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Grassroots Action Alert: Make Sure Senators Retain the LIHTC in Tax Reform Legislation

The Affordable Rental Housing A.C.T.I.O.N. (A Call To Invest in Our Neighborhoods) is a grassroots campaign led by a broad, cross-industry coalition of over 450 national, state, and local organizations, including NAHMA. We have received the following alert from the ACTION campaign. NAHMA urges members to contact their U.S. Senators and ask them to ensure the LIHTC is retained in any tax reform legislation.

On June 27, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) distributed a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter to all Senators outlining a ‘blank slate’ approach to tax reform and asking members to weigh in on which provisions should be retained or added. In the interest of a ‘simpler, more efficient and fairer tax code,’ the approach would start by eliminating all ‘special provisions in the form of exclusions, deductions and credits and other preferences’ unless they have sufficient support from Senators.

This “blank slate” framework means that the Senate Finance Committee will approach tax reform with the Housing Credit eliminated from the tax code, and it will only be added back in if enough Senators make a compelling case for it.

Only tax provisions that are proven to help grow the economy, make the tax code fairer or effectively promote other important policy objectives will be added back into the tax code, with special preference for those with bipartisan support. Members are asked to submit legislative language or detailed proposals for which tax provisions should be included by July 26.

In order for the Housing Credit to remain in the tax code, Senators Baucus and Hatch will need to hear from their colleagues in the Senate about the importance of protecting the Housing Credit in the Senate’s draft tax reform bill by July 26. They are soliciting feedback from all members of the Senate – not just the members of the Senate Finance Committee who have previously been the most involved in shaping tax reform legislation – so outreach in every state is needed.

We urge you to make sure your Senator hears from you before July 26 with the following key messages:

1.       The Housing Credit should be retained in the code, and

2.       Our minimum Housing Credit rate proposals should be included.

There are many ways to reach out to your Senator:

· Hold a meeting with your Senator in his or her district office or in Washington, D.C., using these talking points, Housing Credit presentation, state fact sheets and other materials from our Advocacy Toolkit. Our ACTION National Consensus Proposal has nearly 500 signatories, representing all 50 states – use this to show your Senator which organizations from his or her home state have signed on.

· Invite your Senator to tour a Housing Credit property. Members of Congress who have visited Housing Credit properties firsthand are the strongest supporters of the program. The Senate is in recess from July 1 – 5. At this time, most Senators will be returning to their home states and may have greater availability to visit properties. However, you can also arrange for a tour on a Monday morning or Friday evening when the Senate is session.  For details and guidance on how to arrange an event like a ground breaking or ribbon cutting, you can use our Housing Credit Property Event Guidelines and the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition’s complete Grand Opening Guide.

· Write a letter to your Senator. Find out how to contact them here, and feel free to use our sample letters to Congress on the Housing Credit (Word versionand PDF version).

· Call your Senator’s office by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Join the campaign, or reconfirm your support if you did not get a chance to do so this year. If you are already a campaign supporter, please reach out to your partner organizations and encourage them to join the campaign as well!

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