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Organizing your community to bring public attention to builder’s bad deeds and seeking assistance from local, state and federal elected officials has proven to be more effective and much quicker for thousands of families. You do have choices and alternatives.  Janet Ahmad

Homebuilding industry lobbies for Big Tax Break Rewards for its Predatory Lending
Saturday, 26 April 2008

The National Association of Home Builders spent $3.2 million lobbying the federal government last year, focusing on housing and environmental issues.

The trade group lobbied on regulation of government-sponsored mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, affordable housing, redevelopment of environmentally damaged areas, eminent domain, energy efficiency, terrorism insurance, immigration reform, endangered species issues and tariffs for lumber and cement imports.

The trade group spent $2 million lobbying in the second half of 2007, according to a form posted online Feb. 8 by the Senate's public records office. It spent $1.2 million lobbying in the first half of the year.

So far this year, the builders group has been especially active in pushing for legislation designed to jump-start the lethargic housing market. It favors an emergency tax break that would let companies use losses from this year and next year to offset profits earned over the previous four years, instead of the usual two-year timeframe and a tax credit of $7,500 for first-time home buyers, estimated to cost $3.8 billion over 10 years.

Tighter lending standards, rising defaults among borrowers with weak credit and falling home prices have meant fewer buyers for struggling homebuilders, such as D.R. Horton Inc., Pulte Homes Inc., Lennar Corp., Centex Corp. and Toll Brothers Inc.

The builder group's chief executive, Jerry Howard, said in a statement last week that a temporary tax credit for home buyers "would provide the best stimulus for housing and the economy."

Earlier this year, the builders were so distressed by what they saw as lawmakers' lack of attention to the housing market in an economic stimulus bill signed by President Bush in February that the trade group's political action committee halted contributions to congressional candidates' campaigns.

Besides Congress, the group lobbied agencies including the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Transportation and Treasury.

Lobbyists are required to disclose activities that could influence members of the executive and legislative branches, under a federal law enacted in 1995.

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