Ensign, Cardin Introduce Tax Credit to Help Ailing Housing Market
U.S. Senators John Ensign (R-NV) and Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) are urging their colleagues to act quickly to pass a new $20,000 refundable tax credit for first-time homebuyers to help jumpstart our nation’s ailing housing market. Ensign and Cardin are working closely with their colleagues to consider this bill as part of the stimulus bill or as a stand-alone measure (S. 312).
Nationally, according to the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Index, home prices have fallen more than 21 percent from their peak. Despite these lower prices and record-low interest rates, sales of existing homes are on the decline and housing starts are at a 50-year low. The need to act has grown more urgent.
“When it comes to the housing market, my home state of Nevada has been hit the hardest,” said Senator Ensign. “It is not only hurting families and homeowners but also risks dragging down our economy further. This bipartisan plan is a proven model that encourages homeownership while targeting the serious problem of excess inventory in the housing sector.”
The Cardin-Ensign First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit (S. 312) would provide a $20,000 refundable tax credit to first time-homebuyers for their principal residence. The credit is per purchase, not per person. Individuals with incomes at or below $75,000 and couples with incomes at or below $150,000 would qualify for the credit. First-time homebuyers can take advantage of this provision for one year starting when the bill is signed into law.
Children’s Health Plan Should Help Low-Income Kids First
Senator John Ensign supported a plan to fully fund the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) but to refocus it back to its original mission: providing coverage for low-income children. The Democrats’ plan that Ensign does not support covers families in New York earning more than $100,000 a year while leaving behind low-income uninsured children in Nevada and the rest of America.
“Without raising taxes, the bill I supported today would provide health insurance for 2 million low-income children who lack care,” said Ensign, a father of three, who voted for the Kids First Act today. At a time when 45,000 eligible children in Nevada are not enrolled, we should not be expanding the program to middle-income families.”
SCHIP was originally designed to cover children who are part of low-income families earning $44,000 or less. These families require assistance because they earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but may not be able to afford private health coverage on their own.
Some states have expanded SCHIP to cover adults, even when thousands of eligible children lack coverage. The Democrats’ plan would put 6.5 million more people on the government dole because it wrongly includes adults and middle-income families.
“Including middle-class families in a program for low-income children is irresponsible and, unfortunately for millions of our poorest kids, that’s what the Democrats’ plan does,” said Ensign. “SCHIP should be focused on low-income children, not people who can already afford to pay for their own health insurance premiums.”
SCHIP is fully funded through March 31, 2009. There is time to continue debating the reauthorization of SCHIP to ensure that children are covered first. Ensign is a cosponsor of the Kids First Act.