March 8, 2001 - Issue: Vol. 147, No. 30 — Daily Edition107th Congress (2001 - 2002) - 1st Session
HOUSING BONDS AND CREDITS; Congressional Record Vol. 147, No. 30
(Extensions of Remarks - March 08, 2001)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Pages E316-E317] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] HOUSING BONDS AND CREDITS ______ HON. RICHARD E. NEAL of massachusetts in the house of representatives Thursday, March 8, 2001 Mr. NEAL of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, Representative Amo Houghton and I are today introducing legislation to make three important changes to two of the most popular and efficient housing programs before Congress, the single family Mortgage Revenue [[Page E317]] Bond (MRB) program and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. First, this bill repeals the ten-year rule, a provision added to the MRB program in 1988 that prevents the states from fully using mortgage bonds by limiting the extent to which new mortgages can be made on outstanding bonds on which prepayments have been made by the original beneficiaries. States estimate that, between 1998 and 2002, the ten- year rule means the loss of over $8.5 billion in mortgage authority, denying over 100,000 qualified lower and moderate income home buyers affordable MRB mortgages. Second, the bill replaces the present limit on the price of homes these mortgages can finance with one that works better given the fact that there is no reliable comprehensive data that exists to determine average area home prices. The current price limits were issued in 1994 based on 1993 data. They are, obviously, obsolete and well below current home price levels in most parts of the country. We propose a simpler formula limiting the purchase price to three and a half times the qualifying income under the program. This will work to preserve the goals of current law while providing a realistic limit on the program for almost all areas of the nation. Finally, the bill makes housing credit apartment production more viable in rural areas by allowing statewide medium incomes as the basis for the income limits in that program. While this provision may need some technical adjustment, it is clear that the current rules do not provide sufficient incentives to build apartments in very low income rural areas. Mr. Houghton and I believe these changes, when combined with the increase in the caps on these programs enacted last year, will ensure a strong, effective housing program that will meet the needs of our constituents now, and well into the future. We hope these changes will be adopted in the near future. ____________________