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NALHFA Legislative Victory: Affordable Housing Tools Preserved in the Final Version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Posted By Administration, Monday, December 18, 2017

Late last week, the House and Senate conference committee revealed their conference report on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The conference committee was charged with reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation. The legislation will come to a vote in both chambers early this week. Private Activity Bonds, the Housing Credit and other affordable housing tools were preserved in the legislation, providing a huge win for local housing finance agencies. The full text of the conference report can be viewed here.

There are several provisions of the legislation that will have an impact on the affordable housing industry. Below is a breakdown of the final provisions.

  • Retention of private activity bonds (PABs), including multifamily Housing Bonds, which trigger the “4 percent” Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit). No changes were made to PABs despite rumors that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Kevin Brady (R-TX) wanted to limit the use of this important tool.
  • The top corporate tax rate is lowered from 35 percent to 21 percent, effective January 1, 2018. This will have a considerable impact on the value of the Housing Credit as investors will not be willing to pay as much for the credits if their tax liability is lowered.
  • The Housing Credit is retained with no modifications . Previously, an amendment offered by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) would have replaced the existing Housing Credit exception for the general public use requirement for artist housing with one for veterans. Additionally, the amendment would have given rural areas a basis boost and reduced the maximum basis boost for all types of boost-eligible developments from 130 to 125 percent. This amendment was included in the final Senate version of the legislation, but was removed in the final bill.
  • Retention of the Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC). The House-passed legislation repealed MCCs which would have been detrimental to families trying to afford a home. Housing Finance Agencies have helped hundreds of thousands of homebuyers by converting some of their bond authority to MCCs which provide the homebuyer with a federal tax credit for interest paid on their mortgage. The final version of the legislation retains this essential affordable housing tool.
  • Preservation of the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC), which is currently authorized through 2019.
  • Preservation of the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (HTC), and extends the credit period from one to five years.
  • Creation of a base erosion and anti-abuse tax (BEAT). This would affect banks’ ability to use the Housing Credit and other credits to offset some taxes related to foreign earnings and earning going to foreign parent companies. The Senate-passed version of the legislation would have only allowed the Research and Development Credit to be taken against the BEAT. The final version of the bill, however, also exempts the Housing Credit at 80 percent of the value of the credits. The NMTC and HTC are not allowable credits to be taken against the BEAT.
Republican leadership estimates that they have the required votes to pass the final legislation in both the House and the Senate. Thank you to all the NALHFA members who fought to preserve these important tools. While there are still provisions of the legislation, like the lowered corporate tax rate, that will have a negative effect on affordable housing efforts, the preservation of PABs, the Housing Credit, NMTC, and HTC will allow local governments to continue strengthening and revitalizing communities across the country.

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NALHFA Mourns the Loss of Affordable Housing Advocate, San Francisco Mayor Lee

Posted By Administration, Thursday, December 14, 2017

[Washington, DC - 12/13/2017] -The National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA) mourns the loss of San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee, an affordable housing advocate and Mayor of San Francisco. Lee died yesterday morning at the age of 65. The City of San Francisco said in a statement, "It is with profound sadness and terrible grief that we confirm that Mayor Edwin M. Lee passed away on Tuesday, December 12 at 1:11 a.m. at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Family, friends and colleagues were at his side."

 

Lee started his career fighting for affordable housing in the Bay Area, working with immigrant communities as part of the San Francisco Asian Law Caucus. Over the years, Lee worked in five different city departments and served as the city's human rights commissioner and city administrator. He was sworn-in as mayor in 2011 and continued this work, fighting for housing affordability in a city managing the explosive growth of the tech industry.

 

The San Francisco Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) has been a long-time member of NALHFA, most recently hosting the 2017 NALHFA Annual Conference. Conference attendees had the opportunity to hear Mayor Lee speak about the importance of investing in affordable housing. Lee and his team at MOHCD have been working hard to decrease obstacles to the creation of new homes and to increase housing production by 160 percent. In 2014, the city set the ambitious goal of building 30,000 new or rehabilitated homes by 2020. They have already produced more than 17,000 homes in just three years, 35 percent of which are permanently affordable to low- and moderate-income residents.

 

NALHFA Board Member, Adam Cray of the MOHCD said of Mayor Lee's passing, "My colleagues and I are shocked and heartbroken by the sudden loss of Mayor Edwin Lee. Throughout his long career in public service, Mayor Lee was a tireless advocate for the development and preservation of affordable housing and for the rights of its residents. During this time of sorrow, we take solace in the profound legacy Mayor Lee leaves behind and find strength in our shared commitment to this important work."

