In response to the Washington Post’s November 30 editorial calling for mortgage interest deduction reform, Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) has circulated a new “Dear Colleague” letter asking Members of the House of Representatives to cosponsor his “Common Sense Housing Investment Act of 2015” (H.R. 1662). The bill would modify the MID and invest the savings into affordable rental housing for people with low incomes.
Mr. Ellison writes, “As the Post noted, our nation provides way more generous benefits to the wealthiest homeowners while providing inadequate rental housing assistance to low-income families. In fact, the average family earning more than $200,000 a year receives four times the federal housing benefits received by the average family who earns under $20,000 annually. Meanwhile, our rental housing crisis continues to worsen. Nearly half of all renters pay more than 30% of their income for housing and nearly all extremely low-income households pay more than half.”
H.R. 1662 contains the essential elements of the NLIHC-led United for Homes (UFH) campaign. The UFH campaign would reduce the portion of a mortgage eligible for a tax break from the current $1 million to $500,000 and convert the deduction to a 15% non-refundable tax credit. Phased in over five years, these changes would create an additional $213 billion in revenue over ten years without adding to the federal deficit. The UFH campaign calls for investing these savings into the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) for affordable housing. The proposed changes would also expand mortgage interest tax benefits to millions more low and moderate income homeowners who do not currently benefit from the MID, most of whom have incomes below $100,000.
Mr. Ellison also submitted a letter to the editor of the Washington Post in response to the November 30 editorial. The letter was published on December 3. In the letter, Mr. Ellison said “our nation provides generous benefits to the wealthiest homeowners while providing inadequate rental housing assistance to low-income families who need help the most.”
Funding the NHTF with revenue raised by modifying the MID is one of NLIHC’s top policy priorities. NLIHC calls on advocates to urge their Representatives to cosponsor the Ellison bill.
Read Mr. Ellison’s “Dear Colleague” letter at http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/Keith-Ellison_Dear-Colleague-Washington-Post.pdf
Read Mr. Ellison’s letter to the editor of the Washington Post at http://wapo.st/1lbrAcJ.
More than 2,200 national, state, and local organizations and elected officials have endorsed the United for Homes campaign. To join the campaign, go to www.unitedforhomes.org.
More information about mortgage interest reform is at http://nlihc.org/unitedforhomes/proposal and on page 3-19 of NLIHC’s 2015 Advocates’ Guide at http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/Sec3.04_MID-Reform_2015.pdf.