Rolling Back Inclusion
Tracking the assault on community developmentUpdate: While we are leaving this page up for archival purposes, it is no longer being updated. For important organizing updates around ongoing attacks on inclusive community development, we recommend visiting CarsonWatch
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.
Republicans are hastily deliberating the tax bill and and appear to be rethinking some the most controversial features that originally appeared in the House and Senate versions individually. Private-activity bonds (PABs), used to fund infrastructure and affordable housing will likely remain tax exempt. The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, New Markets Tax Credit, and the Historic Tax Credit are unlikey to change directly in the final bill, however it the corporate tax rate is dropped drastically the value of the credits will be undermined.
After only two weeks after being installed by President Trump as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Mick Mulvaney has already made a number of moves that show he is putting Wall Street ahead of consumers. “Since the moment he arrived, Mick Mulvaney has attempted to undermine the work the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has done to protect Americans from bad actors and financial predators,” according to Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.
The Senate Banking Chairman, Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) has released the bipartisan "Economic Growth" legislation text. The plan would roll back fair lending requirement and allow dangerous banking practices that led to the Great Recession. The bank exempts 85 percent of banks from having to provide better public information about their lending practices. The bill would also weaken protections against predatory lending from the Dodd Frank act.
The House tax reform bill cancels the tax exemption for Private Activity Bonds (PAB), which are issued to local and state governments and then are loaned to private companies for funding for affordable housing, hospitals, airports, or infrastructure. They are often also used in conjuction with Low Income Housing Tax Credits. In fact these tax exempt bonds are used to finance about half of the nation's affordable housing developments. The Senate bill retains the tax exemption for PABs.
The Republican Tax plan preserves the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) but the credits may be effectively gutted because the plan does away with private activity bonds, which are usually used in conjuction with LIHTCs. The lowering of the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent would further lower the value of the LIHTCs so even projects that rely on the credits alone would suffer. One accounting consultancy that tracks the tax credits estimates that the changes will result in a two-thirds reduction in new affordable housing units over the next ten years. The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates that these changes will cause the loss of over 80,000 new units each year.
Five civil rights groups are taking the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to court for delaying the mandatory implementation of the Small Area Fair Market Rent (SAFMR) rule until 2020. Currently Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) are calculated based on the Fair Market Rent (FMR) standard for an entire metro area. Because the voucher is calculated based on the entire metro area rather than neighborhood-by-neighborhood where rents may vary significantly, voucher users are usually end up concentrated in high-poverty areas. The new rule would calculate the voucher amounts based on zip-code. The civil rights group argue that by delaying the SAFMR rule, HUD is ensuring a continued pattern of segregation of minorities and poor residents in certain areas.
The Non-Profit Quarterly offers an analysis of the House Tax Bill from the perspective on non-profit organizations. The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act repeals numerous taxes such as the alternative minimum tax and the estate tax, and significantly reduces taxes paid by the wealthy and corporations, creating a predicted $1.5 trillion deficit, which will likely create spending cuts for the foreseeable future. The bill modifies the Johnson Amendment allowing churches and other organizations to endorse candidates, diverting funding from the public good to political purposes. It also increases the standard deduction thus reducing incentives for smaller charitable gifts and gifts from lower-income Americans. Severe reductions in the corporate tax rate mean that investment through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) would be significantly lowered despite the bill retaining the credit.
The House Tax Reform Proposal would repeal the federal New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program. The program has leveraged over $80 billion in public-private investments and created more than 750,000 jobs in some of the poorest neighborhoods and towns in the US, according to Bob Rapoza of the NMTC Coalition, who calls the repeal, "a serious misstep that will be felt by communities nationwide."
The newly unveiled Republican tax plan includes major tax cuts for wealth individuals and large corporations. Among other changes, the framework proposes lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent, abolishing the estate tax, and creating a lower rate for "pass-through" companies. David Kamin, an NYU law profesor and former Obama staffer says of the new plan, "This is a very large tax cut for capital/business, which will go disproportionately to the very top."
The House Appropriation Committee's approved Financial Services bill has set a top-line of $190 million for the CDFI Fund. This constitutes a $58 million dollar cut from FY17 funding. Republicans have asserted that CDFI's are no longer needed. However, a recent survey of CDFI borrowers, reveals that nearly 40 percent said that they were borrowing from a CDFI because they were unable to qualify at other lending institutions. More than 20 percent said that the CDFI was the only affordable option in their area.
The House Appropriation Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) released its spending bill for FY2018 on July 10. The bill allocates $56.6 billion in funding for FY2018, which is two percent less than FY2017, but 18 percent more than the FY 2018 request made by President Trump. While the funding allocated to HUD is 22 percent higher than the amount requested in the President's budget blueprint, it's important to note it is still $487 million (1.3 percent) less than the allocation in FY 2017. Notable spending reductions include a 4.7 percent reduction of the Public Housing Capital Fund, a 3.3 percent cut to Community Development Block Grants, a 10.5 percent reduction to the HOME Program, and a huge 85.5 percent cut to the Choice Neighborhood Initiative. The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to consider the subcommittee bill before the August recess. However, it's highly unlikely Congress will pass all 12 annual spending bills before the end of the fiscal year on September 30. It's more likely that Congress will consider a continuing resolution to fund the government in October and November.
The 2018 House Budget draft significantly underfunds federal investments in housing according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. The draft provides at least $1.5 billion less than what is needed to maintain program levels and cover the costs of inflation to ensure that every household currently receiving housing assistance can remain in their home. For example, at the allocation drafted in the bill, more than 140,000 housing vouchers will likely be eliminated. The bill also would cut the HOME program adn the Community Development Block Grant program by $100 million each. The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative would essentially be elimated by cutting it from $138 million to $20 million. The bill also eliminates the US Interagency Council on Homelessness.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition has created a chart to track the budget allocations for affordable-housing programs Fiscal Year 2018 as the budget process progresses. The document compares the funding drafted for FY2018 by the President, House, and Senate to the actual funding enacted for FY2016 and FY2017.
The House Agricultural Appropriations Bill, which has now been advanced to the full Appropriations Committee, rejects the White House's proposed elimination of many programs within the USDA, including the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program. Despite avoiding elmination, the RCDG program is funded at $21 billion for FY2018, a $300,000 reduction from FY2017. This is still a far cry from Trump's plan to entirely elimanate the Rural Business and Cooperative Service, the agency that delivers the RCDGs.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) said, "We are literally actively engaged right now in moving forward with developing this legislation," speaking about a proposal that reins in and replaces several aspects of Dodd-Frank. Up for discussion are the "Volker Rule," which prevents banks from making risky trades with their own capital, adjusting how the government tests the stability of big banks, and where to draw the line between big banks that need strong oversight and small banks that need relaxed regulatory burdens. Also being considered is the future of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which polices predatory lending by banks.
The White House has unveiled its $4.1 trillion budget, a proposal which sharply slashes the social safety net for the poor. Food stamps, health care for low-income patients, disability benefits, and student loan subsidies are all on the line for cuts. One ray of hope is the inclusion of an Ivanka Trump plan for paid parental leave.
President Trump's budget plan cuts or eliminates numerous programs that the White House says are a waste of money. The cuts are both deep and wide. Some of the programs slated for major cuts, such as Medicaid and the modern version of food stamps, provide benefits for up to a fifth of all Americans. For example, funding for the Supplemental Nutririon Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly called food stamps), a program that helps 44 million Americans, would be cut by 29 percent.
