Housing advocates have stepped up and called their senators in droves, but the tax bill that recently passed the Senate is still terrible for affordable housing in several ways.
I wanted to pass on more information about the situation and what you can tell your Congressional representatives. The first is an excerpt of a more detailed overview from Diane Yentel, of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, which is keeping a close eye on developments in Congress. The second is a message from Hal Keller, of Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, who provides information on protecting specific changes in the Senate version that mitigate the negative impact the tax bill could have on affordable housing. And here’s a link to Ohio’s Congressional contact list.
The process isn’t over yet – we can still have an impact. So keep the calls coming!
Diane Yentel: The Senate just rushed to passage an unconscionable, unjust, and grossly irresponsible tax bill. With this vote, Republicans in Congress are one step closer to providing massive, unpaid-for tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy and draining resources needed for other critical investments, including affordable housing.
The bill significantly lowers the corporate tax rate, and in doing so, it lowers the value of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) and the equity available from it. This is one of several ways that the Senate bill will lessen the value of the Housing Credit.
The increased federal deficits created by the Republican tax bill will lead to further cuts to federal investments down the line. Republican leaders have been transparent about their intent: next on the agenda is welfare reform, cuts to entitlement programs, and decreased federal spending. You can be sure that they will use the deficits created by this tax bill as a reason for demanding spending cuts.
It’s not over yet – this misguided bill does not have to be turned into law. Over the next week, Senate and House appointed conferees will iron out differences between the two bills, and both the House and the Senate will then need to pass a final bill. Over the next several days, it is essential that you continue calling your members of Congress urging them to defeat the Republican tax plan and start work on a bipartisan bill.
Hal Keller: As you know, with the passage of the Senate tax reform bill, the next step is for Senate and House Republicans to reconcile differences between their bills. As the Senate and House convene the conference committee to craft a single tax reform bill, it is important that our industry weigh in on these issues. The future of affordable housing and community economic development is at serious risk of devastating cutbacks. Given there might very well be a need to find revenue to pay for measures that will lead to an agreement, we cannot assume the Senate provisions related to private activity bonds and other credits will automatically be retained.
Please let me know if you have any questions and thank you. Time is of the essence.