Community Developments: Congressional Budget Deal Ends Government Shutdown
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- Early Friday morning, Congress passed and the President signed into law a sweeping $500 billion spending bill that includes: a six-week Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the federal government through March 23 to write an FY 2018 Omnibus spending package under the new budget caps; a budget deal that lifts defense and domestic discretionary spending caps by a total of $300 billion over two years; and an $89.3 billion disaster aid package that will help Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida, and the U.S. Virgin Islands recover from last year’s devastating hurricanes and will provide tax relief to help California recover from wildfires. Enterprise urges appropriators to use the higher spending caps to increase funding for vital housing and community development programs - such as HOME Investment Partnerships, Community Development Block Grants, Project-Based Rental Assistance and the CDFI Fund - in the FY 2018 Omnibus, given the urgent need for these investments in communities nationwide. We also urge lawmakers to continue monitoring the recovery process in disaster-affected areas to provide additional support as needed. Learn more about the spending bill in an Enterprise blog post.
- Yesterday the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS published guidance for states on designating Opportunity Zones, clarifying which tracts are eligible for designation and how many tracts can be designated in each state. Enterprise blog posts look at how states can determine Opportunity Zones eligibility from census data and address common questions about designation of Opportunity Zones. Another Enterprise blog post explains the three types of benefits associated with Opportunity Fund investments, which create tax breaks that increase the longer the investment is held. Investors can expect temporary deferral of capital gains taxes until they exit a fund or on December 31, 2026, whichever comes first; a step up in basis in years five and seven that further reduces tax rates; and tax-free earnings after year 10 for gains accrued on an Opportunity Fund investment during the 10-year period. Read more about the benefits of investing in the Opportunity Zones program in Enterprise’s blog post and on the Economic Innovation Group website.
- Today HUD published a Federal Register notice that explains how Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands must use their allocations of $7.4 billion CDBG Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds, which were appropriated by Congress in September 2017. The notice requires Florida, Puerto Rico and Texas to use at least 80 percent of the total funds provided to them to address unmet disaster needs within the HUD-identified most impacted and distressed areas and the U.S. Virgin Islands must use 100 percent of its total funds within the HUD-identified most impacted and distressed areas. The notice also requires each grantee to primarily consider and address its unmet housing recovery needs, as well as to submit an action plan for disaster recovery. (Federal Register, February 9)
- A San Diego Council committee has voted 4-1 to advance a proposed $900 million housing bond measure to city staff evaluation, bringing it one step closer to appearing on the November ballot. The proposed measure would increase property taxes about $72 a year for the average homeowner, with the goal of funding 7,500 affordable units for chronically homeless individuals, lower-income families, veterans and seniors. It would also help the city secure a greater share of state and federal money available for affordable housing by providing the matching local funds typically required for such assistance. (The San Diego Union Tribune, February 8)
- California’s Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) program has allocated $140 million in grants to three communities in the state to help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address challenges like public health disparities, housing shortages, pollution and displacement. The first round of TCC grants allocated $35 million to the neighborhood of Watts in Los Angeles, $70 million to the city of Fresno, and $35 million to the city of Ontario. The program, which is designed to improve public health in disadvantaged communities, targets communities with the greatest burdens from pollution and other health and social indicators in order to encourage them to design their own solutions to urban and environmental problems. (Next City, February 9)
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