The Trump Administration's comprehensive budget proposal proposes the elimination of the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund again. The new document, which provides a more detailed look at the White House's priorities, claims that the goal of the CDFI fund has been achieved. The administration also calls for an in-depth examination of tax exemptions, including credit unions tax exempt status.
President Trump's Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal completely eliminates 66 federal programs, including many important community development programs: Rural Business-Cooperative Service (USDA), Single-Family Housing Direct Loans (USDA), Economic Development Admionstration (Commerce Department), Manufacturing Extension Program (Commerce Department), Minority Business Development Agency (Commerce Department), Community Service Block Grant (Health and Human Services), Choice Neighborhoods (HUD), Community Development Block Grant (HUD), HOME Investment Partnership Program (HUD), Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership Opportunity Program Account (HUD), Corporation for National and Community Service (Independent Agency), Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (Independent Agency), Appalachian Regional Commission, Delta Regional Authority, Denali Commission, Northern Border Regional Commission.
The Opportunity Finance Network has issued a press statement expressing opposition to the FY 2018 budget proposal's elimination of the CDFI Fund. The CDFI Fund helps make capital available in places where capital for small businesses is difficult to obtain. For every $1 in federal funds, the CDFI Fund has attracted an additional $12 from private sources to help contribute to economic development in areas that mainstream financing does not reach.
While advocates for the federal infrastructure for inclusive community development have been justifiably alarmed at the White House's draconian budget proposal, which outlines severe cuts to or wholesale elimination of programs with demonstrated beneficial impact for the our country'as most economically marginalized communities, the real decisions about which programs will be funded and at what levels will be made in the Appropriations committees in the House and Senate. Below, we've mapped out in which appropriations subcommittee the fate of each of the programs we are following on our "Rolling Back Inclusion" tracker will be decided, together with links to the members from both parties in each of those subcommittees, with links to their phone, email, and social media contact information, as a resource to help those concerned about federal support for community development learn how to make their voices heard.
GOP senators and representatives are moving to repeal a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulating the prepaid-card industry before it can be enacted this month. The prepaid-cards are more frequently used by groups who face discrimination, economic disadvantage, and barriers to traditional lines of credit. For example, the cards are used by almost 14 percent of black households, as compared to only 9 percent of white households. The new rule will protect consumers against fraud, hidden fees, and unauthorized charges. A vote on the repeal may come shortly after the congressional recess ends on April 21.
"The Trump administration has sped up its plan to shut down the Treasury Department’s grant programs for community development financial institutions. In an Excel spreadsheet sent [...] to the appropriations committees on Capitol Hill, the administration listed a number of programs it wants to cut as soon as possible, including the CDFI grants."
After much speculation, President Trump's Budget Blueprint for fiscal year 2018 has officially been released. The drastic cuts to community development programs and funding proposed by the plan, if enacted, could roll back decades of slow and steady progress on the ground in low-income and economically disenfranchised communities. This guide outlines where inclusive community development is under attack in the Administration's budget proposal and what could be lost if President Trump's budget were approved.
The Trump administration's budget drafts propose cutting $54 billion from domestic discretionary spending to enable a matching increase in defense spending. The list of programs being reduced or eliminated is extensive. Included on the list of targets for elimination are many community development programs, including the Appalachian Regional Commission, Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing, Community Development Block Grant, Community Development Financial institutions Fund Grant, Economic Development Administration, Minority Business Development Agency, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, and the Northern Border Regional Commission.
The budget outline recently released by the Office of Management and Budget for the next fiscal year proposes a 13.2 percent cut to HUD funding. This release confirms similar preliminary numbers reported by the Washington Post last week. Under the budget proposal, the Community Development Block Grant program, the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, the Choice Neighborhoods program, and the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program would be eliminated.
The Community Development Block Grant program, a program that has garnered support from both sides of the aisle over the past 42 years, would be completely eliminated if the Trump Aministration has its way. The HUD program provides funding at the community level for public services, affordable housing, public facilities improvements, parks, healthcare and childcare facilities, community and recreation centers, and disaster relief. Since 1975, the program has provide $150 billion in flexible federal funding to local communities, allowing them to determine their greatest needs.
Democratic Senators denouced possible Trump Administration HUD budget cuts as "unconscionable" in a letter to Secretary Ben Carson on Friday. The letter cautions the potential health consequences to families with children, the elderly, and people with disabilities if public housing goes unmaintined. The letter also calls directly upon Carson to take responsibility for the agency and uphold the core mission of HUD as he claimed he would do in his confirmation hearings by fighting the budget cuts.
A preliminary budget plan reveals that the Trump Administration may cut the budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development by 14 percent. The Community Development Block Grant Program would be completely cut, according to the document. The HOME Investment Partnerships Program and Choice Neighborhoods are also on the chopping block.
The Washington Post is reporting that the Trump administration is considering drastic cuts to the budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including sharp reductions in federal support for public housing, the elimination of the Community Development Block Grant Program and the Choice Neighborhoods, and millions of dollars of cuts in rental assistance to the poor, veterans, the disabled, and the elderly.
Along with important environmental programs, inclusive community development will also be impacted by the Trump Administration's planned EPA budget cuts. The funding for EPA Brownfields Program, which helps communities, states, and tribes clean up and safely redevelop contaminated properties will be cut by 44 percent. State grants for brownfield redevelopment will also be cut by 31 percent.
The Trump adminstration hopes to increase military spending by $54 billion. To help pay for this spending, the administration plans to essentially eliminate all funding for the Community Development Financial (CDFI) Fund. The CDFI Fund, a branch of the Treasury Department, helps distressed urban and rural communities with loan funding and local development. The CDFI Fund also oversees the New Markets Tax Credit Program (NMTCP), a program that generates $8 in private investment for ever $1 of tax credit.
In documents obtained by the New York Times, the Trump Administration revealed that it would “all but eliminate” the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. Trump hopes to increase military spending by $54 Billion and cut nonmilitary discretionary domestic programs by the same amount, and the CDFI Fund appears to be one of the programs on the chopping block. The CDFI Fund offers grants for community banks and other financial institutions and local development in economically depressed communities.
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."
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.
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 "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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Republican tax overhaul slashed the corporate tax rate, making Low-Income Housing Tax Credits less valuable to investors. In San Fransisco, the lower corporate tax rate has already increased the cost of building a unit of affordable housing by $50,000. With half of all renters already rent-burdened, the tax plan will only make the housing crisis worse.
A group of civil rights groups are suing HUD and Secretary Ben Carson for delaying the mandatory implementation of the Small Area Fair Market Rent (SAFMR) rule by two years. The goal of the SAFMR rule is to give housing vouchers greater choice in where they live by recalculating what is considered "fair market rent" on the basis of zip code rather than the metropolitan area as a whole. The civil rights groups behind the lawsuit argue that the way that the Section 8 vouchers are currently calculated reinforces segragation by only making it possible for voucher users to live in the most impoverished neighborhoods within metropolitan areas.
The Trump DOT is elimating the Local Labor Hiring Pilot Program, an Obama-Era jobs program that allowed local agencies to get permission from the DOT to create "geographic-based hiring preferences" for federally funded transporation projects. Through the program, cities receiving federal transporation grants have been able to steer jobs to the low-income people in the areas where the transporation projects were being built.
