Just a Few Tweaks: How Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones Could Encourage Affordable Housing in Texas
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Inserting a few tweaks into Texas’ Tax Increment Financing laws to force Tax Income Reinvestment Zones (TIRZs) to build affordable housing within their boundaries would increase affordable housing in more high-opportunity areas. This work also evaluates the efficacy of Tax Increment Financing as a development tool. Although affordable housing has been a longstanding concern of lawmakers, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem. In traditionally conservative states like Texas it has been difficult to make any meaningful progress at the state level through legislation. In the absence of a favorable political climate where a comprehensive affordable housing bill could be passed, modifying the legislation governing Texas’ TIRZs according to the suggestions found herein may be a much easier way to make some progress on providing more affordable housing. This work draws upon peer-reviewed research papers and scholarly books, as well as studies and official evaluations of current TIRZs. The results of this work suggest that such a revision of the laws regarding TIRZs would go a good way toward increasing the availability of affordable housing in Texas.