Rallying Cry: The industry ramps up efforts to advocate for the low-income housing tax credit under tax reform threat

Mercy Housing California President Doug Shoemaker (left), Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi, and San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee at the St. Anthony’s groundbreaking in the Tenderloin district at the end of January. “Developers should have a goal of having every senator and member of Congress visit their properties from their districts and states,” says Mercy’s Julie Gould.

Source: Affordable Housing Finance

As Congress pursues tax reform and deficit reduction, the most successful federal program for the production and preservation of affordable housing is in the crosshairs.

While the affordable housing industry has lobbied for the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) for years, industry stakeholders are redoubling their efforts to educate members of Congress on behalf of the program.

What’s at stake

Industry insiders say that Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, is committed to moving forward with comprehensive tax reform.

Over the past two years, Ways and Means has conducted 20 separate hearings on comprehensive tax reform and has released a draft proposal for moving from a worldwide system of taxation to a territorial system of taxation.

Toward the end of January, Camp released a financial products discussion draft on the tax treatment of financial products and derivatives. He also announced that the committee would be holding a hearing to examine the itemized deduction for charitable contributions as part of its work on tax reform in mid-February.

The Republicans also have said they want to have the corporate tax rate at 25 percent. That would mean reviewing, cutting back, and eliminating many tax expenditures, which will put pressure on the LIHTC program, says James Miller, president of Tax Legislative Solutions, LLC, and legislative counsel for the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition (AHTCC).

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