The "Omnibus" spending bill that will fund the federal government through September 30th, will include funds for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance grant, a program that offers free tax preparation for low- and moderate-income people, and the Community Facilities Program, which provides low-cost loans to build critical community infrastructure like hospitals, schools, and other community buildings. Unfortunately, the Assets for Independence (AFI) program was not funded under the spending deal. The AFI program is a community-based approach for helping low-income families escape poverty through the use of matched savings accounts called Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). AFI has been successfully helping build assets in low-income communities for over 20 years.
The Houston Housing Authority was required to rescind housing vouchers from more than 900 households who had already been awarded and were expecting the subsidy. The vouchers had to be rescinded because HUD didn't have the funding to pay for them. If HUD funding continues at current levels, more than 100,000 vouchers across the country could go unfunded in 2017.
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.
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.
Even though the GOP federal tax plan has yet to take effect, the drastic cuts to the corporate tax rate have already started impacting the municipal bond market. Municipal bonds are used to finance local infrastructure projects and affordable housing. Preliminary data is showing that banks have slowed their investment in the muni market, because with the corporate tax rate lowered from 35 to 21 percent banks and other corporations will begin earning more from other investments, which means they would have less need for the low interest rate muni bonds.
Trump administration regulators plan to change the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), the rules that govern banks. The changes would lower lending requirements and reduce penalies for failure to comply to the rules. One change could involve expanding the definition of "community development" to include lending to projects that don't solely benefit low-income people. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) argues that this change would diminish lending to the poor and inflate banks’ CRA ratings. “If you begin to move away from the focus on income and class of the borrower and begin to expand it, you’re really changing the law,” said John Taylor, president of NCRC.
The tax overhaul plan retains the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, retains Private Activity Bonds, retains the New Markets Tax Credit, and lowers the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, which will impact housing credit values.
Washington, DC's council recently created a $10 million affordable housing fund. Unfortunately the success of the fund maybe threatened by the House tax bill, which eliminates tax exemption for private activity bonds. Affordable housing preservation projects often depend on these tax exempt bonds in order to attract tax-credit motivated investors. Washington, DC is just one location where affordable housing would be severly impacted by the elimation of private activity bonds' tax exemption. The National Low-Income Housing Coalition, estimates that the elimination of tax-exemption for private activity bonds would result in the loss of over 80,000 affordable homes each year.
The House tax plan eliminates private activity bonds' tax exempt status, a critical part of low-income housing financing. In King County, Washington, the elimation of this tax exemption would result in a loss of 1,100 affordable apartments and another 1000 units elsewhere in the state in the next year alone. The Senate tax plan preserves the tax exemption but the two chambers still have to reconcile the bill.
The Republican tax plan would have a devastating impact on affordable housing. It's also a statement about priorities. The GOP tax plan radically alters who pays for the needs of the country, putting the burden on poor and working families and giving the wealthy and corporations a pass.
The House Republican tax plan sought to remove the tax exemption for Private Activity Bonds (PAB), which are used for economic development projects and non-profits like hospitals and are also often used in conjuction with Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. Affordable housing advocates are breathing a sigh of relief because the Senate tax plan retains the tax exemptions for PABs. However amendments may still be written into the plan and the House and the Senate still have to be reconciled as well, so the issue may still not be off the table.
The Republican tax reform plan caps the Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) at mortgages of $500,000 rather than $1 million, a tax break that mainly helps white, wealthy households. One study found that, "the MID cost the federal government $71 billion, more than double the $29.9 billion funding Section 8." Eighty-five percent of MID benefits go to high income households. About 67 percent of households are white, but 78 percent of MID benefits go towards them, reinforcing the racial wealth and asset gap. Rather than using the savings from the MID cap to pay for programs like housing vouchers and public housing that would help rent-burdened household or assisting low-income people with down payments for a first home, the savings will largely go towards greater tax breaks for wealthy Americans and corporations according to the plan.
Like countless other affordable housing advocates across the country, Massachusetts affordable housing organizations are opposing the GOP tax plan. The Citizens' Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) of Massachusetts opposes the bill because it weakens the value of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, eliminates the New Markets Tax Credit and the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, and the savings from the lowering the mortgage interest deduction aren't redirected toward affordable housing credits. CHAPA cites the devastating impact in a state which has a shortage of 158,769 affordable housing units for extremely low-income households. The bill would have a similar impact in cities and states with housing crises across the country.
Affordable housing advocates in New Hampshire are speaking out against the GOP tax reform bill, with the director of Housing Action NH, Elissa Margolin She, says, "would end any progress on affordable housing." Her organization and others oppose the weakening of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the elimination of tax exemption on Private Activity Bonds including multifamily housing bonds, the elimination of the New Markets Tax Credit, and reforming the mortgage interest deduction without redirecting the funds toward affordable housing.
A new report from the Atlanta and Cleveland Federal Reserve Banks finds that minority-owned business have a significantly harder time obtaining credit than white-owned businesses with similar perfomance profiles and credit risks. Black- and Hispanic-owned businesses are more likely than their white counterparts to use Community Development Financial Institutions to gain financing, but the Trump administration has proposed eliminating the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) fund, despite vows to "create a business climate in which minority business enterprises can thrive and expand. The GOP tax plan is also largely opposed by small-business associations and would likely have a negative impact on small minority-owned businesses.
The GOP's tax plan would benefit the Trump Organization, the NFL, and the Koch brothers' Georgia Pacific subsidiary, but small businesses like the neighborhood pizza place or your mechanic would see very few benefits. The House plan lowers the pass-through rate to 25 percent, and Republican leaders have been touting this move as a small business tax cut. The tax cut would almost exclusively benefit wealthy business owners, since most low- to middle-income business owners are among the eighty-six percent of people who report pass-through income that already fall in the 25 percent tax bracket.
Although Republicans claim that no one in the middle class is going to get a tax increase, analyses have consistently found that the plan would raise taxes for millions of middle-income Americans. By 2026, 45 percent of middle-class families would pay more than what they would under the current tax system.
The GOP tax plan eliminates the tax exemption for private activity bonds, which allow tax-exempt municipal bonds to be issued on behalf of a government for a project built and paid for by a private developer. These bonds are a critical part of financing affordable housing and other infrastructure projects in the public interest.
The House GOP tax plan retains the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, but eliminates private activity bonds' tax exemption, lowers the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent, eliminates the New Market Tax Credit allocation authority after 2017, and eliminates the historic rehabilitation tax credit. All these changes would have devastating consequences for community development and affordable housing.
The GOP tax plan retains Low Income Housing Tax Credit, but private-activity bonds' tax exemption would be eliminated, which would cut off the flow of 4% LIHTC bond-financed units. This type of financing accounts for over 40% of affordable housing production. The proposal also lowers the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent. The Historic Preservation Tax Credit and the New Markets Tax Credit are also proposed for elimination.
A new study from the National Community Reinvestment Coaliton (NCRC) found that proposals to change the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) from the banking industry would enable midsize banks to circumvent federal requirements to lend and invest in low and moderate income communities. Under the current requirements of the law, they lend and invest about $3 billion in community development in these communities, but the study shows that proposed changes to the CRA would lower that number by at least 50 percent.
The Republican Tax Framework explicitly protects a few tax credits, but the 9 page document omits preservation of the New Markets Tax Credit. NMTC investments go to some of the most economically distressed rural and urban communities in America. A spokesperson for the NMTC Coalition said, "The tax reform framework released today certainly doesn't shut the door on the NMTC, but it is unfortunate that the leadership omitted the NMTC from its list of credits that were essential to preserve—especially in light of the strong bipartisan congressional support for the credit and the incredible track record it has built in some of the poorest, most forgotten communities in our country."
