Alexander: Bipartisan Economic Growth Package Could Help Cheatham County Small Businesses

Urges Tennessee Homeowners Facing Foreclosure to Take Advantage of New Program

Posted on February 20, 2008

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told the Cheatham County Kiwanis Club today that that the bipartisan economic growth package signed by President Bush last week could boost as many as 535 Cheatham County businesses — most of them small businesses. Alexander also said that Congress should act immediately on legislation he is sponsoring with Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) to give a $15,000 tax credit over three years to buyers of new and foreclosed homes. Alexander said the growth package signed by President Bush will temporarily • Allow businesses to deduct 50 percent of the costs of purchases of new equipment. • Increase small business expensing limits to $250,000 – up from $128,000 – and increase the phase-out to $800,000 from $510,000. “These temporary changes in the tax code should allow small business to earn more and create more jobs, which, in turn, will provide a much-needed shot in the arm to the economy,” Alexander said. Alexander said he will introduce legislation to make the tax code changes permanent “as a way of keeping a strong, vibrant economy producing good, new jobs.” The new law also provides tax rebates to 2.7 million Tennesseans, which will put more money in our local economy. Alexander said the tax credit “would help attract buyers back into the housing marketplace. It helped ease the housing slowdown in the 1970s, and it would work again today.” Alexander said that Tennessee was eighth highest in the country during the third quarter of 2007 in the number of homeowners whose mortgage payments were delinquent —making their homes subject to foreclosure. “This is a 54 percent increase in Tennessee mortgage delinquencies over two years, from 53,800 delinquencies in the third quarter of 2005 to 82,700 in the third quarter of 2007,” Alexander said, citing statistics from the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. “The Isakson-Alexander legislation will stimulate demand for new and foreclosed homes, reduce the inventory, and help stabilize the market.” Alexander also urged homeowners in foreclosure or facing the possibility of foreclosure to take advantage of the new Project Lifeline partnership announced last week, which already includes six of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders. Under the program, lenders will work with individual homeowners on a step-by-step plan to help them modify their loans and remain in their homes. The program would allow some homeowners to avoid foreclosure for 30 days while they work with their lenders. “Thanks to Project Lifeline, a simple phone call may help Americans facing foreclosure keep their homes,” Alexander said. Project Lifeline applies to qualifying borrowers who are at least three months late and will give step-by-step instructions to help. Homeowners must do the following to be evaluated for a loan modification: ? Call their loan servicer within ten days of receiving the notice. ? Tell the loan servicer that they have received the letter, they want to stay in the home, and they are willing to seek counseling, if necessary. ? Provide updated financial information so the loan servicer can explore the appropriate solution. To learn more about Project Lifeline, call 1-888-995-HOPE. ###