Advocacy Needed to Expand and Strengthen Housing Credit in Likely Tax Component of Omnibus Spending Package
House and Senate leaders from both parties are currently trying to negotiate a budget agreement setting new top line discretionary spending limits, thus allowing appropriators to work on an omnibus spending bill. The omnibus spending is likely to be paired with other legislative priorities, including a tax package. ACTION is working with our lead sponsors to make the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, including the 50 percent cap increase in the Cantwell-Hatch version of the legislation, part of the tax package that would move with the omnibus spending bill. We need ACTION grassroots advocates to make the case to members of Congress and to leadership for its inclusion in the tax package of the omnibus bill. This is all likely to happen fast, as the current continuing resolution (CR) funding the federal government runs out on January 19, so Congress must either finish the omnibus spending bill by then or pass what would be a fourth 2018 CR.
All ACTION members should reach out to co-sponsors of H.R. 1661 and co-sponsors of S. 548 urging them to convey their support for affordable housing to House and Senate leadership by asking that they include the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act in any omnibus and tax package.
We encourage you to use the following talking points:
- The affordable housing community applauds Congress for retaining the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) and tax-exempt multifamily Housing Bonds in tax reform. Together, these two programs finance virtually all affordable housing built and preserved in the United States.
- However, our work is not done. There is a growing need for affordable housing that vastly exceeds the supply we are able to produce with limited resources currently available to us. There are currently more than 11 million households who pay more than half of their income on rent, and this number is expected to increase unless we act now. (See our state fact sheets for data on the affordable housing shortage in each state.)
- For this reason, more than 2,000 businesses and organizations are calling on Congress to expand and strengthen the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds through the bipartisan and broadly-supported Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661 and S. 548).
- This legislation includes common-sense reforms to make the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds more streamlined and flexible. The Senate version of the legislation also includes a 50 percent increase in Housing Credit resources, which we are calling on both the House and Senate to adopt. This increase in resources would finance approximately 400,000 more affordable homes over the next decade than would otherwise be possible.
- We appreciate your support of affordable housing and ask that you encourage leadership to include the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act in any omnibus and tax package.
See our Advocacy Toolkit for more resources on the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act.
Housing Credit Champions Readying to Leave Congress
Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH), longtime Republican champion of the Housing Credit program in the House, is stepping down from Congress next week in order to become the president of the Ohio Business Roundtable. ACTION has been working with Tiberi’s office to identify a successor who will pick up the charge of advancing the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, H.R. 1661, which Tiberi sponsored.
Housing Credit Republican Senate champion, Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), also announced his intent to retire from Congress at the end of his term next year. We will work to add the enactment of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act to Senator Hatch's legacy.
ICYMI: Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Retains Critical Housing Programs
Last month, the President signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law. The final version of the bill:
- Retains the Housing Credit, with no modifications. Changes to the Housing Credit included in the Senate-passed version of the bill that would have changed the Housing Credit’s general public use requirement and basis boost rules were removed from the final bill.
- Retains private activity bonds (PABs), including multifamily Housing Bonds, which provide critical financing to more than half of all Housing Credit developments and trigger the “4 percent” Housing Credit. The bill made no modifications to PABs that would have undercut Housing Bonds, such as modifications to PAB carryforward rules.
- Lowers the top corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent, effective January 1, 2018, which we expect to reduce Housing Credit pricing.
- Creates a base erosion and anti-abuse tax (BEAT), which would make Housing Credit investment less attractive to certain investors with foreign operations. However, the final bill attempts to mitigate the impact of the BEAT on Housing Credit investment by exempting 80 percent of the value of the Housing Credit from the BEAT. ACTION is working to analyze the extent to which the BEAT will still impact Housing Credit investors.