The House of Representatives removed a measure froma funding bill that would have placed the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) under congressional appropriations, giving leglislators control of the independent regulator's budget. The removal of the language is generally considered "a huge victory for credit unions and their member-owners."
The House passed a $1.2 trillion 2018 funding package that included eight new bills and four bills that were previously passed in in July. This is the first time the House has advanced all 12 bills simultaneously since 2009. The bills provide $621.5 billion for defense spending and $511 billion for nondefense discretionary spending.
Since Ben Carson's appointment to Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the department has been rudderless under a leader with no government or housing experience. Since his confirmation many top positions in the agency remain unfilled and what guidance has come from the leadership is often delayed out of negligence or a willful desire to slow initiatives down. Secretary Carson has also done nothing to preserve HUD funding for key programs in the budget process, arguing that poverty is merely a "state of mind". His family has also taken an oddly prominent role in the department's management joining publicly in many of Carson's "listening tours."
The Senate Appropriations committee unanimously approved the FY2018 Transporation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Act. The Senate THUD Bill provides $60.06 billion, $2.41 billion more than fiscal year 2017 and $12.13 billion more than what Trump's budget proposal requested. The bill preserves important community development programs, such as NeighborWorks. Although this bill is an increase from last year's spending, it is "still less in nominal terms than it was in 2010," according to Senator Jack Reed (D-RI).
Two programs, the Community Development Block Grant Program and the HOME Program, that were proposed for elimination by the Trump Administration budget, are poised for $100 million in cuts each, based on the House Appropriation's bill. Local leaders in housing and health around the country are worried about what these cuts mean for their communities. Emily Wright, executive director of the Grand Forks Community Land Trust, for example, says, "If it’s just reduced budgets, that’s something we’ve seen for the last couple decades. But there comes a point where it’s reduced so much that you can’t provide the service you’re supposed to provide."
The Federal Reserve's Community Advisory Council has sharply criticized Trump's proposed budget as well as proposals on healthcare, immigration, and climate change. The Fed's Community Council said, "Proposed cuts to health care, food assistance, and significant cuts in taxes for the wealthy will exacerbate disparities in wages, borrowing, affordable housing finance, and employment across major demographic segments and regions."
The Obama-era HUD rule, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing asked jurisdictions to provide data on how zoning affected racial segregation in their boundaries. Wealthy suburban Westchester County failed to properly provide this documentation 10 times in eight years. Despite submitting the an inaccurate document that as "essentially the same" as its precursors, HUD has now approved the document, claiming to find no evidence of exclusionary zoning. This sudden about-face, came shortly after Lynne Patton, former Trump family party planner took the helm of HUD Region II, which includes Westchester.
In Sarasota and Manatee Counties, Florida, Community Development Block Grants are used each year to provide housing to homeless people and fund loans for low-income resididents to repair thier homes. The grants also hire social-service workers in the counties' depressed communities and to provide meals to low-income seniors. The Trump administration has proposed eliminating the program, and now local leaders are calling on Office of Management and Budget to look to Manatee and Sarasota counties for examples of the positive results of the funds being targeted at the poorest populations.
The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) is urging the House Appropriation Committee to approve $250 million in funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, restore funding for the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Community Development Loan Fund, create a five-member Consumer Financial Protection Bureau commission, and to keep NCUA out of the appropriations process. The House appropriators will be marking up a spending bill on July 13th.
Members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors have called upon legislators to reject the cuts proposed to key community development programs in Trump's budget during the appropriations process. More than 350 mayors from both parties in cities across the country have asked Congress to fund the Community Development Block Grant Program at $3.3 billion, a $300 million dollar increase from FY2017. Mayor Bryan Barnett, Republican leader of Rolling Hills, Michigan, saying, “There’s probably no issue I’m familiar with that has such a strong bipartisan support."
Since the early 1990s around 20 percent of America's public housing has been demolished. At the same time, politicians from both sides of the aisle have pushed programs that support privatization or light-housing subsidy for affordable housing, rather than outright public ownership of housing projects. With a huge backlog of repairs in America's existing public housing and more American's becoming rent burdened every year, now is the time for investment in public housing, not the time for massive budget cuts.
The President's proposed cuts would have disparate impacts on programs for the elderly and disabled. For one elderly Newport News couple, the Jeffersons, a local program funded by a Community Development Block Grant program allowed them to stay in their home after Belinda Jefferson lost her job due to a brain aneurysm. According to Karen Wilds with the Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority, "We have more people that need this sort of thing than there are resources to go around." For communities around the country like Newport News, the proposed $6 billion in HUD cuts would have similarly devastaing impacts on the elderly, disabled, and poor.
Republican legislators representing the rural areas that helped elect President Trump are voicing disagreements with many of the proposed funding cuts to programs that assistant economically depressed areas. Representative Claudia Tenney (R-NY) argues, "I'm for growing the economy, but you can't pull the rug out from my consituents in two of the poorest small-metro city regions in my district...We need the social services support and some of the other issues that are being cut." Strategists say that both Democrats and Republicans may face electoral blowback if programs critical to their constituents are cut, but for now, both the House and Senat are proceeding with the appropriations process without the passage of a budget resolution.
Homeowners and activists in more than 15 cities came together on July 7th to protest proposed budget cuts to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. More than 40 organization have joined the #Nocuts Coalition preserve funding for affordable housing and community development, including: People’s Action, Center for Popular Democracy, Right to the City Alliance, Homes for All, Community Voices Heard, New York Communities for Change, MHAction, Tenant Union of Washington State, Homes For All Nashville, Baltimore Housing Roundtable, United Workers, ARISE, One Northside, Jane Adams Senior Caucus, Housing Justice League and Miami Workers.
Representative Maxine Waters (D-California) called for the preservation of the many housing and community development programs proposed for elimination in the White House's budget blueprint at the Save HUD 202 Rally on July 7. In particular she called for increased funding for the Section 2020 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program. “In the face of rising rents, for older renters, access to federally subsidized housing is key to financial stability,” Rep. Waters said, “Unfortunately, of the 3.9 million seniors eligible for assisted housing, only 1.4 million (36 percent) of very low-income persons aged 62 and older receive the rental assistance that they so desperately need."
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) and Rep. Hakeem Jefferies (D-New York) have snet a letter demanding more information on the President's conflicts of interest due to his stake in the nation's largest federally subsidized housing complex. Trump owns a 4 percent share in Starrett City, an affordable housing complex in Brooklyn, earning him over $5 million each year. The president could benefit if HUD were to allow the sale of the complex to private developers. The president's proposed budget also included major cuts to most HUD programs, except the program that provided subsidies to Starrett City. The Congressmen also questioned the appointment of Lynne Patton, former Trump family event planner with no housing experience to lead the New York and New Jersey HUD office.
Trump's budget proposal threatens to eliminate the Community Development Block Grant. For Baltimore, this means a loss of $19 million for programs such as affordable housing, literacy education, job training, early child care, and home ownership counseling. Communities across the country worry about what the possible loss of this flexible source of funding would mean for their most vulnerable residents.
Funding cuts proposed for HUD would have a huge impact in New York City where affordable housing is extremely difficult to come by. According to Shola Olatoye, the chair and CEO of New York City Housing Authority, “We could potentially lose 13,000 vouchers. That’s not only in 13,000 households, but also… those small businesses that rely on that constant cash flow to operate buildings across the city." If her predictions are accurate, 15 percent of Section 8 house holds could lose their subsidies in New York City.
