Sunday, May 12, 2019

Bill Crawford: Senior Needs for Affordable Housing Grows

So, my conservative friends, what is the ideological difference between a tax subsidy for the wealthy and a financial subsidy for the poor?

We hear concerns from some conservatives about corporate welfare where the tax code benefits select corporate interests, but not so much about tax code welfare for the wealthy.

My question arises from a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Admittedly the Center is a left-leaning think tank, but its work is cited by Bank of America in ads touting the bank's activities to finance affordable housing.

"The federal government spends nearly $200 billion per year on housing assistance programs, but the vast majority of it is allocated, via tax deductions, to households earning more than $100,000 per year," reads the ad in A footnote points to the Center's article entitled "Chart Book: Federal Housing Spending Is Poorly Matched to Need."

The article counted as subsidies mortgage interest and property tax deductions, capital gains exclusions, Low Income Housing Tax Credits and other rental assistance programs such as Housing Choice Vouchers, Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance, and public housing. Based on 2015 data, it said 60% of these subsidies went to higher income households, "even though lower-income families are far more likely to struggle to afford housing."

While tax subsidies for higher income households are somewhat restrained under the new tax laws, overall these subsidies are not capped. Rental subsidies, however, for lower income households are capped. Consequently, only about one in four low-income households eligible for assistance gets it while waiting lists grow across the country.

Demographic trends predict growing imbalance. Over a 10-year period, renter households grew by nearly 9 million, while homeowner households remained flat.

So, does all this have anything to do with Mississippi?


The latest data show over 62,000 low-income Mississippi households get federal rental subsidies. That breaks out to 25,200 with Housing Choice Vouchers, 16,600 with Section 8 project-based assistance, 9,800 in public housing, 8,800 with USDA assistance, and 1,300 with elderly and disabled assistance.

The data further show pent-up demand for such assistance with an additional 96,000 low income renter households paying over 50% of income for housing.

That demand will surge as Mississippi's elderly population surges (see last week's column), especially from seniors on fixed retirement incomes.

While most of the financing for rental assistance is federal, there are policy options at the state level. For example, the Mississippi Home Corporation (MHC) controls the point system used to score applications for Low Income Housing Tax Credits.

While providing extra points for elderly developments in the past, the point system currently is not favorable to senior-only developments. Extra points generally go to projects serving larger families. However, the growth trend for our elderly population indicates more senior-only projects are needed.

Ironically, the MHC Facebook page touts the opening of Preservation Crossing, a seniors-only housing development in Hattiesburg it helped finance. The project revamped the historic Hattiesburg High School into 74 units for seniors ages 55 and older who earn between 30 and 60 percent of the area median income. (In this case, the project's historic preservation feature boosted its points.)

So, where do Mississippi conservatives stand regarding tax subsidies for the wealthy and financial subsidies for the poor? For one, both, or neither? More and more seniors want to know.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.


Anonymous said...

Is he asking a rhetorical question? What's the point? We already know where Mississippi conservatives stand and where they have stood for decades. There is no free lunch, unless you don't need it.

Anonymous said...

9:36 nails it.....if you don't need it AND you are connected to the machine.

From The Perspective of Reality.. said...

Tax cuts for 'the wealthy' (as you call them), including new or expanding industry, are based on the proven logic that both (new and expanding industry) will invest in the community in amounts that outpace whatever 'tax cut' they get. And it works, as intended, in 95% of the cases. But you and your liberal friends already knew that.

Gifts to the 'poor' (as you think of them) are based on nothing more than gifts, handouts, what we have come to know as 'entitlements'. And too many of those receiving the gifts have come to view them as reparations, and the result is that they demand more.

Additionally, 'tax cuts' for 'the wealthy', are also based on the proven reality that those folks will continue to invest in their communities and tax breaks are just one way to offer an incentive and means of doing so.

When we constantly take pitchforks and heap gifts up onto the slothful (riders in the wagon), those who offer no investment or anything else to their community, we do so at the extreme peril of making socialism become more and more acceptable, and expected.

Every program designed by or advocated by the leftist liberals has, as a premise, increased gifting and entitlement. Do we really even need to discuss what this does to encourage more and more of the same behaviors by the giftee and the gifter?

Anonymous said...

11:21 As John Wayne once said,"The government never GAVE anybody anything".
The "poor" do not have lobbyists and cannot leverage their individual economic clout like wealthy people but their demands are felt, and if they are completely ignored they can raise holy hell. They have huge numbers and their ranks are growing. Give them the back of your hand and you may get your hand bitten off. No matter how rich you may be. It's not based on charity but common sense and history. It's more intelligent to share the wealth (without giving it away) and maintain your economy than to piss on the less fortunate and fall into the trashcan of history.

Anonymous said...

The poor pay no net tax. They are net takers.

The tax breaks for the wealthy are incentives to invest in things for the poor that would not be feasible to do otherwise.

To use the wagon analogy depicted above.

Giving to the poor is adding riders on the horse drawn wagon.

Giving to the wealthy is feeding the horse and driver.

Anonymous said...

There is a very nice senior apartment complex on the Coast. I have no problem with low-cost senior housing as long as it is not abused. Worthless family members can't be allowed to shack up and the younger disabled (many who aren't really disabled) can't be allowed either.

Anonymous said...

Just try faking Disability. With the Social Security means testing you aren't getting far. Just about everyone is denied, it is only through the appeals process that folks are awarded benefits if they are eligible. 75% of appeals are denied.

Anonymous said...


Not sure MS test with the same scruples as SSI.

Anonymous said...

To get a tax break you first have to pay taxes. Free stuff to poor and others is nothing but a way to buy votes.

Anonymous said...

Doesnt Crawford own Section 8 housing?

Anonymous said...

11:21 and 2:02 Feeding the poor and giving them "fee stuff" may do nothing but increase their ranks, but those ranks sure do come in handy when somebody's got to fight and die to protect the "rich folks' stuff".
Have you ever read about the history of WAR?

Anonymous said...

"Just try faking Disability. With the Social Security means testing you aren't getting far. Just about everyone is denied, it is only through the appeals process that folks are awarded benefits if they are eligible. 75% of appeals are denied."

You have your numbers backward, see data here:

There is a fair amount of fraud in the SSA Disability process. Sure there are a few truly deserving who are denied at the hearing level, but many more are approved than denied. Many times it depends on the assigned judge. There is also a fair amount of fraud in the VA process, what is sad is the undeserving often gum up the works so much that waiting for a decision can take years.

From The Perspective of Reality said...

1:54 recites the perfect rationale for caving in and giving the loudest mouths what they demand.

Throw down beads from your upper balconies and the drunken masses won't burn down your building. Toss them free pork chops and they will retreat (for the moment) to the grill.

He also chooses to confuse the term 'less fortunate' with the term 'slothfully indignant'. Those who choose a life of 'taking' are not entitled to anything of mine, fool. If they are lame and unable (as addressed in the Holy Bible), they deserve charity (first from family, then from church, lastly from the government). If they choose a life of leisure and government programs, change the damned rules and require they participate in the common equation.

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