Critical Low-Income Housing Tax Credits Fix to be Permanently Extended Under Cantwell Plan

Senator hails just-passed legislation as a “win-win” for Washington affordable housing and jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) applauded today the inclusion of her permanent credit rate floor for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit in the final tax extenders package. The critical fix to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit—a program that has financed 90 percent of affordable housing projects in the United States and more than 50,000 affordable housing units in Washington state—will be permanently renewed.

Under the program, the U.S. Treasury Department issues tax credits to states in order to help attract private investment in affordable housing projects. The Improving the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Rate Act will permanently extend the credit rates to 9 percent of eligible costs on new construction—ending an era where variable rates made financing of affordable housing less predictable.

“This is a win-win for affordable housing and good paying Washington jobs,” Cantwell said.  “With growing homelessness in Washington state and across the country, we need more affordable housing in our communities. With funding certainty, communities in our state and across the country can better meet the need for affordable housing—making measureable improvements in the lives of low-income families and encouraging private investments that support small businesses and good-paying jobs.”

Between 1987 and 2014, the program supported 642 affordable housing projects throughout Washington state, providing more than 32,875 units of affordable housing. In 2014 alone, roughly $158 million in tax credits were allocated to 17 affordable housing projects throughout Washington, which resulted in 948 affordable housing units. According to National Association of Homebuilders, these units supported local 1,399 jobs, $73.2 million in local income and $6.9 million in taxes and other local government revenues.

The program has created more than 2.4 million affordable apartments nationwide for the elderly, disabled, and homeless.