On March 4, 2014, DC Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5), along with Chairman Phil Mendelson (D-Chair) and Councilmembers Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and David Catania (I-At-Large) introduced new legislation that would establish a 9% District of Columbia Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (DC LIHTC). The “Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Act of 2014? (the “Bill”) would enable developers to obtain a subsidy for the production of housing with restricted rents modeled on the federal LIHTC rules and regulations, but with the distinction that any portion of the tax credits may be “transferred, sold or assigned.”
“The intent behind the bill is to give the private market an incentive to invest in affordable rental housing,” in the District stated McDuffie in a press release. McDuffie also highlighted the dramatic decrease in affordable rental housing units in the District since the year 2000 and rapidly increasing rents. McDuffie referenced a report delivered by the housing task force convened by Mayor Gray in February 2012 to make recommendations for preserving and creating affordable housing in the District. The report, “Bridges to Opportunity: A New Housing Strategy for DC,” released in March 2013, included a recommendation that the Mayor investigate the potential for a DC LIHTC within 12 months.
The Bill is co-sponsored by Councilmembers Alexander, Bonds, Bowser, Cheh, Graham, Grosso, Orange, and Wells—a group that, along with Catania and Evans, includes many of the sizeable pool of current Mayoral candidates. Given the emphasis on affordable housing among the Council, Mayor and Mayoral hopefuls, there may be substantial governmental support for DC to join the 14 other states offering state housing tax credits. These state LIHTC programs vary widely in design and administration, and the Bill does not include a strong indication of the specific structure of the potential DC-LIHTC. The program would be administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).
The Bill has been referred to the Committee on Finance and Revenue for consideration.