“It’s get­ting harder and harder to be poor. This would ben­e­fit ... ar­eas that have a short­age of af­ford­able homes.”

The Commercial Appeal - - Viewpoint - Sen. Brenda Gil­more, D-nashville

NASHVILLE – Nashville is ex­pected to have a deficit of 31,000 low-in­come homes to sup­port its pop­u­la­tion by 2025.

State law­mak­ers are pitch­ing two bills to help tackle the grow­ing af­ford­able hous­ing cri­sis in ur­ban ar­eas – par­tic­u­larly Nashville – be­fore this week’s dead­lines to in­tro­duce 2019 leg­is­la­tion.

Sen. Brenda Gil­more, D-nashville, a for­mer Metro coun­cil­woman, pro­posed re­duc­ing prop­erty taxes for own­ers of low-in­come ren­tals in ex­pen­sive hous­ing mar­kets.

“It’s get­ting harder and harder to be poor” in Nashville, said Gil­more, who in­tro­duced Sen­ate Bill 176. “This would ben­e­fit David­son County and other ar­eas that have a short­age of af­ford­able homes.”

Rep. Dar­ren Jerni­gan, D-old Hick­ory, is spon­sor­ing SB 176 in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. He also plans to in­tro­duce another bill to freeze prop­erty tax pay­ments for se­niors liv­ing in boom­ing hous­ing mar­kets.

Af­ford­able Rental Prop­erty Act

SB 176, the Af­ford­able Rental Prop­erty Act, would en­cour­age de­vel­op­ment of more low-cost units be­cause those prop­erty own­ers would be able to pay re­duced taxes.

The law would re­quire the Ten­nessee Hous­ing De­vel­op­ment Agency (THDA) to iden­tify cities that don’t have enough homes for low-in­come fam­i­lies each year. Those ar­eas would qual­ify to par­tic­i­pate in the tax break.

THDA would then de­ter­mine in­come lim­its to qual­ify for af­ford­able hous­ing and the cor­re­spond­ing rental rates that prop­erty own­ers would of­fer to be el­i­gi­ble for the tax break.

County prop­erty as­ses­sors would be re­spon­si­ble for pro­cess­ing the ap­pli­ca­tions.

Sandy Mazza Nashville Ten­nessean USA TO­DAY NET­WORK - TEN­NESSEE

coun­cils be­fore it can be im­ple­mented.

“The in­creased mar­ket value of cer­tain rental hous­ing has caused an in­crease in taxes to the ex­tent that own­ers can­not af­ford to pay the taxes and other ex­penses of the prop­er­ties, if they rent to low-in­come per­sons at the be­low­mar­ket rates,” the bill states. “It is the pol­icy of this state to en­cour­age rental hous­ing own­ers to pro­vide af­ford­able rental hous­ing.”

This bill comes a year af­ter the state Sen­ate blocked cities from of­fer­ing de­vel­op­ers the op­tion of build­ing taller or more dense build­ings in ex­change for pro­vid­ing some af­ford­able hous­ing units.

The law was in re­sponse to Nashville’s

Se­nior prop­erty tax re­duc­tions

Jerni­gan an­tic­i­pates putting for­ward his own bill this week that would freeze prop­erty taxes for se­niors in ap­pre­ci­at­ing mar­kets.

“This is to keep some­one liv­ing in an area (where home val­ues have gone up quickly), like Ger­man­town, from be­ing kicked out of their house,” Jerni­gan said.

Se­niors statewide ages 65 and older who have lived in their homes for at least 30 years would qual­ify, he said.

In David­son County, there are cur­rently sev­eral pro­grams for low-in­come se­niors to re­duce and de­fer prop­erty tax pay­ments.

The dead­line to in­tro­duce new state leg­is­la­tion to the Gen­eral As­sem­bly is Wed­nes­day in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and Thurs­day in the Sen­ate.

Con­struc­tion work­ers build hous­ing at the James A. Cayce Homes for a new MDHA project called En­vi­sion Cayce on July 18. GE­ORGE WALKER IV / THE TEN­NESSEAN

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