Urge Congress to revive housing

America is still struggling through a recession. An economic recovery, however, will not be possible if Congress does not focus on reviving housing.

The housing industry makes up nearly 15 percent of the country's gross domestic product and, when it is healthy, it provides much-needed jobs and revenue for America.

Nationally, according to estimates from economists at the National

Association of Home Builders, three full-time jobs are created for every new single-family home built.

In Clallam County, a healthy housing industry not only provides jobs but brings revenue to the state and local economies. The numbers below are from a report prepared in late 2007 for our county when Elliot Eisenberg, senior economist with the NAHB, visited our area.

In the first year, the impact of 100 newly built single-family homes equates to:

_ $20.3 million in local income

_ $2 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments

_ 506 local jobs

After the first year, the recurring benefits are:

_ $3.6 million in local income

_ $967,000 in taxes and other revenue for local governments

_ 98 local jobs

I am asking you to contact Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Rep. Norm Dicks to ask them to address the following items in order to help restore America and revive housing:

_ Extend the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit for an additional year and make it available to all home buyers.

_ Correct a faulty appraisal process.

_ Improve housing credit conditions.

_ Expand the tax code's net operating loss carryback provision for businesses to help prevent further layoffs.

Go to to send them an e-mail. If Congress extends the tax credit program, it would spur 383,000 more home sales, including 80,000 housing starts down the road as the increased sales help deplete the current inventory of unsold homes. This stimulus will create nearly 350,000 jobs nationally over the coming year.

You can make your voice heard by letting your members of Congress know that housing equals jobs and to restore America, we must revive housing.

FaLeana Wech is executive officer and government affairs director of the North Peninsula Building Association.

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