Bush Proposes Tax Credits for Affordable Housing

July 7, 2008 - 7:25 PM

(CNSNews.com) - Texas Governor George W Bush Tuesday announced his plan to extend tax credits to private investors and residential developers for building "more affordable" housing for lower income families - a plan he said would allow for the construction or rehab of up to an additional 15,000 new homes annually.

During a campaign stop in Battle Creek, Michigan, Bush said his proposal would provide tax credits of up to half of project costs of redeveloping single-family housing or building new homes for low-income homebuyers. It is the latest in a series of proposals Bush has announced recently in efforts aimed at increased housing, education, health care, and savings opportunities for low-income Americans.

Billing his newest proposal as "Renewing the Dream," Bush said he wants to remove governmental barriers in order to allow developers to build or rehabilitate 100,000 homes over a five-year period. Bush estimates that the tax credits to private investors and residential developers would amount to $1.7 billion.

Citing homeownership as a "key to upward mobility for low-income earners," Bush maintains that his proposal will have a "powerful incentive" for developers and investors to increase the supply of "affordable houses."

"With this one step, we can reasonably expect the construction or rehab of an additional ten to 15 thousand new homes every year," Bush said. "In addition, we will provide incentives for states and cities to cut the regulations and red-tape that are a major barrier to rehabilitating homes and neighborhoods."

Campaign officials say part of the plan aims to "identify and remove regulatory barriers to affordable single-family housing."

According to data released by the Bush campaign, there is a shortage of affordable single-family homes on Native American land trusts and in "certain urban and rural communities."

The housing development proposal is based in part on a 1999 Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) report suggesting that 2.2 million low-income families live in housing with "moderate to severe physical problems," many of which are located in inner-city areas.