North Carolina is expected to grow by more than 1 million people over the next decade. But we aren’t ready to accommodate that growth, because there is not enough housing. A group of N.C. Senate Democrats proposed a potential solution this month through Senate Bill 588, “Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.”
The tax credit is being re-introduced in the N.C. Senate after a previous bill expired — known as a sunset — in 2015. While the credit was still active, it was used to build over 80,000 affordable apartments across the state, according to N.C. Sen. Jeff Jackson, who is a primary sponsor of SB 588.
“It's probably the biggest lever we can pull in the area of affordable housing,” Jackson said. “We've seen results with this approach before.”
The bill was likely allowed to sunset as part of a number of tax credits that were not renewed under the Republican-led General Assembly.
“I think this probably falls into the category of a number of different things that got the axe due to very conservative leadership,” Jackson said.
He cited Senate Bill 576, “Recovery Rebate for Working Families Act” — an earned income tax credit — as another sunset credit, which he has also re-introduced in the Senate this session.
Jackson said the Republican-controlled General Assembly is unlikely to prioritize legislation like SB 588 — a bill without any Republican co-sponsors. However, he is hopeful that its previous success in creating affordable housing will make it at least a state budget priority.
Creating affordable housing needs to be done on two fronts: supply and true affordability.
The first is being addressed with SB 588. It is meant to build affordable units throughout the state and increase the supply.