The White House budget proposal seeks a major increase to the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program.
The fiscal 2024 plan calls for a $28 billion expansion in LIHTCs over 10 years as well as lowering the 50% bond test to 25%.
Under the Biden administration proposal, each state would receive $4.25 per capita in new potential credits for allocation, with a small state minimum of $4,901,620 in 2024. For 2025, the amounts would increase to $4.88 and $5,632,880. For 2026 and subsequent years, the amounts would be the same as the prior year and indexed for inflation.
The latest budget plan also calls for lowering the bond test, a move that’s been a priority for many LIHTC advocates. Under the budget plan, a building would be eligible to earn LIHTCs on the basis of 25% private-activity bond financing of the building and land. This change from 50% would apply to buildings placed in service in taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2023.
In addition, President Joe Biden is proposing to repeal the qualified contract provision from the date of enactment. It also seeks to repeal the “right of first refusal” safe harbor and replace it with a purchase option, saying “LIHTC investors have imposed hurdles to the use of ROFRs that allow LIHTC projects to be too easily converted to market-rate housing.”
The overall $6.8 trillion budget request includes $73.3 billion in discretionary budget authority for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a $1.1 billion increase from the 2023 enacted level.
“This budget takes an end-to-end approach in a very complex housing ecosystem, from homelessness to homeownership, from economic development to disaster recovery,” said Adrianne Todman, HUD deputy secretary. “It relies on all of our partnerships across the country to help the people.”
Denise Muha, executive director of the National Leased Housing Association (NLHA), expressed strong support for the budget plan, noting “the administration has recognized the significant housing challenges facing low- and middle-income families and developed a comprehensive proposal that hits all of the high notes. NLHA is particularly excited about efforts to expand access to rental assistance through increasing the supply of housing vouchers and, for the first time in decades, adding to the stock of project-based rental assistance.”
While observers say the budget has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled House, the proposal does offer a look at some the administration’s priorities and a framework for discussions.
Other highlights of the fiscal 2024 budget proposal include:
- New Markets Tax Credit: The administration seeks to extend this credit permanently, with a new allocation for each year after 2025. The annual amount would be $5 billion, indexed for inflation after 2026;
- Neighborhood Homes Credit: The White House supports the creation of a Neighborhood Homes Credit to encourage new construction for sale, substantial rehabilitation for sale, and substantial rehabilitation by existing homeowners who will remain in their communities. Eligible neighborhoods must meet certain criteria;
- Increase Access to Homeownership: The budget calls for the creation of a first-generation down-payment assistance program to first-generation and/or low- and moderate- income first-time homebuyers while piloting programmatic flexibilities and innovations in subsidy delivery;
- Housing Choice Vouchers: The plan provides $32.7 billion to the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, an increase of $2.4 billion over the 2023 enacted level, to maintain service for all currently assisted families and to expand assistance to an additional 50,000 households. The budget further expands assistance to another 130,000 households with funding from HCV program reserves;
- HOME: The budget provides $1.8 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships program (HOME), an increase of $300 million over the 2023 enacted level, to construct and rehabilitate affordable rental housing and provide homeownership opportunities. In addition, it provides $258 million to support 2,200 units of affordable housing specifically for the elderly and persons with disabilities, supporting the administration’s priority to maximize independent living for people with disabilities;
- Community Development Block Grants: HUD said the budget provides $3.4 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program to help communities modernize infrastructure, invest in economic development, create parks and other public amenities, and provide social services. It includes $85 million within this total for a competitive program to reward state, local, and regional jurisdictions that make progress in removing barriers to affordable housing developments; and
- Homeless Assistance Grants: The budget seeks $3.7 billion, an increase of $116 million over the 2023 enacted level, for Homeless Assistance Grants to meet renewal needs and expand assistance to approximately 25,000 additional households, including survivors of domestic violence and homeless youths.