Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) separately introduced bold proposals to create fully refundable tax credits for cost-burdened renters, households spending more than 30% of their income for rent and utilities. Both bills directly address the widening gap between incomes and housing cost and would go a long way toward alleviating the housing crisis for people with the lowest incomes. For more information about the proposals, see NLIHC’s factsheet, “Bold Proposals for Renters’ Tax Credits.”
The “Rent Relief Act” (S. 3250) introduced by Senator Harris would provide renters with a refundable tax credit covering a portion of the difference between what they can afford – 30% of their income – and their rent and utilities capped at 150% of fair market rent. The value of the credit would be based on the taxpayer’s income. The credit would cover: 100% of cost burden for households earning less than $25,000; 75% of cost burden for households earning between $25,000 and $50,000; 50% of cost burden for households earning between $50,000 and $75,000; and 25% of cost burden for households with income between $75,000 and $100,000. Residents in federally assisted housing would also receive a tax credit valued at the amount paid for rent for one month.
The “Housing, Opportunity, Mobility, and Equity (HOME) Act” (S.3342) introduced by Senator Booker would provide a refundable tax credit for renters whose income is at or less than 80% of area median. The tax credit would cover the difference between what the household can afford – 30% of their income – and their rent and utilities capped at 100% of fair market rent.
Senator Booker’s bill would also require local governments and the private sector to build more housing affordable to the middle class. Under the proposal, local governments receiving Community Development Block Grant funds would be required to address regulatory and zoning barriers that drive up housing costs and restrict the ability of the private sector to build more rental homes for the middle class.
NLIHC’s factsheet comparing the two proposals is at: https://bit.ly/2npi5K2
NLIHC’s press release about Senator Booker’s bill is at: https://bit.ly/2KmEP6r
Senator Harris’s press release, featuring a quote from NLIHC president and CEO Diane Yentel, is at: https://bit.ly/2O4FXyx