End Sought to Housing Assistance Double Dip

[Madison, Wisc…] A bill being considered by the Wisconsin Assembly could put an end to double-dipping from housing assistance programs.

Currently, there are 53,000 Wisconsinites who receive Federal Section 8 housing assistance. Some are also receiving a state homestead housing tax credit for the same purpose.

Under Section 8 housing, people pay 30 percent of their adjusted income to their landlord. The federal government pays the remainder of their rent to the landlord.

Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) fears when the state tax credit is added to Section 8, beneficiaries are making a profit at taxpayer expense.

“In these tight economic times the state needs to find all the duplicate areas that are already addressed by other government entities. In this case it relates to individual’s receiving federal housing subsidies and to eliminate the state homestead credit eligibility which was also set up to alleviate housing costs,” Thiesfeldt said. ” Individuals receiving a federal subsidy for housing are already getting a generous helping hand.  This bill simply removes the state portion they would currently get on top of that federal benefit.  This will save taxpayers money and be fiscally responsible.”

Thiesfeldt’s bill would disqualify Section 8 beneficiaries from also receiving the homestead housing credit.

“Data are not available to indicate the amount of homestead credits that are currently claimed by individuals receiving Section 8 housing subsidies, so the fiscal effect of this bill is unknown,” according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

However, LFB did provide some educated guesses to provide some insight on the possible fiscal impact.

“Recognizing also that not all homestead eligible households apply for homestead, it is assumed that 50% of the Section 8 recipients are also homestead credit recipients receiving an average credit of $503.”

If half of the 53,000 recipients received a $503 homestead credit, Thiesfeldt’s bill could amount to more than $13 million in savings.

The bill had a public hearing in the Assembly Committee on Housing on Tuesday, November 1.