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NALHFA Comes Out Against Several Provisions of the Proposed Tax Reform Legislation

Posted By Administration, Friday, November 3, 2017
[Washington, DC - 11/03/2017] -The National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA) came out today in strong opposition to the House Ways and Means Committee tax reform legislation, the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" that was released yesterday. The proposed legislation would devastate the production of housing during a time when the country faces an affordable housing crisis.
 
The most devastating blow dealt in the bill was the termination of the tax exemption on private activity bonds (PABs). This includes multifamily Housing Bonds which are critical to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) program. Nearly fifty percent of all Housing Credit developments nationwide use private activity tax-exempt bond financing and the 4 percent credits they generate. The loss of PABs would decimate the production of affordable housing across the country.
 
"Private Activity Tax Exempt Bonds are an indispensable affordable housing resource for local HFAs," said NALHFA President Ron Williams. "Close to half of all Housing Credit developments utilize this financing source, and its elimination would cripple the affordable housing industry. At a time when our country is facing an affordable housing crisis, NALHFA urges Congress to preserve Private Activity Tax Exempt Bonds."
 
In addition, the corporate tax rate drop from 35 percent to 20 percent effective January 1, 2018 would have a significant negative impact on the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. This dramatic decrease would likely make investment in Housing Credits less appealing to developers and investors. When an investor purchases tax credits from a developer under the Housing Credit program, the investor can use those credits to lower their annual federal tax bill. If an investor has a lower tax bill, they will not be willing to pay as much for these tax credits. While the Housing Credit is preserved under this legislation, the lowered corporate tax rate would be devastating to the program. This is a time when we need to strengthen the housing credit, not hinder it.
 
Lastly, under the proposal the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation authority would be eliminated after 2017. The NMTC has been authorized through 2019, so this legislation would claw back two years of allocation that has already been authorized. The historic rehabilitation credit would be repealed beginning in 2018, and energy credits would be phased out. These additional losses would take away much needed resources to the affordable housing industry at a time when the industry needs them most.
 
"The housing industry is the foundation of our economy and this tax reform proposal would be detrimental to the affordable housing community," said Jonathan Paine, NALHFA Executive Director. "We urge policymakers to think twice before voting on the tax reform proposal and commit to protecting these invaluable programs that are so critical to providing affordable housing to so many that desperately need it."
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About NALHFA: The National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA), founded in 1982, is the national association of professionals working to finance affordable housing in the broader community development context at the local level. As a non-profit association, NALHFA is an advocate before Congress and federal agencies on legislative and regulatory issues affecting affordable housing and provides technical assistance and educational opportunities to its members and the public. Members are city and county agencies, non-profits, and private firms, such as underwriters, consultants, financial advisers, bond counsel, and rating agencies, which help in producing housing from concept to completion.

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Republican Leadership Releases Tax Reform Framework: How Does It Affect Affordable Housing?

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 28, 2017
Yesterday, the Trump Administration, in conjunction with Republican leadership, released the " Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code", a plan seeking lower tax rates, a simplified tax code, and economic growth. The framework was drafted by a group known as the "Big 6", consisting of House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House National Economic Council (NEC) Director Gary Cohn.
 
Below is a breakdown of the plans for important affordable housing and community development tools in the Big 6 tax framework: Click here for full story.

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Last Chance to Register for the Fall Finance Conference

Posted By Administration, Friday, September 15, 2017

The Fall Finance Conference is fast approaching! There is still time to register and make your hotel reservations. This event will be hosted by Chapman & Cutler at their office in downtown Chicago on Friday, September 22 from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm

 

Chapman & Cutler has reserved a block of hotel rooms at the Hyatt Centric The Loop: Chicago Loop Hotel for the night of September 21. The discounted room rate s $229 per night.

 

The Fall Finance Conference will feature prominent keynote speakers that will discuss a variety of subjects relevant to the Local Housing Finance Industry. Click here to register and to view our featured keynote speakers.

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NALHFA Holds Housing Policy Working Group with Administration, HUD Officials

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 7, 2017

Last Thursday, NALHFA members met with White House staff in a first of its kind housing policy working group. The purpose of the meeting was to allow NALHFA members the opportunity to communicate directly with decision makers at the federal level about current challenges in housing policy, as well as solutions, in a member-driven conversation. 

