Lieutenant Governors Call on Washington to fix housing
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) commends the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) for approving a resolution recently that underscores the importance of homeownership and calls on Washington policymakers to take action to shore up the nation's housing markets to achieve a long-lasting economic recovery.
"The nation's lieutenant governors understand that Americans deeply value homeownership and that it is essential to get the housing sector back on firm ground to achieve solid job growth, build healthy communities and move our economy forward," said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. "Resolution sponsors Brian Krolicki (R-Nev.) and Timothy Murray (D-Mass.) have taken a leadership role in working to keep housing atop the national agenda."
The resolution recommends that "the President and Congress act with a sense of urgency to address the nation's housing crisis in a meaningful and responsible manner, while avoiding any legislation or regulatory actions that will inhibit the recovery of the home building industry."
It also spotlights "the role the home building industry must play in helping citizens achieve the American Dream and fueling our country's economic recovery."
"Preventing foreclosures will continue to be a priority for the National Lieutenant Governors Association," said Lieutenant Governor Murray, who was named chair of the NLGA during the association's annual meeting this week. "I was pleased to join Lieutenant Governor Krolicki to co-sponsor this resolution as we work in collaboration with all lieutenant governors in addressing the housing crisis and supporting the home building industry to spur economic development opportunities across the country."
"Nevada was hit particularly hard by the housing crisis, and we look forward to finding solutions to fix this complex issue," added Lieutenant Governor Krolicki. "Bringing housing issues to the forefront is long overdue and we are proud of this bipartisan effort and pledge our continual support in turning the housing market around in Nevada and across the country."
This broad support for government policies that encourage homeownership comes at a time when the American dream is under attack under several fronts in Washington. Proposals to tamper with the mortgage interest deduction, mandate 20 percent down payments on home loans and to end federal support for affordable mortgages would prolong and aggravate the housing downturn, lead to more job losses and substantially raise the cost of buying a home -- particularly for younger households and first-time home buyers.
The lieutenant governors also noted that home builders face a lack of credit for housing production loans and that potential home buyers are stymied because they cannot obtain mortgages, which is further hampering the housing recovery.
Prudent lending to home buyers and home builders who need credit to build viable projects in communities that want and need them would go a long way into pumping life into the tepid recovery.
Recognizing the importance of the nation's home building industry in spurring and sustaining economic growth, the lieutenant governors highlighted that constructing 100 homes creates more than 300 full-time jobs, $23.1 million in wage and business income and $8.9 million in federal, state and local tax revenue. These tax dollars are desperately needed to help local governments to provide essential services such as schools, roads, and police and firefighter protection.
"There is pent up demand for homes in many parts of the country and America's home builders stand ready to do their part," said Rutenberg. "However a full-fledged housing and economic recovery will not take hold until Washington policymakers recognize that housing and homeownership must remain a national priority."