You thought you heard enough about what to do with the federal budget surplus - slash taxes, boost social security, increase military spending, eliminate marriage penalties. Now, add another category to that debate: affordable housing.
A new survey commissioned by Novogradac & Co. LLP, a San Francisco-based public accounting and consulting firm, shows that the majority of Americans believe a portion of the federal budget surplus should support affordable housing for the country's middle- and low-income citizens. The survey, which was conducted on behalf of Alexandria, Va.-based Public Opinion Strategies, shows a solid majority of those polled believe a portion of the nation's estimated $2.6 trillion budget surplus should support affordable initiatives.
When asked if they would support tax incentives to encourage businesses to build low-income housingas a means to stimulate business investment, 74% of respondents agreed, while 21% disagreed. Also, when asked to rate on a scale of 1-to-10 (with 10 being "strongly agree" and 1 being "strongly disagree") whether a portion of the federal budget surplus should be used to build affordable housing, 65% agreed, while 33% disagreed. A total of 2% of the 800 people polled did not respond.
Support for devoting part of the budget surplus toward affordable housing differed among voter sub-groups. Female voters supported the statement more strongly than male voters. Female voters rated the statement at 5.8, while males rated the statement at 5.1. Among age groups, voters aged 18-34 were most likely to feel strongly about the statement. Seniors aged 65 and older were least likely to support the statement.
The survey also revealed African-Americans supported using the budget surplus for affordable housing more strongly than their white counterparts. On abasis, survey participants living in New England most strongly supported the statement, followed by the Pacific, Mid-Atlantic and Deep South, respectively.