The homeownership rates for African Americans and Hispanics are 48% and 49% respectively, trailing far behind the 74% of non-minority households who own homes.
Our country is losing almost half a million low-income rental units a year.
To address this housing crisis, one of the most important jobs facing this Congress is enactment of homeownership tax credit legislation. H.R. 839 in the House and S. 198 in the Senate would help achieve two key national objectives. These bills would aid economically distressed areas by creating new jobs. And they would close the homeownership gap for minorities by increasing the supply of affordable homes for sale.
The homeownership tax credit is included in the Bush Administration’s FY 2004 budget, and Congress needs to include it in pending economic stimulus legislation.
The tax credit is good public policy and it is good for the economy. Each year it would produce some 50,000 new and rehabilitated homes, 120,000 jobs, $4 billion in wages and $2 billion in taxes and fees. This would more than offset the $2.4 billion that the Treasury Department estimates it would cost over five years.
Last June, President Bush said that a home is “a foundation for families and a source of stability for communities. Part of economic security is owning your own home. Part of being a secure America is to encourage homeownership.”
Enactment of the homeownership tax credit will close the gap between America’s housing haves and housing have-nots. It is the medicine our lagging economy needs, and it is of the greatest importance for Congress to act on it now.
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