In August, while many Americans were vacationing and making the most of the waning days of summer, the NAHB’s grassroots members were conducting an intensive legislative campaign to extend the first-time home buyer tax credit.
During August’s Congressional break, builders and HBAs around the country answered the NAHB’s call to action and met with their senators and representatives to emphasize the need to extend the tax credit, which expires on Dec. 1. Joined by business associates, customers, and members of the public, they urged Congress to extend the tax credit for another year and to make it available to all buyers purchasing a principal residence, not just first-time home buyers.
Members and HBAs also focused attention on the urgent need to correct the faulty appraisal process that is derailing about a quarter of all new-home sales; to end the credit crunch for acquisition, development, and construction (AD&C) loans; and to expand Net Operating Loss (NOL) carryback provisions for businesses.
And the effort wasn’t limited to just hometown meetings with members of Congress. For example, the HBA of Greater Kansas City (Mo.) took the campaign to the Internet via a 10-minute video on YouTube. The heartfelt stories about having to lay off friends and long-time employees were sometimes hard to watch. But they were compelling, and they resulted in significant local news coverage.
All of these endeavors were part of a larger association-wide campaign, “Revive Housing, Restore America.” The NAHB created the campaign to take a crucial message to Congress: Housing and the economy are at a dangerous crossroads, and Congress must focus attention on housing to spur job growth and move the economy forward.
Admittedly, there have been some positive developments in the housing market recently, and confidence is trending up. But the economy is extremely fragile, and jobs continue to disappear at an alarming rate.
That’s why Congress needs to take bold, meaningful action now. Housing is one of the few sectors that can spur today’s lackluster economy and quickly put America back to work. Extending the tax credit would create nearly 350,000 jobs over the coming year, helping to push the economy back onto solid ground.
The NAHB has been working non-stop on Capitol Hill. It has also conducted more than a dozen media teleconferences featuring builders in various markets and association economists. These teleconferences have generated significant press coverage and are an integral part of the effort to take the campaign beyond Capitol Hill and out to the public.
Additionally, the NAHB has created a comprehensive set of resources to help HBAs and members in this important effort. They include:
Print advertisements and Web banners;
A press release template;
Sample letters to the editor;
An analysis of how many jobs extending the tax credit would create in each state;
Detailed analyses showing the economic and income impact of extending the tax credit on states and various economic sectors; and
A website where people can send letters to their members of Congress.
All of these resources and more are available at www.NAHB.org/ReviveHousingNow.