To the editor:
Yes, the issue before us is affordable housing (“All councilors must address Salem’s housing crisis,” letter to the editor, July 11). But lack of affordable homes isn’t limited to just Salem, of course: The recent National Low Income Housing Coalition report shows that no state has an adequate supple of homes affordable and available to its lowest-income renters.
There are few housing provisions in the U.S. tax code that benefit low-income Americans, particularly renters. The mortgage-interest deduction helps homeowners, but most of the benefits to to wealthier households. A renters’ tax credit would help level the playing field.
There are several such (similar) tax credit proposals in Congress now. The renters’ tax credit would serve as a cap on the amount of rent and utilities a low-income household would pay (about 30% of their income). And it would provide a tax credit for the balance above that up to the local fair market value.