Texas Bill Plans to Close Houston Housing Authority Tax Loophole

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New bills introduced in the Texas legislature will deal with a tax loophole created by local housing authorities that allows them to take tax money away from school districts and the city and county when they build public housing.

Senator Paul Bettencourt and Representative Jim Murphy filed the bills that will stop entities like the Houston Housing Authority from taking the money away from these groups without their approval.

The Houston Housing Authority has been using Public Facility Corporations (PFCs) for years to create low-income housing projects with less oversight.

“We cannot have entire apartment complexes wiped from the tax rolls without any approval from the taxing entities that are directly affected,” said Senator Bettencourt.

The new law would require the groups losing tax revenue to approve the development before the PFC granted a tax exemption that lasts forever.

The bill also requires the housing developments to provide more housing units for low-income families based on the area income, which would actually make the projects more beneficial to the people that the Houston Housing Authority is supposed to help.

“This new law will potentially save the taxpayers a lot of money that they have been losing and hold groups like the HHA accountable when they try to pass shady business deals,” said Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “The PFCs are making big decisions on tax money without consent from the groups and people affected.”

The Houston Region Business Coalition also supports the legislation, stating they are ready to “close this loophole and provide a better path forward for low-income housing.”

A Dolcefino Consulting investigation of the Houston Housing Authority has uncovered secret communications between officials and politically connected developers and brokers. We have also publicized ongoing plans by the housing authority to spend tens of millions of dollars on unsafe land and projects in environmentally dangerous areas of the city, which would put needy families at risk for the benefit of wealthy developers.

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