In over 20 cities across the US, protesters gathered outside HUD offices to oppose cuts to the agency's funding, particularly the massive cuts proposed by President Trump to public housing. A 29 percent cut was proposed for public housing as well as a 5 percent cut to programs that provide subsidies to low-income tenants in private housing. Activists were asking Congress, "Don’t cut HUD, but (also) fully fund HUD,” according to Afua Atta-Mensah, Community Voices Heard executive director, an organization participating in the protests.
The potential for a major cut to the corporate tax rate as proposed by both Trump and Congressional Republicans has caused a 10 to 15 percent drop in the value of Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), although no tax plan has actually been passed. Experts estimate that a drop of this amount would likely result in 10,000 to 15,000 fewer affordable housing units being built.
The success of the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program has inspired legislators to introduce the Investing in Opportunity Act (H.R. 828, S. 293), which would create tax incentives for investments in economically distressed communities (termed Opportunity Zones in the legislation). If passed into law, the program would allow taxpayers to defer gains realized on other investments if a taxpayer agrees to reinvest those gains in areas designated as Opportunity Zones. Governors would be able to nominate up to 25 percent of a states NMTC-qualified areas as Opportunity Zones for targeted private investment through the program.
The President's proposed tax plan is the biggest setback in the flow of money to the development of low-income housing since the Great Recession in 2008. Because the administration, proposes cutting the corporate tax rate by over half, there's been a 10 percent drop in the amount of money invested in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. That's over $1 billion in private investment--enough to fund 8,000 affordable rental units.
Twelve mayors from across the country have signed a letter opposing a $1.3 billion cut to the public housing capital fund, warning that cities would be unable to afford repairs to public housing stock on their own. The statement urges the Trump administration to reconsider the proposed 67 percent cut to the fund, which is used to update plumbing, electrical systems, roofs and more in the nation's public housing.
During a visit to Baltimore, HUD Secretary Ben Carson said he hopes to significantly expand the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, a program that allows cities to sell public housing to private developers in order to fund repairs. Baltimore has already sold 2,670 public units to private investors through the RAD program, in order to chip away at a backlog of repairs. According to Jeff Singer, a housing expert and advocate at the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work, "It would be much cheaper for the federal government to just to appropriate the money."
Ben Carson has appointed Lynne Patton, former Trump Family event planner with no housing experience to HUD Region II, the agency's largest district. Patton's experience in government is limited to six-months as the department's director of public engagement organizing Ben Carson's speaking tour. Patton's promotion comes after HUD had claimed Patton had in fact not been appointed after outrage from politicians in the region.
Lynne Patton, former Trump family party planner has been promoted to the director of HUD District II, the agency's largest district, which includes the New York City Housing Authority. She received the promotion after working for only six months at HUD, arranging Ben Carson's speaking tour, a position many have said she fumbled. In fact, Carson's speaking tour was cancelled partway through.
Trump's budget proposes massive cuts to HUD programs. One of the few programs spared from steep cuts is a project-based rental assistance program that Trump personally profits from. The program directs money to Starrett City, a the nation's largest subsidized housing complex, of which Trump is a landlord with a 4 percent stake, earning him at least $5 million between January of last year and April 15.
After outrage over the appointment of Lynee Patton, a Trump-family event planner with no housing experience, to administator of HUD's Region II office, HUD officials appear to back tracking about the appointment. In a major about face, HUD spokesman Jereon Brown has now said, "The position is vacant. There's been no official announcement."
The city of Great Falls, Montana recently received $893,809 in federal funds for community development and housing projects, but city officials and community development practioners worry that it may be the last time. Great Falls has used CDBG funds to create a revolving loan fund that is administered by the city and Neighborworks Great Falls, the largest nonprofit housing provider. The funds were also used for infrastructure improvements to sidewalks and streets. During that same period, HOME funds have been used to make rental units availbe to low- to moderate-income residents in the city. Unfortunately both these safety nets are slated for elimination in Trump's FY2018 Budget Proposal.
The White House FY2018 Budget Proposal zeros out funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. The CDFI Fund makes grants and loans to CDFIs--financial institutions that go to places where banks and other private financial institutions won't go because it isn't profitable. The over 1,000 CDFIs in the US make loans to small businesses, affordable housing providers, health centers, and grocery stores in some of the most disinvested communities.
The Trump adminstration has appointed Lynne Patton to head up the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Region II, which includes New York and New Jersey--a position which put her in control of the distribution of billions of taxpayer dollars in New York and New Jersey. Patton is a long time Trump loyalist, serving as the family's "event planner" and arranging Eric Trump's wedding. She has no previous experience in housing or community development.
The proposed White House Budget would have a major impact on communities across the nation. For Fort Collins, it would mean the loss of key programs that have helped house homeless people in the city and a center for adult learning that helps people learn English or get their GED. Fort Collins would lose $1 million a year in flexible community development funding if the Community Development Block Grant program is eliminated. It would also lose $500,000 a year of support for low- and moderate-income families if the HOME Investment Partnership program is cut.
Syracuse will receive $5.5 million in HUD funding this year, but many in the city worry that these federal funds will run dry if the President's proposed budget comes to fruition. On the chopping block are two programs important to creating affordable housing and community development in Syracuse: the Community Development Block Grant and the HOME Program. In fact, CDBGs are the single largest source of direct federal aid each year for the city and the elimination of these programs would have drastic impacts for the city's poores residents.
Republican Representative Pat Tiberi (Ohio) and Democratic Representative Richard E. Neal (Massachusetts) defend the New Markets Tax Credit, a program that is proposed for elimination in the President's FY2018 Budget. In FY2016 alone, the NMTC helped finance 530 businesses, facilities, and economic development projects, while helping to create 11,000 permanent jobs and almost 27,000 construction jobs in distressed rural and urban places. Along with Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Sens. Roy Blutn (R-Mo.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the authors have introduced the New Markets Tax Credit Extension Act of 2017 to make NMTC a permanent part of the Tax Code.
In a Senate committee testimony, HUD Secretary Ben Carson defended the slashing of the HUD budget in the administration's FY2018 Budget Proposal. He claimed that Community Development Block Grants, which fund local housing projects across the nation, was not among HUD's "primary goals." He also justified the proposed cuts by telling committee members, "We have to stop the bleeding if we're going to get healing." Confusingly, he also praised the US Interagency Council on Homelesness as "effective," even though the Trump Budget eliminates it entirely.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson lauded the US Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) while speaking before a Senate committee, praising its effectiveness. It is unclear whether or not, Carson knew that the Trump administration budget eliminates the federal homelessness agency altogether. According to researchers, without USICH, 250,000 people may lose housing assistance and 25,000 may become homeless. The budget proposal also envisions major cuts to the HUD funding, cuts that Carson has defended.
Trump's budget proposal dissolves the Rural Business and Cooperative Services. The Service helps create economic opportunity and spur job growth in rural communities, and it administers the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program. The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA's Alan Knapp writes, "While we're dissapointed in the priorities outlined in the budget proposal, NCBA CLUSA is confident that Congress will ultimately recognize the value of cooperative development...Now is the time to throw all of our energy and resources into highlighting, defending and ensuring the continuation of the good work cooperatives and their members do."
