Housing advocacy groups take aim at congressional tax plan
It ‘would end any progress on affordable housing’
Housing Action NH has joined with other New England housing advocacy organizations, in speaking out about provisions in U.S. House Republicans’ “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” which in the words of Housing Action’s director, “would end any progress on any progress on affordable housing.”
Elissa Margolin She and other housing advocates said that the proposal would eliminate tax credits that have helped create hundreds of thousands of affordable homes for people with low and moderate incomes, at a time when there’s already a regional shortage of affordable rental homes.
The tax cut proposal was also criticized by
Robert Tourigny of Neighborworks Southern New Hampshire. He said the state “has made some incremental progress in affordable housing, and many of our communities are making progress in decreasing housing instability. But we cannot do this on our own. We need Congress to allow businesses to continue to invest in the resources that help people access homes they can afford.”
According to the organizations, the House tax proposal:
• Significantly weakens the Low Income Housing Tax Credit they say has become the foundation for affordable housing development across New England and the nation. They say They also said that, while the credit itself is retained, it would be significantly weakened due to the lowering of the corporate tax rate.
• Eliminates the tax exemption on Private Activity Bonds, including multifamily housing bonds, which allow bond-financed multifamily projects to access “4% Housing Credits,” which have helped produce or preserve affordable homes in New England. Tax-exempt bonds are also used for reduced interest mortgages for first-time homebuyers.
• Eliminates the New Markets Tax Credit, which is used for community revitalization projects in distressed areas.
• Reforms the mortgage interest deduction, which has been a long-standing effort of housing advocates and would ordinarily be a major step in the right direction. Unfortunately, the tax proposal does not reinvest the resulting savings into new investments in affordable housing, they say.