As former Vice President Joe Biden awaits the 2020 presidential election to be finalized, there is a strong possibility that a divided government will continue in 2021. Your advocacy is needed to ensure that enhancements to the HTC remain top of mind for decision-makers.
The races of two incumbent Georgia senators in January will determine if Republicans remain in control of the Senate by a slim margin. Similarly, the Democrats’ majority in the House has shrunk. House leadership will be challenged to find opportunities for cooperation with the Senate while at the same time resolving differences among House Democrats.
While it is likely that tax legislation will move forward in the new Congress in 2021, it is also possible that tax matters could be considered even sooner.
HTC Advocacy Needed
The HTC is still in the best position that it has ever been, with recognized value and a desire to improve the credit seen on both sides of the aisle. Now is the time to renew the drumbeat of advocating to enhance the HTC.
As Congress reconvenes for a “Lame Duck” session, advocates should reach out to all of their members of Congress to continue voicing support for a temporary pandemic-related HTC provision and permanent enhancement provisions passed in the House infrastructure bill-H.R. 2. Even if there is limited legislation considered in a “Lame Duck” session, your advocacy will propel these ideas forward for inclusion in future must-pass bills or economic recovery legislation when the new Congress convenes in January of 2021.
In particular, please share the challenges your projects are currently facing and the barriers you face to starting new developments.
To Contact Your Members of Congress:
Message to Members of Congress:
- Feel free to use the HTC message template, or craft your own unique message using the following talking points.
- Ask to Congress: “The House infrastructure bill H.R. 2 included a temporary increase for the Historic Tax Credit from 20% to 30% to address pandemic related challenges and included permanent provisions first introduced in the Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act (HTC-GO), H.R. 2825/S. 2615. Please include this temporary provision in emerging COVID-19 relief legislation and support these permanent provisions in an infrastructure bill or as tax-related legislation is considered. I have included the Historic Tax Credit Coalition’s fact sheet that outlines emerging legislation and background information for the HTC.”
- Describe obstacles that local HTC projects have faced during the pandemic, such as delays, extra costs incurred onsite, and project financing difficulties.
- Describe how projects would benefit from a temporary provision that increases the HTC from 20% to 30% (like leveraging more investor equity etc.).
- Explain how the permanent HTC provisions in the House-passed infrastructure bill would help projects and contribute to the economic recovery.
- Share the HTC Fact Sheet and Related Legislation with Congressional Offices.
During the current “Lame Duck” session of Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to lead the Republicans in negotiations with the House on a COVID-19 relief bill. With a smaller House majority and moderate Democrats already concerned about 2022, there may be new pressure on the House Speaker to break with liberal House Democrats and further compromise with House and Senate Republicans.
HTC projects are still facing profound challenges in financial markets resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic impact, including lower risk tolerance of banking institutions, decreased access to debt and equity capital, increased construction costs, new local health requirements, and supply chain delays.
HTC advocates believe that a COVID-19 relief bill must be large enough and contain a robust tax title for there to be an opportunity to include HTC provisions. This July, through the hard work of HTC advocates, the House passed an infrastructure bill (H.R. 2) which included a temporary COVID-19 related provision and permanent HTC provisions, similar to ones included in the Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act (HTC-GO S. 2615/H.R. 2825).
Presently, it is unclear how far Senate Republicans will go beyond their previously proposed $500 billion version of the bill to secure a deal with Democrats. The House passed a $3 trillion bill in May, and Speaker Pelosi offered a trimmed down ($2 trillion) version this fall. Democrats have rejected the Senate’s smaller, more focused approach. Even if a smaller version of the COVID-19 relief bill is passed, with COVID-19 cases on the rise again, there will likely be additional pressure to pass yet another large relief bill in the near future.
In addition to many legislators wanting to pass COVID-19 relief, there is also must-pass legislation that Congress will need to address, including the FY2021 spending bill and expiring tax provisions called “tax extenders.” Congress will also need to reauthorize and fund the federal transportation bill. Many Members of Congress would like to include infrastructure provisions within the transportation bill.
The pressure of a large or multiple COVID-19 relief bills next year, along with consideration of other must-pass legislation in the first and second quarter of 2021, provides multiple opportunities for Congress to include some or all of the previously passed HTC provisions in H.R. 2.