Representing NALHFA was Rich Froehlich, Elizabeth Strojan, and Eric Enderlin from the NYC Housing Development Corporation and Patricia Ward from the Tarrant County Community Development and Ho

using Division. NALHFA was joined by several National Association for County Community and Economic Development (NACCED) members who together developed the agenda for the meeting.

Ja'Ron Smith, Director of Urban Affairs and Revitalization for the White House, kicked off the meeting by sharing where the Administration was on a number of housing related issues. He said they are still working on a tax reform policy and getting into the weeds on the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. He acknowledged that Congress is in a good spot with LIHTC, but they are still crafting their position on the program and how it relates to tax reform. The Administration is also very focused on what housing looks like in rural communities and finding housing solutions that address issues in a holistic way while at the same time empowering people. They are also looking at economic development programs and trying to create connectivity and coordination with housing programs. 

Ralph Gaines, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development (CPD) at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also provided a brief overview of CPD's strategy on housing to the group. He said CPD is taking a step back and trying to be innovative within their current structure. They are working on interconnecting programs, getting private participation in HUD projects, building opportunities, and developing public interest in their activities. Overall, they are working to enhance the things that are working, address the things that are not working, and identify opportunities for growth within the Department. Johnson Joy, HUD's Chief Information Officer was also present in the meeting and he gave a brief overview of his work to identify these areas within HUD's information systems. 


Next, Chuck Robbins, President of NACCED, gave an introduction for NACCED and NALHFA, talking about successful areas in affordable housing, and areas that need improvement. He identified LIHTC as the number one tool for developing and preserving affordable housing, but pointed out with the current affordable housing crisis, more needs to be done to grow and enhance the program. The credits are not worth as much as they were 2 years ago, especially with the looming threat of a lowered corporate tax rate. Furthermore, programs like HOME have had funding steadily decrease over the last 10 years, making it harder and harder to find projects that can be funded by the program. He also outlined the rising costs of housing, including increased labor and material costs and a lack of contractors, subcontractors, and skilled laborers.

Eric Enderlin, NALHFA member and President of the New York City Housing Development Corporation (NYCHDC), said the best way to enhance and increase LIHTC resources is to pass the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548) as it increases the housing credits by 50% and provides much needed stability to the program. Rich Froehlich, NALHFA Board Member and Chief Operating Officer, Executive Vice President & General Council for NYCHDC, pointed out that the legislation also provides much needed support for the development of affordable housing in rural areas. Additionally, the income averaging provision of the legislation will help all jurisdictions by giving the program greater flexibility and allowing communities to serve a broader set of incomes, improving economic feasibility. Froehlich went on to point out that these outcomes all serve much of what the Administration has set as its goals for affordable housing: increased flexibility, greater program efficiency, improved access in under-served areas, and enhanced public-private partnerships. 

The meeting took a turn to infrastructure and economic development when Smith told the group the Administration is still very committed to pushing an improved infrastructure policy focused on economic development and local control. Froehlich asked if housing would be part of the infrastructure plan, and Smith indicated that the door is not closed on housing being considered in infrastructure reform, but the President’s plan is focused on big ticket items like bridges, broadband, transportation, and roads. Patricia Ward noted that quality housing is a huge part of infrastructure development and it is an economic development tool that allows renters to have buying power they otherwise would not have. Robbins also pointed out that the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is largely used for infrastructure development at the local level. He went on to describe the importance of local infrastructure development such as safe drinking water infrastructure, wastewater facilities, ADA accessible sidewalks, and community roads. These projects rely on federal investment, and if the CDBG program continues to lose funds, it will have a detrimental effect on communities across the country. 

 

A theme that continued to reverberate throughout the conversation, especially by Richard Youngblood, Special Assistant for HUD's Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, is the need for more public-private partnerships in affordable housing programs. Youngblood described the conversations he has had with business owners across the country and how there is increased interest in these types of relationships due to the President's emphasis on economic growth. Previously, he said many business owners were intimidated by getting involved with the federal government because there are so many regulations and laws to comply with. They see these barriers as potential liabilities for their bottom line. Youngblood encouraged the group to outline the reasons why local businesses and nonprofits stay away from public-private partnerships as this will help HUD and the Administration craft policy that will be more encouraging of these partnerships. 


The White House and HUD staff echoed the need for NALHFA and NACCED members to outline what is working and what is not working for affordable housing programs. Specifically, they would like to know of regulations and other barriers that make it more difficult to efficiently and effectively utilize these programs. Furthermore, they want to keep the dialogue open between NALHFA and NACCED and continue this conversation through future policy working group meetings. Finally, they would like to hear your success stories, especially programs where you have utilized public-private partnerships or have developed other unique relationships that have enhanced these programs. This is an exclusive opportunity for NALHFA members to have direct contact with federal decision makers as they develop the policies that will affect future affordable housing programs. If you have comments or stories you would like to share, please contact NALHFA Policy Director, Heather Voorman, at hvoorman@nalhfa.org.   

 

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NALHFA Appoints Jonathan M. Paine Executive Director

Posted By Administration, Thursday, July 13, 2017
[Washington, DC] The Board of Directors of the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA) has announced the appointment of Jonathan M. Paine, CAE, as its executive director effective June 30, 2017. Paine has been serving as the Interim Executive Director since February 6 replacing Marc Selvitelli, who left the association to pursue another career opportunity. Read more.

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How Can Issuers of Municipal Bonds Use EMMA?

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Electronic Municipal Market Access, or EMMA, is the official repository for information on virtually all municipal bonds, providing free access to official disclosures, trade data and other information about the municipal securities market. The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) has two videos available to inform issuers about how to use EMMA. Click below to access these helpful videos featuring NALHFA Board of Directors member Richard Froehlich, who also serves on the MSRB Board. 

 

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NALHFA Plans for Housing Day of Action on July 29

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 12, 2017

 

Call for Greater Federal Investments in Affordable Housing

 

[Washington, DC - 6/12/2017] - The Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) and the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies, along with other state, local, and national leaders call on advocates, elected officials, and concerned citizens will participate in the Our Homes, Our Voices day of action on July 29 to bring more attention to America's affordable housing crisis. Coordinated activities will be held in cities across the nation to call for a greater investment in affordable homes and community development.

 

All people deserve an affordable home, and no one should be forced to give up food and basic healthcare to keep a roof over their heads. When we invest in affordable homes, we invest in people, our communities, and America as a whole - from increased employment and economic mobility to improved health and better education.

 

Yet, far too many families - including low income seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, and families with children - struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Nationwide, more people are renting their homes than ever before. But our investments in affordable housing have not kept pace. Today, three out of four families in need of federal housing assistance are turned away due to a lack of funding. As a result, millions of people do not have an affordable place to call home and half a million people live on the street, in shelters, or in their cars on any given night. Every state and community is impacted.

 

This year, federal investments in affordable housing face significant budget threats. In the name of deficit reduction, Congress has put in place low spending caps that starve low income families and communities of the resources they need to thrive. President Trump has proposed even deeper cuts in 2018, which would slash federal investments in affordable housing by $7.4 billion or 15%. Instead of reducing our nation's investments in affordable housing, we should make a bold and sustained commitment to ensure that everyone has a safe, accessible and affordable home. This starts with Congress rejecting the President's 2018 budget proposal, lifting the spending caps equally for defense and domestic programs, and fully investing in affordable housing resources that help low income families keep a roof over their heads.

 

"President Trump's budget proposal would be catastrophic to local governments that rely on this funding for affordable housing," said NALHFA Interim Executive Director, Jonathan Paine. "The country is in a serious affordable housing crisis and there is a great need to highlight the importance of government investment in affordable housing infrastructure. The Our Homes, Our Voices day of action will be an exceptional way for communities across the nation to emphasize the necessity of affordable housing investment."

 

Organizations, elected officials, and individuals who would like to participate in the Our Homes, Our Voices day of action should contact hvoorman@nalhfa.org

 

The following national, state, and local organizations are partners for Our Homes, Our Voices: The National Low Income Housing Coalition, B'nai B'rith International, Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, Enterprise Community Partners, Habitat for Humanity, Housing Assistance Council, National Alliance to End Homelessness, National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, National Network to End Domestic Violence, New York Housing Conference, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance

 

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NALHFA Washington Briefing Webinar (Members Only)

Posted By Administration, Monday, May 22, 2017
Thursday, June 15 
2:00 pm Eastern

  
Register today for NALHFA's Washington Briefing Webinar, part one of NALHFA's new educational webinar series for members only. 

Since 1982, NALHFA has been promoting, protecting and advancing the legislative and regulatory interests of local housing government agencies and providing leadersh ip in the field of affordable housing finance. The NALHFA Government Relations team is proud to represent the industry's interests and share with you the latest from Washington DC on a variety of topics ranging from tax reform to the federal budget and its potential impact on the affordable housing financing community. The team will also be taking your questions and look forward to hearing directly from you what you see as key priorities for the industry as well.

 

This Washington Briefing webinar is a terrific new member benefit, so don't miss out, register today! 

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