The AHDC represents a first of its kind opportunity to create a national coalition that will represent the affordable housing developer industry on a defined set of public policy priorities set by the Founders Council of the AHDC. At this time those include, but are not limited to:
National Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2015(HR 3110/S 1795)
One of AHDC’s main initiatives has been lobbying and creating for the passage of the National Disaster Tax Relief Act. Sponsored by Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and David Vitter (R-LA) in the Senate and Representative Tom Reed (R-NY) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) in the House, the bill provides individual, small business, and housing tax relief for victims of Presidentially declared FEMA Natural Disasters. The housing section of the bill allows for a special formula increase of $8 per capita based on the population of the declared area. The result is hundreds of millions of dollars in additional LIHTC per qualified state. This is on top of that states annual allocation. Below is a summary of amounts – but please note this is only through 2014 – the calculations must be updated for FY 2015 and current through 2016. At present the bill has 42 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and 12 cosponsors in the Senate.
The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 2962 and S.3237)
Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced (S.2962), The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, and its companion S. 3237 just before the August recess this year. S. 2962 would:
- Expand the annual Housing Credit allocation by 50 percent. This would make a meaningful step towards addressing our nation’s vast and growing affordable housing needs by enabling the creation or preservation of up to 400,000 new affordable homes over the next decade.
- Make affordable housing financing more predictable and feasible by creating a permanent minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate for acquisition and for Housing Bond-financed properties.
- Permit income averaging within Housing Credit properties in order to preserve rigorous targeting while providing more flexibility and responsiveness to local needs.
S. 3237 adds numerous programmatic modifications that will further strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit by:
- Making Housing Credit administration more predictable and streamlined,
- Supporting the preservation of existing affordable housing,
- Facilitating Housing Credit development in challenging markets like rural and Native American communities, and
- Increasing the Housing Credit’s ability to serve extremely low-income tenants.
Bond Conversion Legislation
The current Administration has included this idea in its budget for the past several years. The proposal would permit states, at their discretion, to convert some of their private activity bond (PAB) volume cap into additional 9% LIHTCs. These credits would be in addition to each state’s per capita allocation. Nationally, there is a significant amount of PABs returned unused to the Treasury each year. For most states, they would be able to convert PABs that would otherwise go unused. A few states like New York and Massachusetts generally use their entire volume cap. In their cases, the state could still take advantage of the bond conversion, if they wanted, but the state would have to sacrifice bond authority it would have otherwise issued.
This legislation is currently being considered for introduction by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH and Ranking Member Senate Banking Committee) and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Congressman Tieberi (R-OH) and an a yet-to-be-determined Democrat in the House.
Macro Tax Reform
January 2017 will see a new Presidential Administration and the start of the 115th new Congress. Macro tax reform will loom large once again, as Congress grapples with the looming budget deficit and economic growth and recovery. “As the saying goes, if you aren’t at the table you are on the menu. “ The AHDC has been working hard all year, meeting with Members and staffs of the relevant tax writing committees, educating members and making the case for preservation of the LIHTC and other important programs. While we must wait to see the outcome of the election to finalize any strategy for 2017, we have throughout 2016 “been at the table” and setting a strong foundation for the lobbying and advocacy work ahead to continue to defend and preserve the housing credit.
Housing Finance Reform, GSE’s & Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Congress failed to act on GSE’s reform in 2016, but Members expect this issue to be back front and center in a new Congress. There are many issues of importance to the affordable housing community in GSE reform, including preservation of the Multi-Family Housing Tax Credit and funding of the Housing Trust Fund.
Transportation, Housing & Urban Development Appropriations
Each year Congress seeks to pass the 12 appropriations bills that fund our government, including the appropriations for the Department of Housing & Urban Development, which along with the Department of Transportation is referred to as T-HUD. There are numerous funding programs within that Appropriations stream that our industry relies upon, including CDBG and HOME. The AHDC works closely with the Appropriators to ensure adequate funding for HUD and the important programs within it.
Existing and new Member engagement and education
A large part of our advocacy work is in continually educating existing members, and reaching out and building relationships and educating new members on the need for affordable housing in the United States, understanding how that housing is financed and constructed, and understanding the economic multiplier effect that this building further brings to communities where construction is taking place. The AHDC is on the Hill constantly engaging and educating existing members and working closely with new member offices. This includes inviting members to visit their state and district new developments.