Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tax Credit Clearance Sale!

City leaders add Tax Credits to list of things they're willing to sell

Several local news sources are reporting on a multi-million dollar affordable housing development in Mike Garza's district. The usual cast of characters have been seen all over the TV and in print turning over the first shovel of dirt at the seemingly mandatory ground-breaking.

Upon reading the Laredo Morning Times article, I admit I had to scratch my head when it came to the part about how the entire thing was made possible. First of all, the article states that Mike Garza was approached by some San Antonio company about the idea. This is a recurring theme: out of town companies coming to our city council will all sorts of proposals.

The questions that comes to mind immediately is "what's in it for them"?  Are these companies just doing it out of the kindness of their hearts or are they cashing in on our city leaders' proven willingness to bend over backwards anytime $$ money $$ is involved?

Here's some of LMT"s article:
NRP Group approached Garza about two years ago with the property in mind and the housing development just an idea.

Those discussions led to the formation of the Laredo Public Facility Corp.

“There isn’t enough housing here, and there certainly isn’t enough housing for those looking to purchase a home,” said Dan Markson, senior vice president of NRP.

“We need not hundreds but thousands of more units throughout South Texas.”
As I said, the fact that the so-called NPR Group approached Garza is what gives the impression that this is just another in a long-list of out of town interests swooping down to take advantage of Laredo's proven track record of caving in to economic carpet-baggers. 

Who can forget the tag team of former mayor Betty Flores-Arena Ventures or the ongoing shenanigans from the Salinas-Ventura Group team of pile drivers.   

“This project will have essentially advanced our housing efforts almost 13 years,” said Councilman Mike Garza, whose district includes most of South Laredo.

The federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program allows the city to pay for the construction of 10 homes annually.

By leveraging $1.2 million in annual HOME funding to pay for the project, the city will complete nearly 13 years of possible housing units in a single year.

Okay, does this mean there will me no more HOME funding for the next 13 years?? Or will Laredo will now be able to build 13 years of housing every single year??

The complex funding process involved cooperation from the public and private sectors and a competitive application for federal low-income housing tax credits through the state.

The Laredo Public Facility Corp. and Ejido Holdings, a subsidiary of Clower Interest, jointly applied for the tax credits through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

The tax credits were then sold to generate about $14.1 million in private equity for the project.
Okay, the selling of public tax credits to private companies is apparently legal but so was the trading of derivatives and see where that got us.

Lucky for readers of LaredoTejas, I really don't have any idea of how this all works and I'm sure our city leaders are looking out for the best interests of all of the Gateway city's taxpayers and residents.


  1. There seems to be a recurring theme carried out here: the outsider comes in to help/take advantage of the defenseless local community.

    But where do the local developers fit in to all of this?

    A friend used to work for a local builder and he had the idea of providing smaller houses for lower income customers, but it didn't go over well with those in charge.


  2. It's our local version of crony capitalism at the taxpayer's expense of course.