecadik@enterprisecommunity.org before the December 2 deadline.    

The Legislative Landscape for the Housing Credit in 2017

The outcomes of the November elections have increased the likelihood of legislation that could have a major impact on the Housing Credit in 2017. With Republican control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, there will be fewer obstacles to enacting major legislation than under the divided government of the past six years. In this environment, there will be both opportunities for and threats to the Housing Credit.

In his acceptance speech, President-Elect Donald Trump said that investing in America’s infrastructure will be a top priority for his administration. Any infrastructure legislation will likely include tax provisions to repatriate foreign earnings, which would help offset the costs of domestic spending to promote growth and renewal. The ACTION Campaign will make the case that the Housing Credit should be expanded and strengthened in any infrastructure legislation, given the tangible and significant impacts of Housing Credit development for residents, communities and local economies.

Infrastructure legislation could move on its own or as part of a larger tax reform agenda, which could pose threats to both the Housing Credit and tax-exempt multifamily Housing Bonds.  With Republicans in control of Congress and the Presidency, tax reform stands a better chance of enactment than it has in decades. 

In June 2016, the House Tax Reform Task Force released a tax reform blueprint, “A Pro-Growth Tax Code for All Americans,” as part of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI-1) “A Better Way” agenda. The blueprint did not lay out a detailed legislative framework, but rather the guiding principles that the House will consider as it develops tax reform legislation. In order to reduce top corporate tax rates from 35 to 20 percent, the blueprint indicates that the majority of corporate tax expenditures would be eliminated, with only one expressly retained and several explicitly targeted for repeal. The draft was silent on the Housing Credit as well as on multifamily Housing Bonds, which are responsible for financing more than 40 percent of Housing Credit production annually. Since its release, the House Ways and Means Committee has been collecting feedback and working to translate the blueprint into legislative text, which will be introduced as soon as January 2017 and will serve as a starting point for tax reform negotiations with the Senate and the White House.

President-Elect Donald Trump’s tax plan would go farther than the House blueprint in lowering the top corporate tax rate from 35 to 15 percent. Like the House blueprint, it would eliminate nearly all tax expenditures in order to achieve this rate reduction, and is silent on the issues of the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds.

In the Senate, no comprehensive tax reform proposals have emerged, but the Housing Credit is in a strong position in the Senate Finance Committee. Both Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), who will be very influential in shaping tax reform, are original co-sponsors of legislation to expand the Housing Credit.

The ACTION Campaign will continue to make the case that the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds are indispensable parts of our nation’s tax code and should be retained, expanded and strengthened in tax reform. Our work to educate members of Congress and their staff about the impact of the Housing Credit locally and the affordable housing needs that still remain has never been more critical.

We will soon be circulating a sign-on letter to express this position to the incoming Congress and Administration, and ask that all ACTION members share this letter with your networks. In the meantime, we encourage you to reach out to your partners and ask that they join the ACTION Campaign.