Homeownership Tax Credit Bills Introduced
Introduced earlier this month in the House by Reps. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), H.R., 1549, the “Renewing the Dream Tax Credit Act,” would spur the production of affordable housing, create new jobs and expand homeownership.
“The bill is intended to encourage the construction and rehabilitation of homes for low- and middle-income families in economically distressed areas and will help an estimated 50,000 families achieve the American dream of homeownership each year,” Reynolds said during an April 13 press conference on Capitol Hill to announce the unveiling of the innovative homeownership tax credit legislation.
“In addition to spurring homeownership, this legislation will generate an estimated $2 billion of private equity investment and $6 billion of development activity — meaning hundreds of thousands of new jobs in our communities,” he added.
Also participating in the media event, John Hofelich, president of the New York State Builders Association, said that the legislation is sound public policy and makes good economic sense.
“The tax credit will promote the development of affordable housing in low- to moderate-income urban and rural neighborhoods across the Empire State,” he said. “Rep. Reynolds has been a close friend of the home building industry going back to his days in the New York State Assembly and our state builders look forward to working with Tom to enact this legislation into law.”
NAHB Area 2 National Vice President Bruce Boncke, a long-time Reynolds constituent in western New York, also spoke at the press briefing, noting that the measure will increase homeownership opportunities for families in New York and across the country.
“A wise person told me that houses are where jobs go at night,” said Boncke. “Too many working families are forced to seek housing opportunities in communities far away from their jobs. This bill will reverse this troubling trend.”
There has been very little construction or rehabilitation of owner-occupied housing in many of the nation’s urban and rural areas because construction costs there are too high to be able to build housing that residents of those communities can afford.
“Modeled after the successful low-income rental housing tax credit, H.R. 1549 is intended to offset that problem by allowing states to allocate federal tax credits to developers and investors who provide single-family homes for purchase by qualified buyers in qualified areas,” said Cardin.
“The Renewing the Dream Tax Credit Act will bridge the gap between the cost of developing homes in economically distressed areas and the price at which such homes can be sold to low- and moderate-income buyers,” added Cardin.
“Homeownership is a bipartisan, non-partisan issue,” said Portman, who championed the tax credit in the 108th Congress and was recently nominated by President Bush to become the next U.S. Trade Representative. “Liberals and conservatives feel the same way — homeownership revitalizes communities.”
Thirty-four other original cosponsors also joined Reps. Reynolds, Cardin and Portman in supporting the bill, including a majority of the members of the House Ways and Means Committee, the panel with primary jurisdiction over tax issues.
Sens. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) and Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) on April 20 introduced companion Senate bill S. 859, the “Community Development Homeownership Tax Credit Act of 2005.”
The homeownership tax credit legislation has the strong support of a broad coalition of nearly 40 housing, finance and community-based organizations — including NAHB.
To read the legislation, click here and enter the bill number in the box at the upper left.
For more information, e-mail Michael Strauss at NAHB or call him at 800-368-5242 x8252.
Photo by Morris Semiatin