In an inteview on SeriousXM Radio, HUD Secretary, Ben Cason said that he believes that poverty is a "state of mind." Carson spoke at length about "personal responsibility," while complaining about what he sees as a systemic dependence on government assistance. He claims that current assistance programs "pat them [the poor] on the head and say 'There, there you poor little thing, we're going to take care of all your needs. You don't have to worry about anything.'" Currently HUD is slated for over $6 billion in budget cuts in fiscal year 2018, including cuts that would end grants for first-time homeownership and the Community Development Block Grant.
The priorities proposed in President Trump's recently released budget proposal add to the incomes of the rich while tearing the social safety net out from underneath America's poor. The tax cuts in the proposal include trillions of dollars in taxes that are paid primarily by the wealthy, such as the estate tax and the marginal rate on ordinary income paid by the richest tax payers. While reducing taxes for the rich, Trump also would lessen spending on Medicaid and food stamps.
The President's just $4.1 trillion budget proposal cuts deeply into programs for the poor, including cuts to health care, food stamps, student loans, and disability payments. Instead the proposal increases spending on the military by 10 percent and includes $1.6 billion to begin work on a wall on the border with Mexico.
Trump's budget proposal is set to be unveiled on Tuesday. Among the expected cuts are major cuts to Medicaid and other assistance programs for low-income Americans, such as the anti-hunger program, SNAP.
According to a budget proposal draft obtained by Politico, the HUD budget proposal includes a $6 billion budget cut to the agency for fiscal year 2018, similar to the cuts proposed in President Trump's "Skinny" Budget. The cuts include eliminating Community Development Block Grant program, Choice Neighborhooods, HOME Investment Partnerships Program, and rental assistance. Trump's budget proposal is expected to be released on Tuesday.
This tool from the National Priorities Project allows you to compare federal spending for programs with what those taxpayer dollars could have paid for instead. For example, the $7.48 billion spent on the Federal Prison System could have paid for 92,536 elementary school teachers for a year or created 74,790 jobs with supports in high poverty communities or provided wind power to 8.42 million households for a year.
Community Development Block Grants, a $3 billion source of flexible funding for community and economic development and afforable housing for low- and moderate-income communities may be safe for the time being. The federal spending agreement that will keep the Federal Government funded until September that's due to be voted on later this week, shows no cuts to CDBGs. However, the fight to keep the program alive will have to continue this summer and fall as negotiations over the full budget resume.
The House and Senate are scheduled to vote on a FY2017 funding deal that includes a $15 million increase for the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund by the end of this week. The funding measure will fund goverment program through September 30th. President Trump has proposed elminating the CDGI Fund in his 2018 Budget Blueprint, so the program is not out of the woods yet.
In communities across the country, worries about the loss of the Community Development Block Grant Program continue to rise. In Washington State, CDBGs have helped fund food banks, affordable housing developments, water infrastructure improvements, fire equiment, and much more. For example, in Marysville, CDBGs have allowed the Marysville Community Food Bank to pack food backpacks that low-income students could take home on Fridays so that they would not go hungry over the weekend. The program runs on a slim $15,000 yearly budget from the CDBG program, but has a big impact in the community. Without CDBG funding 400 students in 22 schools would likely go hungry each weekend.
Trump's tax proposal has historic preservationists and developers worried about revival efforts in Buffalo. The federal historic preservation tax credits have been used to finance 65 major development projects in the city, helping to fund more that $406 million in development in the region. The New Markets Tax Credit has also been used to fund 13 major local projects for more than $182 million in development in the region over the years. With lower corporate tax rates these programs would be less effective and the White House proposed eliminating the New Markets Tax Credit all together in its 2018 budget.
The Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund Program helps attract investment to underserved rural and urban areas. Last year CDFI Fund yielded $2.1 billion in loans and investments that led to the creation of 28,000 jobs. Also proposed for cuts from the US Treasury's budget is the New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) program, which has generated $8 of private investment for every $1 of federal funding. The NMTC program has created or retained nearly 300,000 jobs since 2003. Together the loss of these programs would put an end to two decades of investing and development in distressed and underserved areas.
Across the US, only 21 units are available per 100 extremely low-income renter households without government assistance, according to a new report from the Urban Institute. The affordable housing crisis transcends the urban-rural political divide. The report shows that without federal assistance, rural counties would lose 40 percent of the housing stock that's affordable to extremely low-income households and urban counties would lose 57 percent. Despite promises to help rural America and fix "inner cities," President Trump's budget blueprint proposes cutting the USDA and HUD progrmas assistance programs.
The City of Los Angeles plans to build 10,000 new units of affordable housing to help house its homeless population may be hurt by President Trump's proposal to cut the corporate tax rate by 20 percent. In addition to the bond money the city has allocated to the housing, developers also rely on the Low-Income Tax Credit program to fund the low-income developments. If these tax credits are worth less, investors may pull back from affordable housing plans. Already based on speculation about the corporate tax rate, the value of the credits have fallen by about 15 percent.
Low-income housing tax credits are key to financing affordable housing project in the US. If President Trump's proposal to lower the corporate tax rate by 20 percent goes through, the future of many affordable housing projects is at risk. Already the president's promises have led some investors to reduce their investments in low-income housing developments.
According to a new poll by POLITICO, 88 percent of mayors ay that Trump's proposed budget would be "devastating" or "extremely painful" to their city. Based on his proposed budget, only 7 percent of mayors believe he cares about inner cities as he claims. Mayors are most concerned about cuts to Community Development Block Grants and Housing.
HUD's Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program has been lauded by Secretary Ben Carson, who has stated that he hopes to expand the program, and legislators on both sides of the aisle. The program tries to save neglected public housing units by privatizing them, rather than adequately funding the billions need for backlogged repair. 60,000 public housing units have been converted through the program, but housing advocates are worried because many of the conversions have been nightmares for the tenants, with problems raging from illegal threats of eviction to discrimination against families with children and the disabled.
In Cairo, Illinois, junior high school students are writing letters to HUD Secretary to ask him to do more to fix public housing and help make sure they do not lose their homes. In early April, HUD announced that 185 families living in two public housing complexes would have to relocate, without offering any plan for providing new housing for the displaced. The move will affect 15 percent of Cairo's population. Despite the fact that public housing is already in a terrible state of disreppair, the White House has proposed a 13 percent cut to public housing authorities' budgets. Under such cruel measures, displacement of families like those in Cairo will only accelerate.
Community Development Block Grants provide flexible funding to cities, towns, and states for development efforts. Many of the programs and projects funded by CDBGs don't make headlines despite serving large numbers of low- and moderate- income people. Funding for CDBGS has dropped steadily from $15 billion in 1979 to $3.5 billion in 2015. Trump's budget proposes eliminating the program altogether.
Uncertainty and threatened cuts at the federal level are impacting the ability of local community development projects to move forward.
"The zeroing out in the proposed federal budget of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding could cost Northeast Ohio cities and counties more than $40 million annually. That's federal money they have relied on for more than 40 years for everything from providing meals to senior citizens to storefront renovation and smoothing out potholed roads."
For senior households across the US, HUD Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program means not having to choose between paying rent or obtaining healthcare, food, or medicine. The program has already been relying on reserves to fund the rental assistance for seniors over the past few years. If Congress fails to enact the FY17 HUD appropriations bill, about 17 percent of the Section 202 rental renewals will be unfunded. Additionally the White House's proposal to cut the HUD budget by 13 percent in FY18 would likely also affect the 342,000 senior households in public housing and the 600,00 senior households that receive general rental assistance.
