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The Workforce/Middle-Income Housing Tax Credit

American Enterprise Institute

February 22, 2024

A recording of the event will be uploaded soon.

Event Summary

Congress is considering expanding the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and creating a new Workforce or Middle-Income Housing Tax Credit (MIHTC). In response, the AEI Housing Center gathered leading housing experts to discuss the LIHTC’s poor record and propose more effective market solutions.

In the first panel, AEI’s Kevin Corinth and Edward J. Pinto and the Cato Institute’s Chris Edwards discussed the LIHTC’s limitations; it has historically created a small amount of costly, poorly targeted housing units. The system beneficiaries are the various intermediaries that can navigate the program’s complexity—not low-income families. A new MIHTC program would require a huge influx of federal funds but do little to address the cause of the housing crisis.

In the second panel, AEI’s Edward L. Glaeser, Howard Husock, and Tobias Peter dissected government and market solutions to the housing-supply shortage. Government-funded solutions such as LIHTC and public housing have prevented families from advancing economically, creating intergenerational wealth, and building social capital. In contrast, Seattle’s townhome construction boom from the mid-1990s to 2019 enabled homeownership and wealth-building for thousands of moderate-income, younger, and more diverse households. More states and localities should free the market from government distortions by implementing light-touch density to unleash a swarm of naturally affordable small-scale development.

Event Description

Congress will soon consider two bipartisan bills to address high rental costs. Combined, these two programs would expand eligibility of subsidized rental units to about three-quarters of the nation’s renters. This massive expansion would waste taxpayer money, crowd out more private builders, and deter many families from advancing economically. And it would do precious little to address the nation’s housing-supply problem.

Doubling down with more government subsidies for new apartments isn’t the answer. The true policy solution lies at the state and local level with land-use reform to unleash the private market. Join the AEI Housing Center for a discussion among housing experts on land-use reform and policy alternatives to the Workforce Housing Tax Credit and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.


9:00 a.m.
Opening Presentation on the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and Middle-Income Housing Tax Credit:
Edward J. Pinto, Codirector, AEI Housing Center

9:20 a.m.
Panel I: Deep Dive into the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and Middle-Income Housing Tax Credit

Kevin Corinth, Deputy Director, Center on Opportunity and Social Mobility, American Enterprise Institute (Presentation)
Chris Edwards, Kilts Family Chair in Fiscal Studies, Cato Institute
Edward J. Pinto, Codirector, AEI Housing Center (Presentation)

10:10 a.m.

10:30 a.m.

10:50 a.m.
Panel II: Housing-Supply Issues and Market-Oriented vs. Taxpayer-Funded Solutions

Edward L. Glaeser, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute (Presentation)
Howard Husock, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
Tobias Peter, Codirector, AEI Housing Center (Presentation)

11:40 a.m.

11:55 a.m.
Closing Remarks
Edward J. Pinto, Codirector, AEI Housing Center

12:00 p.m.

1:00 p.m.