Congress continues to work toward tax reform legislation, and the Trump Administration recently has indicated an openness to reforming the mortgage interest deduction (MID). As tax reform discussions move forward, it is essential that advocates work to keep all new revenue from MID reform within housing programs that serve the lowest income people. Tax reform is a unique opportunity for new revenue for affordable housing. Congress can make the tax code fairer for more families, reduce income inequality and racial inequity, and end homelessness and housing poverty once and for all. Tell your U.S. representative to support the “Common Sense Housing Investment Act” (H.R. 948), which provides a common sense solution to homelessness and housing poverty.
The Common Sense Housing Investment Act of 2017, introduced by Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) on February 7, calls for modest reforms to the MID, a $70 billion tax expenditure largely benefitting America's highest-income households, that would provide new tax relief to millions of lower income homeowners and would reinvest more than $241 billion in savings over 10 years into affordable housing for people with the greatest needs.
The bill would boost funding for the national Housing Trust Fund, rental assistance, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and public housing solutions without adding any costs to the federal government.
The reforms are simple. First, the bill reduces the amount of a mortgage eligible for a tax break from $1 million to $500,000. This change would impact fewer than 6% of mortgage holders nationwide, and even those who hold large mortgages would continue to receive tax relief on the first $500,000 of their mortgage. Second, the bill converts the MID into a tax credit, allowing 25 million more low and moderate income homeowners to receive a much-needed tax break.
The NLIHC-led United for Homes campaign strongly endorsers H.R. 948. United for Homes is supported by 2,350 national, state, and local organizations and elected officials including at least one in all 435 congressional districts.
The real estate lobby continues to invest millions of dollars into Capitol Hill efforts to protect the highly regressive and inefficient MID. Despite this pressure, eight representatives have cosponsored H.R. 948: Representatives G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), John Conyers (D-MI), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), and Darren Soto (D-FL). More cosponsors are needed to show that this proposal is a priority and should be included in all tax reform deliberations.
More information on the “Common Sense Housing Investment Act” is at: http://bit.ly/2mNMJva
How You Can Take Action
- Ask your representative to cosponsor H.R. 948 to help end homelessness and housing poverty in comprehensive tax reform.
- Endorse the United for Homes campaign that calls for reforms that mirror Mr. Ellison’s bill. A list of UFH endorsers is available at: http://bit.ly/2mNYmCr
Ask your colleagues, friends, and family to call their representatives today!