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Economy

Why Cory Booker Is Focusing on Affordable Housing

A monthly tax credit for low-income renters and a “baby bond” program to help first-time homebuyers are part of the presidential hopeful’s list of proposals.
Presidential hopeful Cory Booker speaking at a campaign event in New Hampshire.
Presidential hopeful Cory Booker speaking at a campaign event in New Hampshire.Steven Senne/AP

Pledging to make housing a priority in his 2020 presidential candidacy, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker unveiled a plan on Wednesday with features that would ease affordability, homelessness, and first-time homeownership pressure for millions of families. At the core of the senator’s housing program: a monthly tax credit for renters that the campaign says will help more than 57 million people.

Booker is just the latest Democratic candidate to flag housing as a central issue, and his housing platform is wide ranging. Its most significant feature is a refundable tax credit for anyone paying more than 30 percent of their before-tax income to rent. The credit would refund the difference between the 30 percent threshold and the neighborhood fair market rent (a cap set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development). The median credit* would amount to $4,800 per family.