Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) circulated a Dear Colleague letter last week urging the House Ways and Means Committee to use tax reform as an opportunity to end homelessness and housing poverty by keeping housing-related tax savings within housing.
Mr. Ellison’s Legislative Director Carol Wayman announced the Dear Colleague letter at the relaunch of the NLIHC-led United for Homes campaign, which calls for making modest reforms to the mortgage interest deduction (MID) to provide a tax break to millions of additional low and moderate income homeowners and to reinvest the significant savings into affordable rental housing programs that serve households with the greatest needs.
NLIHC and the United for Homes campaign, which is endorsed by more than 2,300 national, state, and local organizations and local government officials, supports the Dear Colleague letter. We urge all Representatives to sign on by the January 27 deadline.
The letter does not ask the Committee to make changes to housing benefits in the tax code, but rather calls on the Committee to reinvest any housing-related tax savings back into key affordable housing programs if they move forward with such changes. NLIHC has heard from a number of Congressional offices that the Committee is seriously considering modifying housing tax benefits like the MID. If they do, any savings must be reinvested in affordable rental housing programs that address homelessness and housing poverty.
Mr. Ellison’s letter states in part: “Comprehensive tax reform provides one of the best opportunities to end homelessness and housing poverty once and for all. As your Committee drafts comprehensive tax reform legislation, we urge you to seize this opportunity by redirecting any savings derived from changes to tax benefits for housing be dedicated to providing affordable rental housing to low income families. This would include tax benefits that benefit some homeowners, such as the mortgage interest deduction, property tax deduction, capital gains exclusion, etc. —whether through direct changes or by increasing the standard tax deduction. Revenue derived from these sources should be dedicated to expanding highly effective affordable rental housing programs that serve families with the greatest needs, like the national Housing Trust Fund, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit with changes to ensure deeper income targeting and other rental assistance and housing production programs.”
A copy of the Ellison Dear Colleague Letter is at: http://bit.ly/2j2j8MM
A copy of NLIHC’s Call to Action is at: http://nlihc.org/article/take-action-ask-congress-reinvest-scarce-federal-resources-key-affordable-rental-housing
NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel’s statement supporting Rep. Ellison’s effort is at: http://nlihc.org/press/releases/7413
Join the United for Homes campaign at: http://nlihc.org/unitedforhomes/support