In a previous blog post here at Texas Housers, we presented an analysis showing that the letters written by Texas State Representatives and Senators in 2011 regarding the development of Low Income Housing Tax Credit Housing in the state had the effect of steering this housing to lower income, higher poverty areas of the state.
Representative Anchia has filed HB 199, a bill which addresses this issue by removing legislative letters from the statutory scoring system used by TDHCA to award Low Income Housing Tax Credits. This change was recommended by the Texas Sunset Commission in its November 2012 report on TDHCA. (Representative Anchia sits on the Sunset Commission.)
The 2012 Sunset report found “the law governing the tax credit awards process was the only state law that required state representatives and senators to provide letters in support of, or opposition to, development projects of this nature. The Commission concluded that given the size of many electoral districts and the short application timeframe, elected officials were often not in a position to meaningfully evaluate a proposed development or obtain community input sufficient to draft the required letters. Given the point value associated with these letters, if officials opt not to provide letters, projects, especially in the most competitive areas, will almost certainly not be funded.”
Previous Houser Coverage of Legislative Letters for Housing Tax Credits: