Public Comments for 02/17/2021 Appropriations - Commerce, Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee
SB1197 - Virginia housing opportunity; tax credit established.
The Arlington Chamber of Commerce supports SB 1197, a bill to create a Virginia Housing Opportunity Tax Credit. Addressing our housing affordability challenges will require a multi-faceted approach. The Chamber supports both efforts to increase the supply of housing and efforts to ensure access to safe and affordable housing options for our most vulnerable Virginians. The Virginia Housing Opportunity Tax Credit will supplement the Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to attract more private investment into affordable homebuilding in the Commonwealth. We expect that this credit will be a strong investment in our Commonwealth through its investment in housing. We thus encourage the committee to report the bill.
VCN and our 150+ partner organizations are in favor.
The Virginia First Cities Coalition and the City of Richmond requests and supports General Assembly actions to provide local governments with all possible tools to deal with the impacts of a market that, on the one hand, is vibrant, and on the other is driving home prices upward to the point of being unaffordable for a vast majority of residents. Our Virginia First Cities need to increase the supply of affordable housing. The Commonwealth can encourage this by providing local governments additional sources for financing and encouraging all possible resources to leverage federal dollars to the benefit of affordable workforce and senior housing. Any and all tools to encourage private developers and non-profits to develop, construct and/or rehabilitate housing that is affordable should be incentivized by the state. This includes specific support for the enactment of a state tax credit program that will work in tandem with the federal Low Income Tax Credit (LITC) program and is specifically for affordable housing.
ChamberRVA fully supports this bill. A state tax credit would provide a critical component for financing low-income housing projects, which are so badly needed in our region and throughout the state.
Chairwoman Watts and Members of the Committee, the VBA strongly supports Senator Locke's SB 1197. The creation of a Virginia state level affordable housing tax credit compliments and builds on the existing successful federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. This program will enable another crucial tool, along with existing programs such as the Housing Trust Fund, historic rehabilitation tax credit and other public and private sector efforts. The federal LIHTC program has incentivized the development and creation of affordable housing stock in Virginia, but the need remains acute for further development. Banks are committed partners in addressing this gap, working with borrowers to incorporate the tax credits into their financing as well as direct and syndicated beneficiaries of the credits as investments. We appreciate the inclusion of the bank franchise tax in this proposal. Mirroring the LIHTC program to the greatest extent possible is critical to ensuring ease of use and clarity and consistency in assembling the best financing plan for these projects. Virginia Housing is well positioned to administer the program and allocate the credits to meet the key needs of the Commonwealth. For those reasons, we support the bill as another important component of addressing the considerable and urgent need for affordable housing in Virginia. We were disappointed Delegate Bourne's HB 2050 did not advance and encourage you reconsider embracing this proposal this session.
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