President Donald Trump and members of Congress have said for months that they want to create more jobs across the nation. But the reality is that their tax plan could kill around one million jobs over the next decade – and that would be disastrous.
This threat exists because the tax bill recently passed by the House would eliminate private activity bonds (PABs), which were first created by President Ronald Reagan and which play a crucial role in financing the construction of affordable housing, among other things.
PABs are so important to housing production that, over the past five years, they were responsible for the creation of 42,000 affordable homes in Florida and Texas. In 2015, nearly 40 percent of new affordable homes in those two states were financed with the bonds, not to mention their impact in many other states.
As President Trump knows, building housing also means creating jobs. When the affordable housing industry is running on full steam, it is a powerful economic engine that puts millions of people to work each year. But if it is crippled by the removal of a key financing tool like PABs, those jobs will be lost.
In fact, a recent analysis found that the loss of PABs would eliminate approximately one million jobs nationwide over the next decade. That includes more than 90,000 jobs in Ohio, more than 50,000 in Texas and more than 40,000 in Florida.
The fact is that low-income Americans across the nation need more housing options, and affordable homes must be built in every single state. The federal government must recognize that by serving this urgent need, we can also expand an important source of jobs in the construction industry and beyond.
By shutting down PABs, President Trump and Congress would be doing just the opposite and undermining their own job-creation goals. That would benefit no one.
Notably, the Senate’s current tax bill would not eliminate PABs. Congress as a whole should ensure that the bonds are not eliminated. The real question here will be whether House leadership can be persuaded to amend its recently passed bill to preserve PABs and the jobs that go along with them.
We have urged President Trump to consider raising this issue directly with members of Congress in order to prevent the potential for widespread job losses. Working to protect affordable housing and much-needed jobs is just common sense.
Jolie Milstein is president of the Council of Independent State Housing Associations (CISHA), which includes builders of affordable housing in states across the nation.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.