Housing Bill Continues Picking Up Steam

Washington, D.C.—The final action on the bipartisan housing bill could take place on Tuesday, according to the New York Times.On Friday, the Senate added housing package tax breaks for manufacturing companies and for Gulf Coast residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina, both of which were approved.The Senate approved the provision enabling troubled companies to use accumulated tax credits to counteract new plant and equipment costs—suggested by Senator George V. Voinovich from Ohio, which has been heavily affected by declining employment and foreclosures–by 76 to 2.The bill also will offer an additional tax break for home builders and other businesses. The provision will allow builders to claim current losses against previously paid taxes from more lucrative years. In addition, the bill includes $10 billion in tax-exempt bonds, allotted for local housing agencies to replace subprime mortgages with new ones and help first-time homebuyers, and grants worth $4 billion for local governments to purchase foreclosed properties.The Senate housing bill is being hailed as Congress’ first step to deal with the increased foreclosure rate and continued mortgage and housing market problems and would cost taxpayers  $15 billion to $20 billion, the Times said.