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Rolling Back Inclusion

Tracking Trump's assault on community development

The Democracy Collaborative is deeply concerned that the antipathy or outright hostility of both the current administration and the current Congressional majority to the federal infrastructure of community development will translate into irreparable harm to the low income communities, especially communities of color, who continue to struggle with the legacy of decades of disinvestment, discrimination, and dispossession. We believe—along with the rest of the community development field—that robust, effective federal action is necessary to expand the access of marginalized communities to affordable housing, good jobs, and an equitable share in America's prosperity. In order to help communities across the country—both rural and urban—speak up in a moment in which the administration has made clear its intentions to scale back or dismantle these key federal frameworks, we will be tracking the new federal attacks on inclusive community development here, along with state-level measures enabled and encouraged by the new federal context.

On the campaign trail, Trump proclaimed that he would protect federal programs for helping low-income and elderly Americans. However many of his cabinet appointees have expressed very different views and hope to elimate or reduce social safety net programs. Already Trump's budget office has alluded to future cuts to the Legal Service Corporation, Appalachian Regional Commission, Americorps, and the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation.

Almost 30 milion people will lose their health insurance across the country if the ACA is repealed. Over a million people would also lose their jobs too. 

In the face of cuts to federal spending on community development and affordable housing, Cities could fund low-income housing without federal support using a luxury housing tax as has been used in New York City.

Bipartisan bills to protect the US Treasury's New Markets Tax Credit, which provides key funding to poor rural and urban zip codes, were introduced in the House and Senate. NMTCs have created an estimated 750,000 jobs and brough $75 billion in total capital investment to low-income communities. The New Markets Tax Credit Extension Act of 2017 would make the program permanent if passed.

In one of her first decisions as Trump's Transportation Secretary, Elaine Chao may have done in California's plans to electrify a 51-mile stretch of rail and create a high speed rail line. Chao deferred the decision about a federal grant that makes up 32.7 percent of the funding for the project, even though the project requires a notice to proceed be issued by March 1. Aside from limiting transit options in the region, killing the Caltrain electrification project will also kill the 9,600 jobs it was projected to create.

Trump has promised to unwind Obama's executive orders. Workers who benefited from Obama's executive order to raise the minimum wage for workers employed on federal properties worry that Trump will roll back the federal minimum wage order and they will see pay cuts. Executive orders to disadvantage contractors with a history of labor law violations and provide guarateed paid sick days for employees under federal contracts are also on the line. 

Among other reductions and elimination in funding for popular programs like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a memo from the OMB proposes cuts to the funding for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, which operates under the name NeighborWorks, and which provides key training and technical support for community developers across the country. According to the Neighborworks America website, "for every $1 of federal appropriation we award, NeighborWorks organizations are able to attract another $91 to expand local impact."

Uncertainty in the low-income housing tax credit marketplace is stalling affordable housing development in Massachusetts. This could potentially affect 23 projects and more than a thousand units in the state.

A senior advisor at HUD was recently fired for criticizing Trump's portrayal of "inner cities as if they are the ailments of American society and should be exterminated and swiftly removed" during the campaign.

After pressure from over 2,000 private and public organizations in every state, bipartisan legislation to make the New Markets Tax Credit permanent has been introduced in both the House and Senate.

Resolutions to disapprove state programs for automatic retirmement savings plan enrollment for private worker has been passed by the Senate and has now been received by the Senate. A vote could happen as eary as Monday, February 27.

HUD will begin an investigation into predatory lending, neglect of foreclosed properties, and discrimination in communities of color by One West Bank, which was previously headed by Steve Mnuchin, Trump's Treasury Secretary. 

Two new bills introduced in the Texas State legislature will needlessly complicate the application process for low-income housing tax credits. These additional complications would create massive barriers for new affordable housing in the Lone Star State. The bill was introduced by a state representative who pledged to "stop low-income government housing" during her campaign.

The FBI has released hundreds of pages on the 1970s Trump Management Co. housing discrimination case. During the case, which was later settled, the Trump company was accused of racially discriminatory rental practices, including telling potential black tenants that rental costs were twice as high as the actual cost and using a racial code written on rental applications.

