Lost in Transition

3 min read

It will take some time to fully digest the results from this year’s election, but I wanted to share some initial thoughts on what this may mean for our industry. Whether you are a Republican or Democrat, we must collectively figure out a way to come back from the divisive politics that characterized this election. We live in challenging times, and if we are going to face the collective domestic and global challenges that are on our doorstep, we must find a way to embrace change and work together to meet those challenges. Affordable housing and community development are businesses that serve a higher purpose – we have a mission that transcends partisanship. Collectively we have made great strides in raising the profile of housing as a core political issue and as we transition to a new Administration and a new Congress we know we have more work to do.

From a more practical perspective, we all are wondering how the new administration will select and pursue its priorities and how that will affect our industry. The short answer is that I think it’s too soon to say. While we know Donald Trump has extensive real estate and multifamily development experience (and even a little Historic Tax Credit experience), I still feel that we don’t know what we don’t know about him and his potential administration; what his governing style will be or who will be on the team that implements his priorities. We have heard during his campaign that attempts at tax reform, immigration reform and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act are core domestic priorities, but – if history is a guide – finding consensus on any of these items will be extremely difficult.

This may have been a “change” election but substantive legislative action will not be easy, even without divided government. The margins in both the House and Senate are thin and there remain significant ideological divisions between the two parties as well as within the Democratic and Republican caucuses.

Just a few days in, I speculate that we might see rollback of regulations across the board and a general prioritization for smaller government. I expect government programs, even popular ones, will be scrutinized and reevaluated with respect to ideology but also on their merits as “business units.” If the reduction of the corporate tax rate remains a priority next year, we know that the LIHTC, Historic Credit, New Markets Tax Credit and the various renewable energy credits will at least be part of the discussion.

We will learn much more about the Trump Administration’s leadership team in the weeks and months ahead as well as what their initial priorities are for legislative and regulatory action. In the meantime, we must take nothing for granted and do our collective part to educate the incoming administration and Congress. NH&RA will be actively engaged in the transition and it will be our continued priority to keep our members connected with this process and how it may potentially impact your respective businesses.

Any political change brings a degree of uncertainty to our lives and businesses. Fortunately, the NH&RA network is strong and we will embrace today’s change as we embraced it so often in the past – together. We will continue to convene around our commitment to mission and shared knowledge to grow our industry together.

As always, the NH&RA team welcomes your questions, feedback and collaboration. We encourage you to reach out to our staff, send us your ideas or questions and get involved.

Thom joined National Housing & Rehabilitation Association (NH&RA) in 2004 and currently serves as its as Executive Vice-President and Executive Director. NH&RA is a national trade association and peer-network for affordable housing and tax credit developers and related professionals including: investors, lenders, public agencies and professional advisers. Thom directs the association’s day-to-day operations including legislative and regulatory advocacy, committee activities, conferences and events, publications, financial management and strategic planning. Thom also serves as the Executive Director of the Tennessee Developers Council, a state-wide trade association for affordable housing developers and professionals active in Tennessee. In 2013 he spearheaded the launch of NH&RA's Preservation through Energy Efficiency Project, a major educational initiative supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Thom also serves on the Board of Directors for International Center for Appropriate & Sustainable Technology (iCAST) as well as the Advisory Board for its ResourceSmart program, a turn-key, cost-effective, green rehab provider for multifamily affordable and market-rate housing communities and nonprofit facilities. Thom is a frequent speaker at affordable housing, sustainable development and tax credit industry events and has been published in a variety of industry journals including Tax Credit Advisor, Independent Banker, and the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credit Housing. Thom also serves as the Associate Publisher of Tax Credit Advisor, a monthly magazine for tax credit and affordable housing professionals and is an Executive Vice-President at Dworbell Inc., a boutique association management and communications firm in Washington, DC. Thom was previously employed at a national lobbying firm focusing on financial services and technology issues. Prior to moving to Washington, Thom worked in media relations in the New York State Assembly and as a research assistant for New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen. Thom graduated Magna Cum Laude from Tufts University with a double major in Political Science and History.