The affordable housing industry narrowly missed getting a permanent 4% low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) rate.

It is an especially frustrating loss because the permanent 4% rate was included in the plan late in the negotiations. However, just when it appeared that everyone was on board with the tax package and the long-desired change to the LIHTC program was heading to the finish line, it was abruptly pulled from the proposal.

At the last minute, objections were raised about the overall size of the package, and it was also pointed out that the 4% credit fix is not an extender like many of the other provisions in the plan, which resulted in it being cut, according to industry insiders.

“When you look at this tax bill that was passed and you look at the affordable housing crisis in this country, it is a shame that they did not include anything for housing production,” says David Gasson, executive director of the Housing Advisory Group and vice president of Boston Capital. “It’s sad that they could do not do a simple piece of legislation that would have helped address housing production at a time when we’re so desperate everywhere to produce affordable housing.”

Having a minimum 4% rate would help provide predictability to the marketplace and increase production by making more developments financially feasible, according to supporters.

After coming so close, it’s frustrating for the advocates and legislators pushing for the 4% fixed rate and other changes to the LIHTC.

“At the end of the day, we lost by a field goal,” says Bob Moss, principal and national director of governmental affairs at CohnReznick. “Everybody deserves a lot of credit. We played a good game.”

The next step will be to meet with Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and other lead sponsors of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) to discuss strategy going forward. “We’ll figure out where we need to patch holes and build support,” Gasson says. “We need to drive up the numbers in the House, and we need to work on getting more Senate champions although that was not the reason we didn’t get it.”

It will mean getting more mayors and governors involved and working in all parts of the country to emphasize the magnitude and impact of the affordable housing crisis, he says.

“We would not have gotten where we were without Sen. Cantwell. This industry cannot dream up a better champion than Maria Cantwell. She was tenacious. She was relentless,” says Gasson, adding that Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Todd Young (R-Ind.), and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) were also key in their support.

He also emphasizes the work of the affordable housing industry. “The industry did an amazing job,” Gasson says. “We really came together to get as far as we did.”

Moss adds that 2020 will be a year for the affordable housing industry to focus on educating congressional members, especially those who are not cosponsors of the AHCIA, and getting them to grand openings and to visit properties.

Separate from the AHCIA provisions, the tax bill does include increased LIHTC authority in California for developments in qualified presidentially declared disaster areas for wildfires in 2017 and 2018, up to an amount equal to 50% of the state’s LIHTC authority from those years. The bill also extends and provides $5 billion to the New Markets Tax Credit until the end of 2020.