A new bill proposed in Texas attacks affordable housing by requiring developers to jump through excessive hoops during the planning stages of low-income housing. The new bill requires developers to notify "any neighborhood organization," including private homeowners associations, within a 5-mile radius of the construction site before submitting an application for state low-income housing tax-credits. Low-income housing experts in the state are calling it one of the harshest NIMBY bills ever proposed.

Uncertainty about financing affordable housing in Pittsburgh shows how Trump policies could disrupt plans to provide low-income housing in cities across the nation. City officials now worry about displacement, gentrification, and people being pushed out of their communities if these programs don't continue.

Corporate tax reform, budget negotiations, implementation of HUD's Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, and the infrastructure package are high stakes policy decisions on the horizon that could have major implications for community development.

A GOP-led Congress is moving to disapprove a California law designed to automatically enroll low-income workers in IRA-type savings plans and prevent other states from launching similar programs. In addition to calling into question conservatives committment to respecting states' rights, the move could potentially impact millions of workers ability to save.

The "Local Zoning Decisions Protection Act of 2017" would eviscerate federal databases, keeping communities in the dark about patterns of segregation and disparities in access to affordable housing.

New GOP resolution aims to repeal a regulation of prepaid debit card companies before the rule even takes effect. The rule, which was scheduled to take effect in October, would protect users of the prepaid cards, which are popular among low-income people who can't qualify for a traditional credit card. The rule would require the companies to disclose hidden fees, protect users against loss, theft, and unauthorized charges, and limit overdraft fees. 

Communty development organization, banks, credit unions, businesses, chamber of commerces, non-profit groups, schools, universities, city governments, and community leaders in every state have signed a letter asking Congress to permanently authorize and expand the New Markets Tax Credit. Over 2,000 groups have called on Congress to make this economic development program permanent that is primarily used in severely distressed communities.

Trump's policies to "fix" inner cities are likely to hit the poor, immigrants, and people of color the hardest. 

Two recently introduced bills to do away with HUD's 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule and its accompanying mapping and data tools are part of long history of opposition to proactive neighborhood desegregation efforts.

Trump signs directives to reverse regulations intended to protect consumers from bad investment advice and loosen Dodd-Frank regulations on banks and other major financial companies.

Trump's directive to roll back Dodd-Frank could create a sequel to the 2008 housing crisis. An economic blow such as this would be especially punishing to his core supporters.

Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure plan is missing a key economic issue--housing. Not only would federally funded housing infrastructure provide stable shelter for American families, research also shows that housing is an effective way to stimulate the economy and create jobs. 

Trump's budget proposal will most likely slash federal funding for public transit, but some transportation experts believe Congress will not approve these cuts due to constituency pressure.

Some developers are already putting investments in Low Income Housing Tax Credits and affordable housing developments on hold in anticipation of a slash in corporate tax rates.

GOP plan to abolish the estate tax would result in large tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy, including many of Trump's cabinet picks.

Amid threats by the Trump administration to cut federal funding to "Sanctuary Cities," a new study finds that sanctuary communities have less crime and poverty and stronger economies than non-sanctuary jurisdictions

The Trump administration's proposed plan to cut the business tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent has already reduced the value of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, limiting resources for the leading mechanism for funding affordable housing in the United States.

Apparently, funding for brownfield development and other EPA revolving loan fund grants is not paused according to Trump transition team.

EPA grants for brownfield redevelopment are frozen, at least temporarily, if not permanently.

Heritage Foundation budget proposal, currently being used as a model for Trump's first proposed budget, would eliminate the CDFI Fund and Community Development Block Grants, along with many other federal government agencies and programs.

On his first day in office, the Trump administration undoes an FHA mortgage fee cut for first-time homebuyers and low-income borrowers. The cut, implemented by the Obama administration last-minute and which would have become effective on Jan 27, would have reduced the insurance premium by a percentage point to 0.60 percent. 

Two new bills have been introduced that would essentially repeal the new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation which was implemented under Obama. The new legislation would undermine communities' ability to remedy racial segregation and disparities in access to affordable housing.

Ben Carson's HUD Secreatry confirmation hearing reveals his inconsistent positions on HUD's key programs.