The Missouri legislature has voted to not reinstate the credits. This means that affordable housing deals in Missouri will be more difficult to do. This is a classic case of killing the goose who lay the golden eggs. The greed of developers and their assorted hangers on caused this to happen. The people being harmed are poor people.
The governance of MHDC the funding agency must be changed to reform the system. Having high level elected officials on the board simply creates a climate of graft. What also is necessary should be a straight forward funding criteria which awards projects on the basis of merit, not who you know. In any case the existing system is rotten and needs to be changed. Written by Paul Dribin
The new tax law certainly is controversial and I am certainly not qualified to offer a detailed analysis. One area that I am knowledgeable about are Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). This is the main program for developing affordable housing in the United States.
The new tax law would have a detrimental effect on LIHTC which relies on selling tax credits to corporate entities and using the proceeds of those sales as equity for the construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing. Since the new law significantly lowers corporate taxes, it will also lower what corporations are willing to pay for tax credits, thereby making affordable housing more difficult to complete. Missouri suffers a double whammy with the elimination of the State of Missouri Affordable Housing Tax Credit by Governor Greitens and the MHDC board. This with the addition of potential cuts in the Missouri Historic Tax Credits will have dire effects on the City of St. Louis. Written by Paul Dribin
The MHDC board met Friday and voted to eliminate the state credits. This will result in a significant loss of affordable housing in Missouri which is a tragedy. Reforms needed to be made in the program, but I don’t think Greitens is really interested in reform, simply grandstanding. Nevertheless, a big part of the reason the program was eliminated was the greed of the industry supported by the credits. MHDC never had an open application process with clear standards for judging and eliminating applications. The board made of high level political appointees was subject to legal and illegal graft. The program was run as a political fiefdom and returned far too little of the funds to actual low income recipients.
Still the program should not have been eliminated unless something better was around with which to replace it. As always low income people are the ones who suffer the most. Written by Paul Dribin
Tony Messinger wrote a very powerful article today about the abuse of this tax credit program in Missouri. I have mixed emotions in response to his article. He is spot on that the program is inefficient and helps developers, lawyers, accountants, syndicator, bankers, and consultants get rich. Too little of the dollars generated by the program actually go to hard units of housing. I have been to many housing conferences in recent years where the subject could be soybeans, or pork futures. The participants do not care about poor people and affordable housing. I had unsuccessfully tried to get their interest in the work of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, but the group’s only concern had been tax credits.
On the other hand, the tax credit program is the only one there is for construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing. The program needs to be reformed, not eliminated. We also need to develop other tools for building affordable housing. Written by Paul Dribin
The post had a good article yesterday about the issues surrounding state tax credits. Nothing new was really covered. The credits are too expensive but they are the only tool for doing affordable housing. The article correctly demonstrated that investors will not participate in programs with high levels of uncertainty. It also shows that development in St. Louis is very difficult and requires government supports.