For senior households across the US, HUD Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program means not having to choose between paying rent or obtaining healthcare, food, or medicine. The program has already been relying on reserves to fund the rental assistance for seniors over the past few years. If Congress fails to enact the FY17 HUD appropriations bill, about 17 percent of the Section 202 rental renewals will be unfunded. Additionally the White House's proposal to cut the HUD budget by 13 percent in FY18 would likely also affect the 342,000 senior households in public housing and the 600,00 senior households that receive general rental assistance.
While the massive cuts to funding for community development programs proposed in the White House Budget have gotten a lot of attention, Trump's promises to slash corporate tax rates could have an equally devastating impact for inclusive community development. Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) and New Market Tax Credts (NMTCs) will be less attractive and valuable to investors if corporate tax rates have already been significantly lowered. S-Corp Employee Stock Onwership Plans (ESOPs) would also like see declines in growth, because the primary driver of transitioning to an ESOP for companies has been as a tax savings.
Trump has promised to revive the coal industry by signing a long-promised executive order to undo the Obama-era Clean Power Plan regulations. Despite his promises to help coal miners, his budget calls for the elimination of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), which has inested more than $75.5 million to ease the transition from a coal-dominated economy to greater economic diversification.
While the devastation that will result from Trump's proposed budget cuts to community development, Trump's campaign promises to slash the corporate tax rate have already had major impacts for affordable housing development in Ohio. The promised tax cut has cause a 5 to 15 percent decrease in value for LIHTCs, which means a possible funding gap of $500,000 to $1.5 million for low-income housing projects in the state. The current lower valuations of the credits mean that between five and seven fewer projects will receive funds next year, resulting in 200-500 fewer affordable housing units for Ohio families.
In Philadelphia, city officials have created an action plan in response to Trump's budget proposal to urge city residents to contact elected officials to ask that they fully fund HUD in the coming fiscal year.
In February, Julián Castro, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for the Obama Adminstration shared his view of the important investments HUD makes in both rural and urban communities across America in an interview with David Axelrod. During the interview, Castro noted that HUD's staff has been halved since 1981. In the weeks following the interview, the Trump Administration released a budget blueprint that would cut HUD's funding by over $6 billion, putting further strain on the already under-resourced agency.
Trump's budget blueprint will have a disproportionate effect on the Black community. Massive funding cuts proposed for HUD would be particularly detrimental to the Black community. For example, Atalanta received a $30 million grant through the Choice Neighborhoods program (which would be eliminated in Trump's budget) to cover housing, workforce training, and more, much of which has been directed toward its westside neighborhoods. However the attacks on fair, affordable housing began before Trump's budget plan was released. The proposed Republican bill to nullify HUD's Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule would eliminate a policy to address racial disparities, and even ban the collection of data to understand how and where racial disparities exist.
The Trump administration claims that HUD's Community Development Block Grants (CDGB) program is "not well-targeted to the poorest populations," and that it "has not demonstrated results." Many communities who have used the funds to revitalize neighborhoods, build community spaces, or provide affordable housing would disagree with this assessment. Indianapolis, which has used the approximately $8 million in CDBGs it receives each year to leverage further private and non-profit dollars for its most distressed neighborhoods, is one city that has seen demonstrable results in the poorest areas as a result of federal investments.
The proposed budget cuts to HUD would have a huge impact on Boston's transitional housing programs for recovering addicts seeking permanent housing. Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development aims to end homelessness in the city by 2018, and the number of people housed in emergency shelters for six months or more has been cut in half in the past year. This progress may be undone according to Sheila Dillon, Boston housing chief, who says, "HUD has made it very clear to us...that they were not going to fund transitional housing or transitional programs anymore."
In Arizona, Trump's proposed cuts to HUD's Communtiy Development Block Grants (CDBG) program would put an end to numerous affordable housing programs. The award-winning Apache ASL Trails apartments for deaf seniors in Tempe wouldn't have been built without CDBG Funding. Financial counceling services provided through HUD funding wouldn't have helped tens of thousands of Phoenix homeowners. In Mesa, hundreds of victims of domestic violence and their children would be without the safe shelter provide by the Autumn House. In Glendale, 30 families with disabled family-members wouldn't have been provided affordable housing through the Orchard Glen neighborhood home.
In the state of Illinois, the proposed $6.2 billion in cuts to HUD has affordable housing advocates bracing for massive losses to rental assistance vouchers. Although housing vouchers were not specifically mentioned in the HUD cuts, only $4 billion in specific cut have been suggested, and many believe that vouchers are a likely target. The state stands to lose 8,298 vouchers according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The Chicago area would also lose $141 million in Community Development Block Grants and HOME Investment Partnership program funds.
Several Republican legislators have voiced disapproval of President Trump's Blueprint Budget due to its proposed reductions and eliminations of programs that serve their consituency. Many of agencies and programs slated for major funding cuts benefit poor rural voters, exactly those who supported Trump in the election, the most, including the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the Economic Development Administration (EDA), the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), Community Development Block Grants, and the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Community Services, which administers programs such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
While possible elimination of popular agencies such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts have garnered a lot of public anger, several agencies focused on community development in some of the most poverty-stricken areas are also at risk of being eliminated if Congress approves Trump's proposed budget.
The $6.2 billion in HUD budget cuts proposed by the Trump Administration are the largest cuts in housing aid since the Reagan administration. It's estimated that more than 200,000 families, seniors, and people with disabilities who use the key HUD assistance programs being slashed would be in immediate risk of homelessness. Trump will also make the cuts in USDA rural rental assistance programs made during the Obama administration permanent.
Trump's recently unveiled budget plan would slash or eliminate programs that provide help for the lowest-income Americans. In fact, the budget hurts the working poor in rural and small towns, the core of Trumps supporters, the most, according to some experts. If carried out, the budget would eliminate the Community Development Block Grants, the Interagency Council on Homelessness, the Home Investment Partnership Program, the Community Development Financial Insititutions Fund Grants, and regional development agencies such as the Denali Commission in Alaska. These programs serve some of the most distressed communities of the coutry.
Urban Habitat has released a statement opposing the over $6 billion in cuts proposed for HUD, calling upon people rise up against the administration's inhumane policies "by placing local and regional self-governance on the frontlines of resistance."
Trump's proposed $6.2 billion cut to HUD would dramatically reduce New York's ability to provide public housing to more than 400,000 people. The New York City Housing Authority's (NYCHA) funding is composed of 60 percent HUD federal funding; preliminary estimates are that a $6 billion cut to HUD funding would lead to a devastating $350 million drop in NYCHA's budget for 2018.
Trump's proposal for the discretionary spending budget has been released. From the USDA to the Commerce Department to the HUD, important community development programs and funding sources were hit hard accross the board. The Washington Post details the cuts within each department.
Under Trump's proposed budt the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, a program commonly known as NeighborWorks America, would be completely defunded. NeighborWorks America is a congressionally chartered nonprofit organization that provides support for community development and affordable housing. Just in 2016, the program created or maintained more than 53,000 jobs, helped 21,000 people become homeowners, assisted 360,000 other families find affordable housing, made repairs to more than 55,000 homes, and provided financial education to more than 116,000 individuals. It's estimated that in 2013, NeighborWorks helped 1.6 million homeowners avoid foreclosure, in addition to ranking as the third largest homebulider that year.
In addition to major funding cuts from most federal agencies, 19 independent federal agencies are being cut alltogether. These 19 agencies include 6 agencies related to community development: Interagency Council on Homelessness, Appalachian Regional Comission, Delta Regional Authority, Northern Border Regional Commission, Denali Commission, and the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NeighborWorks America). The Washington Post details the role of each of these organizations.
