Ways and Means Approves Katrina Housing Redevelopment Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Further bolstering the House of Representatives’ ongoing efforts to respond to the needs of Hurricane Katrina victims, the House Committee on Ways and Means approved bipartisan legislation today designed to get affordable housing in the Gulf Coast region built quickly.
Under the leadership of Chairman Charles B. Rangel and Ranking Republican Jim McCrery the committee approved by voice vote the “Katrina Housing Tax Relief Act of 2007”, which makes substantial changes to eligibility requirements for low-income housing tax credits and tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds.
“This bill is a small but very important step toward helping the people of the Gulf Coast literally rebuild their lives,” Rangel (D-NY) said today. “From the beginning, Washington handled the crisis of Katrina poorly and only exacerbated the suffering. Today we are doing our part to make things right and that begins with helping people get back into their homes.”
The legislation approved today strengthens existing tax incentives to builders of affordable rental housing by extending the current deadline within which those units must be inhabited by an extra two years through 2010. The bill makes it easier for a greater number of homeowners to benefit from tax-exempt bonds issued by local governments for substantial renovations and to refinance existing residential mortgage loans.
Additionally, an amendment was passed requiring the Government Accountability Office to issue a report examining how the tax incentives are being utilized within one year of the bill’s enactment.
This bill is paid for by modifying a tax enforcement provision, as proposed in President George W. Bush’s FY’08 budget proposal and passed by the Senate in its Small Business and Work Opportunity Act of 2007.