Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the Mortgage Debt Relief Act was set to expire yesterday, but was renewed in the bill congress passed late last night…big news for sellers considering a short sale. It also included a revival of the tax deduction for mortgage insurance, which had lapsed after 2011, which is good news for FHA borrowers. The Wall Street Journal summarizes the changes here. They didn’t go after the mortgage interest deduction yet, but it sounds like that could still happen so we’ll keep tabs as things develop.
President Obama followed up his State of the Union mention regarding more help for underwater homeowners with an announcement yesterday. Looks like there will be hurdles, including congressional approval, and it’s linked to a tax on banks. But making it possible for people to refinance and take advantage of low interest rates so they can keep their homes sure sounds better than more short sales and foreclosures.
The Senate will vote tomorrow on the Economic Stimulus Bill which includes a provision giving home buyers a $15,000 tax credit. The provision is designed to get qualified home buyers off the fence, start purchasing homes and reduce the large quantity of home inventory across the country.
The Senate bill has significant differences from the House bill, which will have to be addressed if the Senate bill passes.
The Home Buyer Tax Credit theory: by reducing the backlog of home inventory, home prices will stop their free fall and the number of foreclosures will be reduced, thus reducing losses for banks holding mortgage backed securities, improving the credit markets and stabilizing the economy.
The Basics: The bill provides a tax credit for 10% of the purchase price of a primary residence up to $15,000. Unlike the House bill, the Senate bill is available to all buyers of primary residences. It does not have an income limit. The credit is non-refundable, meaning home buyers can only benefit from the credit if they owe Federal income tax in the year of purchase.
It is hard to believe it has been seven years since the United States was brutally attacked and two airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center. I can remember very clearly where I was at that time, as I am sure most of you can. I had a brand new baby in my arms. I was basking in the glow of motherhood when I got the terrible call to turn on the news.
My good friend, Jay Thompson, felt like people were starting to forget. He went on a search for a spreadsheet or text file with all of the victims names listed. He couldn’t find what he was looking for, so in true Jay style, be created his own excel spreadsheet listing all of the victims of the 911 attack.
The list of victims of the 911 attack is four columns wide and 754 rows long.
It brought me chills to read through the list. The magnitude of loss on that day is staggering.
The youtube video below is a reminder of what I experienced on the morning of 911. I watched the events on television. I wasn’t in New York, and I didn’t lose a loved one or close personal friend. I did lose a “sister” so to speak. One of my fellow Junior League of San Francisco members, Melissa Harrington Hughes, was in the World Trade Center and lost her life that day.
Regardless of how close or how removed we may have been, I think it is important that we never forget. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of all those people who lost their lives.
Hug your own loved ones today.
I am sure you have heard the updates that Marin is going to be sprayed for the light brown apple moth (LBAM). My sister and my parents live in Santa Cruz County where spraying has already taken place. This quote comes directly from an email my sister sent to me:
We actually did get a respiratory illness immediately following the spraying. It was a really hard one to get rid of. Dad and Mom also got the same thing we had and much worse. Dad who usually doesn’t question this kind of thing is totally convinced that his respiratory illness was from the spraying. They were sprayed directly while we just had residuals.
I just think they are spraying without doing enough research on the effects of the chemical on humans.
There is not enough proof that is kills the LBAM and every evidence that it is not good for humans. The CDC even has information on their website that the spray is harmful to humans and we should not come into physical contact with the spray.
I have asthma and any illnesses I get always go straight to my chest. I have enough problems breathing. I don’t need anything else to make me sick, thank you. More importantly, the children and the elderly don’t need respiratory illnesses.
Stop the spraying in Marin until more research is done.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger proposed a budget on Thursday that would cut nearly 10 percent of the funding for public education. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the budget would cut nearly $4 billion dollars from public education and would suspend Proposition 98 which requires a minimum funding level for schools.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell said this: “Our state shouldn’t punish our children for its grown-ups’ mistakes.”
Yet another good reason to pass Measure A…
The County Planning Commission will be holding hearings in the next few weeks to adopt a new countywide plan that proposes up to 270 new units of housing in Kentfield, at the site of Marin General Hospital and College of Marin.
The goal of the plan is to increase low income housing in Marin- something desperately needed. Unfortunately, the current proposal has some serious drawbacks that need to be addressed.
If you live in the Ross Valley, you should have received a ballot for the “annual storm drainage fee” for the Ross Valley Flood Protection and Watershed program. This “fee” would apply to homeowners in Flood Control District Zone 9 (Fairfax, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Ross and San Anselmo) . The fee will cover capital improvements to “repair and replace drainage infrastructure, enhance and establish drainage system and floodway maintenance programs” and provide habitat restoration projects.
Owners of condos are expected to pay around $30 per year, while owners of single family homes are expected to pay between $125-180 per year. The fee is capped out at $180 for residential and $6,000 per year for commercial. If there is a simple majority yes vote, the fee will take effect in 2008. If the fee is adopted, an annual hearing will take place to determine the fee for the following year. The is limited to a maximum of 3% per year and will end in 20 years.
So, is this tax good? This tax is critical to Ross Valley residents and Marin County. The economy of our community could be destroyed by a bad flood. Businesses and residences will be destroyed. Lives could be lost. Vital services could be damaged. The vitality of our local communities could disappear, causing home values to plummet. Schools could be closed for extended periods of time, impacting our children’s education. Residents who live in Flood Zone 9 whose homes have not flooded may not feel like they should have to pay the tax. My home is not in the path of potential floods but I believe my property contributes run off which is part of the problem. I believe everyone in the district should contribute to resolving improving flood protection for the area.
This program will preserve our community, its economy, residents, businesses and schools. Even if your specific home does not flood, you will still be impacted in some way.
For more information on the tax, visit: