Making Affordable Housing Profitable

By Aspire Economic Development + Chamber Alliance | | 2.14.22

Aspire Economic Development Chamber Alliance Johnson County Indiana

The Statehouse was back to work last week after its halftime break. Out of the 900 bills filed, 265 bills made it to the second half; 161 bills left the Senate, and 104 bills left the House. The rest did not make it through the legislative process. 

We are excited about some of the measures still alive to tackle affordable housing. And we are scratching our heads on the volume of tax matters in a non-budget year.

As housing inventory lagged demand and home prices soared, many hard-working Hoosiers, such as our teachers, firefighters, and logistics center workers, have been shut out of the housing market. Adding insult to injury, apartment rent increases have risen faster than ever. 

Builders have rushed to develop new neighborhoods, but focused on homes at the upper half of the spectrum. Good, quality affordable workforce housing is possible, but material cost increases have made it unprofitable for the private market to develop.

That is why we are excited to see SB 262. This bill creates a state tax credit against state tax liability for companies or shareholders who develop affordable and workforce housing. This is helpful because it layers over the federal incentives, making development of affordable housing more profitable and attractive to builders. Aspire continues to convene builders and community leaders to identity opportunities for new workforce housing. If passed, SB 262 will make it easier for private developers to create the type of quality affordable housing our community needs.

But one thing our community does not need is poor health ratings and skyrocketing employer health insurance costs. The House Ways and Means Committee had a hearing on SB 382, a nearly 100-page Department of Revenue agency bill (we can see our lobbyist’s eye twitching). Unexpectedly, this bill slashes the tax on vaping products from 25% to 15% and caps the tobacco tax on smokeless tobacco and specialty cigars. As a reminder, this was a NEW tax just instituted in the last legislative session.

Aspire, and other business and health advocates, worked hard over the last few years to increase the taxes on tobacco and electronic smoking products. We are pushing back on this provision of SB 382 and asking for the tax cut language to be removed from the bill. Hoosiers do not need more reasons to make unhealthy choices, and Hoosier employers do not need any more cost increases to overcome.