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Majority of Americans support affordable housing

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 housing construction as 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 a regional basis, survey participants living in New England most strongly supported the statement, followed by the Pacific, Mid-Atlantic and Deep South, respectively.

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