The President originally proposed a $726 economic growth package for the next 10 years. The House on May 9 approved $550 billion in tax cuts and that bill will have to be reconciled with what the Senate approves. It is currently considering a $350 billion plan.
In visits to some 280 congressional offices, builders also urged support for other top legislative priorities for the housing industry:
- The homeownership tax credit would provide builders with a tax credit of up to 50% of the cost of constructing a new home or rehabilitating an existing property. Geared to helping minorities improve their lagging rates of homeownership, the credit is expected to produce 50,000 new or rehabilitated homes and 120,000 new jobs annually. Pending homeownership tax credit bills are S. 198 and S. 875 in the Senate and H.R. 839 in the House. NAHB supports all three bills, but opposes a 10% set aside for tax-exempt developers in the latter two bills because it believes that credit awards should be based on the merits of a developer’s proposal.
- Association health plans to help home building and other small businesses reduce their employee health insurance costs by 15%-30% are proposed in H.R. 660 and S. 545.
- Legislation is needed to correct four technical advice memorandums that limit the use of low-income housing tax credits and would restore the amount of equity financing available under the credit program, increasing the nation’s supply of affordable housing.
- FHA revitalization and modernization legislation is needed to enable the HUD secretary to increase FHA multifamily loan limits so that such high-cost areas as New York, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles would be able to use FHA mortgage insurance programs. Builders also urged support for legislation that would permit the FHA to insure single-family construction loans and for H.R. 1443, which would permit the FHA to insure hybrid Adjustable Rate Mortgages for three years, rather than five, which would make them more attractive to lenders and investors.
- In reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, which is expected this year, builders urged their lawmakers to ensure that federal transportation laws respect the prerogatives and flexibility of local governments to plan for the transportation and growth needs of their communities and to oppose any provisions tying transportation funding to local land use.
For information on specific bills, click here, and then enter the bill number in the box at the upper left.
Photos by Herman Farrer