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Housing Finance Reform

Housing Finance Reform: Housing is an enormous sector of our economy. We never go into recession without housing leading us in. And, we never come out without housing recovering. Arguably, part of the reason that our current economic recovery is so tepid is because the housing recovery is very weak. When you consider the construction of new houses, the sales of existing houses, the construction and remodel and renting of apartments, the home improvement industry and so forth, it represents a tremendous amount of employment, economic activity and is fundamental to a standard of living. And, none of it moves without adequate financing. Hardly anyone buys, builds or improves a house or apartment paying cash. Pretty much everyone needs to borrow some money.

The method under which most people borrowed that money during the last 70 years was through the assistance of the “government sponsored enterprises”, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And, it worked pretty well for most of those 70 years. But, as we all well know, both enterprises failed rather spectacularly in 2008 and were a major component of the economic crash that year. The… Read More

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Pro-Taxpayer Legislation Advances

A key Senate tax committee today voted 9-0 to advance legislation I am sponsoring to empower California’s tax agencies to better assist struggling taxpayers.

The bill will help California’s job creators who are survivors of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and give tax agencies the needed flexibility to deal fairly with taxpayers who are victims of California’s economy.

More specifically, Senate Bill 228 (Wyland) would permit the Board of Equalization, Franchise Tax Board and State Controller to “withdraw” a lien when a taxpayer pays an outstanding liability in full—removing the lien from the taxpayer’s credit record.

Under current law, when a taxpayer falls behind on payments, California’s tax agencies may place a lien on that taxpayer’s personal property.

Once a taxpayer pays the outstanding liability in full, California tax agencies may “release” the lien. However, the release does not remove the lien from a taxpayer’s credit record,… Read More

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