Industry Colleagues Working Together
First organized in 1993, the Housing Advisory Group (HAG) is dedicated to protecting and improving affordable housing programs. The HAG joined industry colleagues in working with President Reagan, congressional leaders and a number of congressional supporters of affordable housing to create the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program within the Tax Reform Act of 1986.
The significance of the HAG was again realized during the 1995-96 budget negotiations, which threatened the survival of the LIHTC. Through its efforts, the HAG created a strong foundation of support within Congress, defeating attempts to sunset the program. These efforts led to an eventual increase in the credit cap from $1.25 to $1.75 and subsequent indexing of the LIHTC for inflation.
For the past 25 years, the HAG has worked in a non-partisan fashion to educate Administrations and Members of Congress on the benefits of the LIHTC. Widely viewed and accepted by policy makers as the most successful affordable housing production program created in partnership with the private sector, the LIHTC enjoys broad bi-partisan support.
In 2015, we joined with our industry colleagues and successfully worked with Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committee members to secure the permanent fixed rate 9% LIHTC in the PATH Act. We also increased the level of support for the LIHTC with the House Republican leadership, within the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees and among Members of Congress in general.
In 2017, Congress introduced the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. After much negotiation between the House and Senate conference committees, President Trump signed the tax reform bill into law on December 22. It will take some time to sort out the full impact of tax reform on affordable housing — particularly with regard to the lower corporate tax rate and the effect of the base erosion tax. However, during this time, HAG members heeded our call to advocate on behalf of the LIHTC, private activity bonds (PABs) and affordable housing in general and we successfully beat back efforts that could have been devastating to affordable housing production and set us back in our efforts to expand the LIHTC program.
Looking ahead, the HAG and the affordable housing industry will continue to press for passage of The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, introduced in the Senate by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and the House by Congressmen Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Richard Neal (D-MA). This proposal and other issues that may arise from the tax reform effort will be our top priorities as we continue to protect and expand affordable housing production.