Low-income housing is an important issue. We have a housing crisis not only locally, but nationally.
“Hearing examiner gives nod to low-income housing,” Whidbey News-Times, July 5.
According to Harvard researchers, rents in the U.S. have gone up by 61 percent since 1960, but renters’ median earnings have only increased by 5 percent.
Right now in Washington state, there are only 29 rental homes affordable and available for every 100 extremely low-income renter households.
There are few housing provisions in the U.S. tax code that benefit low-income renters. The mortgage-interest deduction helps homeowners but most of the benefits go to wealthier, white households.
A renters’ tax credit would help level the playing field.
There are several proposals in Congress to help rectify the situation, and the proposals are similar:
A tax credit would serve as a cap on the amount of rent and utilities a low-income household would pay — around 30 percent of their income.
And the legislation would provide a tax credit for the balance above that to local fair market value.
We can urge U.S. senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and our representative to support enacting a renters’ tax credit in any new tax legislation.