The Housing Market and TaxesWritten By: REP. GEOFF DAVIS
Article Date: 08-01-2007
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How the Financial Services Committee affects your business.
Editor's Note: In 2006, AED's Washington Office began inviting leading members of Congress from both political parties to contribute articles to CED magazine. The goal: let AED members hear directly from our nation's leaders about key issues without any of the usual media filters. This month, Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY), discusses a few of the issues facing the House Financial Services Committee. Equipment distributors play a critical role in the construction of our nation's infrastructure. From the development of natural resources such as coal to building our highways and homes, at every construction site, on every farm, and at every power plant, the businesses of Associated Equipment Distributors are there. Your business supplies the equipment needed to keep our economy growing.
Since being sworn in as a member of Congress in 2005, I have had the privilege of serving on the House Financial Services Committee. Many do not realize it, but the Financial Services Committee has very broad jurisdiction, from the regulation of the stock markets and the banking and insurance industries to oversight of housing programs. Since you have an interest in the construction industry, and thus the housing market, I want to update you on actions the Committee has taken to rebuild homes along the Gulf Coast, expand homeownership, and create more affordable housing options.
Earlier this year, the House passed H.R. 1227, the Gulf Coast Hurricane Housing Recovery Act of 2007. The aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita left many families and individuals living in public housing devastated and homeless. Many were forced to relocate. As reconstruction continues, we are faced with the task of revitalizing the historic Gulf Coast and redeveloping the properties that once existed there.
The Gulf Coast Hurricane Housing Recovery Act contained provisions that would make Community Development Block Grant funds available to purchase individual properties in Louisiana for development. Additionally, the bill requires the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) to develop 3,000 public housing units for occupancy by Aug. 1, 2007. At the same time, it prohibits HANO from demolishing public housing unless there are plans to replace it with public housing or a comparable asset. These provisions not only encourage development and construction, but they help ensure the return of Gulf Coast residents to new or refurbished homes.
Another Priority: Affordable Housing Fund
Reform of Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks, has also been on the agenda. The GSEs were created to support the secondary mortgage market and have been stricken with accounting scandals in recent years. Recently, H.R. 1427, the Federal Housing Finance Reform Act of 2007, passed the full House. I supported this legislation to strengthen oversight and ensure the financial stability of the GSEs and our secondary mortgage market and to create an affordable housing fund.
The affordable housing fund would be funded through contributions by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loans Banks based on a percentage of their total mortgage portfolios. The primary goal of the fund is to expand the low income housing market. It is my hope that the majority of these funds will be used for construction of new properties or the rehabilitation of existing properties. Both bills are now set for consideration by the Senate.
As a former small business owner, I share your concerns regarding the impending tax increases recently approved in the new congressional majority's budget. One of my primary goals in Congress is to make the tax relief enacted in 2001 and 2003 permanent. This tax relief has created millions of new jobs, sustained the growth of our economy and kept unemployment at historically low averages. My belief is that the government does not tax too little; rather it spends too much. We simply must do a better job prioritizing spending.
In addition, I support the full repeal of the death tax. Small businesses create over two-thirds of the new jobs in this country. By excessively taxing estates of small business owners, the government takes money out of those businesses that could be used for reinvestment, growth and expansion that would create more jobs. I believe leaving that capital in our local communities and in the pockets of our small business owners is a better policy.
Please contact me anytime if I can be of assistance to you.
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