A potential $6 billion budget cut to HUD is coming at a time when more Americans are in need of affordable housing and funding has already been cut in past years. If HUD's draft budget is implemented, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) estmates that 200,000 housing vouchers, 10,000 senior housing units, and 6,800 units for people with disabilites would be lost. Beyond housing, HUD's programs have a ripple effect through local economies, improving education and health outcomes and creating jobs. A cut to the HUD budget this big would have destructive results extending beyond affordable hosuing.
Despite having pledged under oath to protect HUD programs during confirmation hearings, even going so far as to say "when it comes to entitlement programs, it is cruel and unsual punishment to withdraw those program before you provide an alternative route," Carson has barely reacted to the proposed $6 billion in cuts to HUD.
In Massachusetts, low-income housing is being delayed due to the falling value of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits caused by Trump's campaign promise to lower the corporate tax rate. Community development experts in the state say that projects six to 12 months from construction are most at risk. In addition to the falling value of LIHTCs, the possible budget cuts on the horizion for HUD, including the Community Development Block Grant Program and Federal HIstoric Tax Credit program, have affordable housing advocates and developers worried about a broader threat to affordable housing.
The Right to the City Alliance has released a statement on the proposed $6 billion in budget cuts, comdemning them as "yet another blatant attack on communities of color, immigrants, indigenous communities, differently-abled peoples, women, trans and gender nonconforming people. They are an attack on the fabric of our communities and on millions of low-income and working families who are struggling to find or keep permanent jobs and housing." RTC instead calls for investment in "healthy, safe, and sustainable communties."
HUD may face a $6 billion budget cut next year, and about $4 billion of the cuts are to the departments community development programs. The other $2 billion in cuts mostly come out of public housing programs with assistance for the elderly, veterans, and Native Americans as the worst hit. HUD's federal rental assistance programs help 4.1 million people, including 1.4 million children, afford safe housing each year.
With preliminary budget documents showing a $6 billion dollar cut to HUD, Ben Carson will need to both clarify his position on key HUD programs and take immediate action if he "means to preserve HUD's core functions and hope local officials get the support that they need to do their work." Housing Choice Vouchers, HOME, Community Development Block Grants, and Choice Neighborhoods Initiatives will be totally cut according to the plans. The Office of Native American Programs may also be cut by more than a quarter.
Despite Carson's confirmation hearings, in which he called rental assistance progrmas and public housing "life saving" and promised not to pull the rug out from under people relying on federal programs to obtain affordable housing, the recently released HUD budgets contradict Carson's statements. The preliminary budget cuts of $6 billion would eliminate Community Development Block, the HOME Program, and funding for maintianing public housing. There would also be $300 million cut from rental assistance programs for veterans, $42 million cut from senior housing, $29 million cut from housing for people with disabilities, and $150 cut from Native American housing block grants.
The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 seeks to increase the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit by 50 percent. The bill, similar to one introduced in 2016, would expand the program to allow some students to qualify for LIHTC housing, and facilitate the development of housing for Native Americans, boost developments projects for extremely low-income occupants, and prohibit states from including local approval or local contribution provisions as a requirement for qualification.
11 Senators are co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill that would expand and strengthen the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 would expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit by 50 percent. It is estimated that if passed, the legislation would help create 1.3 million affordable homes in the next 10 years, adding about 400,000 units to the projections under the current program.
Keywords: Article, HUD, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
Housing assistance provided by HUD could see drastic cuts under new fiscal policies being considered by the White House and Congress. A massive corporate tax cut, coupled with increased military spending and a matching decrease in funding to domestic discretionary programs, could mean that some 5 million Americans may lose their housing assistance.
Although Trump has not yet moved to fulfill his campaign trail promise to lower the corporate tax rate, the affordable rental housing has already been hit hard. With investors anticipating a lower tax rate, the value of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which fund about 90 percent of low income housing in the country, have dropped significantly since the election of Trump. Investors are even pulling out of existing projects, leaving developers scrambling to fill the funding gaps.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has officially been confirmed as the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary. Carson has no government experience and had previously said that he was not qualified to run HUD or for government service. Carson’s positions on many key HUD programs remain unclear.
Ben Carson, a former neurosurgeon, has been confirmed to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He has voiced support for some important inclusive housing programs, such as the Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) program. However, many are concerned about Carson’s lack of experience and conservative position.
The New York Times has reported that it has obtained documents that show that the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund “would be all but eliminated” by Trump Administration budget cuts. The $258 million dollar program, which helps banks, credit unions, and loan funds in low income communities with development efforts, costs Americans about $0.79 each. The CDFI Coalition has released a statement opposing the elimination of the CDFI Fund in response to the news.
Trump’s promise to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent continues to have a negative impact on the development of low income housing. The value of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credits dropped significantly around the time of the election, and this led investors around the country to hold off on planned affordable housing projects. Not only will low-income families in need of affordable shelter be affected, it’s likely to also be felt by workers in the construction industry.
Trump’s soon to be released “skinny” budget will likely eliminate the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. The CDFI Coalition, a group of more than one-hundred community development lenders and investors to low-income communities, has expressed concern that the Trump administration hopes to dismantle the Fund, which primarily goes to those communities that Trump claims he hopes to help—struggling inner cities and rural towns. Last year the CDFI Fund financed over 11,000 businesses and helped create 33,000 affordable housing units.
Minnesota affordable housing projects come up short as funding for low-income housing is hurt by Trump’s promises of a significant corporate tax cut.
In California, a state struggling with sky high rents and affordable housing shortages, the uncertainty about the corporate tax rate and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit market, has created distress. The tax credit program is the largest source of funding for affordable housing, and according to the California Housing Partnership, the downturn could mean a drop in funding for low-income housing of $250 million this year.
Both the state of Illinois and the Trump administration are suggesting severe budget cuts. Chicago, a city that has seemingly caught Trump’s attention as an example of his outdated vision of “inner cities,” could be profoundly affected by draconian austerity measures and cuts to social services from both levels.
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.
A massive new investment in infrastructure may be one of the only measures that retains bipartisan support in Washington. With plans circulating and Trump’s campaign promise to deliver $1 trillion in investment, the type of infrastructure that this funding pays for could have enduring impacts—positive or negative—on people and place. A “WPA 2.0” could be one way to “develop new systems of infrastructure that can help ameliorate the impacts of urbanization and climate change” and use federal infrastructure funding to lift up both communities and people.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
GOP plan to abolish the estate tax would result in large tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy, including many of Trump's cabinet picks.
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.
Ben Carson's HUD Secreatry confirmation hearing reveals his inconsistent positions on HUD's key programs.
The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA (NCBA CLUSA) has released a statement opposing the proposed cuts to and elimination of several programs critical to the development and support of the work of cooperatives in Trump's budget plan. The budget proposing cutting the USDA's Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) and regional development agencies.
The House and Senate have released their final tax bill, and it maintains all Private Activity Bonds' tax exemption. This is a victory for development finance since the House bill originally repealed in full the tax exemption for Private Activity Bonds.
Analysis from Ohio shows how Trump's lean budget would impact state budgets and programs. In Ohio, federal funds make up 37 percent of the state's budget (higher than the national average of 31 percent). Many organizations in the state rely on Community Development Block Grants to fund community development at the local level. Communities in the state will lose if the Appalachian Regional Commission, Economic Development Administration, and the Minority Business Development Agency are eliminated.