The grand opening Wednesday of Archer Park, an affordable housing complex of 190 units in a long-troubled neighborhood of Southeast Washington, had the trappings of similar ceremonies in the past.
But along with oversized ribbon-cutting scissors and celebratory speeches, the gathering had something less typical: An undertone of alarm over looming changes to the federal tax code that D.C. officials say would make developments like Archer Park impossible.
uggs australia http://www.abaelectrical.com/ The development’s solar-paneled roof and immaculate workout room have replaced what was once a set of squat brick buildings that hosted an open-air drug market — but only with help from a system of tax-exempt financing that would be eliminated in House Republicans’ proposed tax overhaul.
The funding mechanism, known as private activity bonds, is one of several common tools of municipal finance that would be repealed under the House tax plan, which is expected to come to a vote this week. The Senate plan, by contrast, would preserve most of those tools.
Like much of the machinery of government, the provisions in question are esoteric and scarcely noticed when working as intended. But threats to eliminate them have stirred a backlash among local officials, who say they’re needed to fund housing and infrastructure projects that would not otherwise be commercially viable.
The debate stretches far beyond the Beltway and, unlike the parallel discussion over whether to preserve the federal deduction for state and local taxes, is largely absent of a partisan tint.
Instead, city,cheap real uggs county and state officials say the funding tools — which also include tax credits for revamping historic buildings and the New Markets Tax Credit, which lures developers to poor neighborhoods — are equally important in urban, rural, red and blue parts of the country.
[Tax ‘cuts’ would be increases for middle-class D.C. families, officials say]
“This is not a political issue,” said Richard C. David, the Republican mayor of Binghamton, N.Y. He said he worries in particular about the loss of the Historic Tax Credit, which he said is vital for transforming aging buildings downtown in his city of 46,000.
Among the current projects that rely on such tax credits, he said, is the redevelopment of a public library into a culinary arts center by SUNY Broome Community College.
“I could give you a dozen buildings in downtown Binghamton that I think are going to be stagnant without the Historic Tax Credit,” David said. The proposed elimination of those and other tax credits “shows a disconnect” in Congressional leaders’ understanding of local government needs, he said.
That sentiment was echoed by Matthew Chase, executive director of the National Association of Counties, who said many of the local officials he represents have been baffled and upset by proposals in the House plan to remove the private activity bonds and assorted tax credits for government-backed development.
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