The proposed elimination of the tax exemption for private activity bonds (PABs) in the House tax reform bill, along with elimination of the Historic Tax Credit and the New Markets Tax Credit, will be devastating to the production and preservation of affordable housing (see CLPHA Report 11/13/17). Housing bonds are responsible for approximately half of Low Income Housing Tax Credit (housing credit) production annually. Together, the housing credit and housing bonds finance approximately 50,000 affordable housing units each year.
While Congress is home for recess, it is critical that Members hear from you about the impacts PAB elimination will have on affordable housing.
We urge you to reach out to your Congressional representatives with the following messages:
- Preserve the tax exemption of Private Activity Bonds to support the production and preservation of affordable housing
- Make changes to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to strengthen the program and offset the impact of a lower corporate rate on the value of the tax credit by including S. 548, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, in the tax reform bill
- Maintain the Historic Tax Credit and the New Markets Tax Credit
CLPHA and stakeholders such as the ACTION Campaign (CLPHA sits on the Steering Committee) have continued to educate and press Congress to preserve these important housing production instruments. CLPHA has sent letters to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, the respective tax-writing committees in Congress, whose chairmen and ranking members will probably serve as floor managers for their respective bills and conference committee leaders for any eventual, final legislation.
Additionally, we encourage you to engage with your local media and news outlets to spread the message that the tax reform bill negatively impacts affordable housing. The Seattle Times recently published an op-ed from CLPHA Board Members Stephen Norman (King County Housing Authority) and Andrew Lofton (Seattle Housing Authority) about the elimination of private activity bonds. You can read the full op-ed here.
On January 17, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs once again met in Executive Session to vote on the nominations of Robert Hunter Kurtz to be HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing (PIH); and Brian Montgomery, to be HUD Assistant Secretary for Housing – Federal Housing Commissioner. The nominations were resubmitted to the Senate by the Trump White House after failing to receive a floor vote for confirmation before the end of the first session of the 115th Congress in December and failing to be carried over into the current second session.
The nominations were approved by voice vote and reported favorably to the full Senate. However, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is recorded as voting no on both nominations, and Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) are recorded as voting no on the Montgomery nomination.
Since a “hold” was placed on the Kurtz nomination during the first session—preventing the nomination to be brought up for a floor vote by an unnamed senator for an undisclosed reason—it is highly probable another hold may be once again placed on the Kurtz nomination. CLPHA and other stakeholders have asked Senate leadership to move the Kurtz nomination to a floor vote for confirmation as quickly as possible.
On January 17, the U.S. House of Representatives, after suspending the rules and bringing the bill to the floor the previous day, passed H.R. 4258, the Family Self-Sufficiency Act, by an overwhelming vote of 412 to 5.
The bipartisan H.R. 4258 was introduced on November 6, 2017 by Chairman Sean Duffy (R-WI) and Ranking Member Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) of the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee of the Financial Services Committee, following subcommittee hearings on the Family Self Sufficiency Program (FSS) of September 27, 2017 (see CLPHA Report 10/5/17).
The bill would combine the two separate FSS programs administered by HUD into one program; would broaden the supportive services that FSS can provide to a participant; and would allow tenants who currently reside in privately-owned properties with HUD project-based assistance to participate in the FSS program. According to the committee, the FSS program “helps families in public housing and the voucher program make progress toward economic self-sufficiency by combining stable affordable housing with work-promoting service coordination and a rent incentive in the form of an escrow account that grows as the families’ earnings increase.”
Similar legislation, S. 1344, the Family Self Sufficiency Act, was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) during the first session of the 115th Congress.