Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson spelled out a new plan to jump start the housing industry in a speech in Walker County on Tuesday.
The plan features a $15,000 tax credit to entice individuals to purchase a home in the next year.
Sen. Isakson spoke at a luncheon held at the Walker County Civic Center. An estimated 200 realtors and business people from around the Greater North Georgia and Chattanooga area attended.
The plan, which has unanimously passed the Senate, now goes on to the House of Representatives. If passed there, it goes to the desk of President Obama.
Sen. Isakson told the gathering, “Our economic crisis started with housing, and our economy will continue to suffer unless we do something now to immediately fix the housing problem. I’m pleased my colleagues in the Senate understand the importance of creative targeted incentives that will encourage Americans to buy homes again.”
The amendment to the stimulus bill offered by Sen. Isakson provides a direct tax credit to any homebuyer who purchases any home. The amount of the tax credit would be $15,000, or 10 percent of the purchase price, whichever is less.
During conference negotiations between the House and Senate on the final version of the bill, Isakson’s $15,000 tax credit for all purchasers of any home was removed. Instead, House and Senate negotiators made only small modifications to the first-time homebuyer tax credit that was enacted in 2008 as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, he said.
Sen. Isakson, a career-long realtor himself, said he has pushed hard for a non-repayable tax credit for homebuyers because he knows that it will work. He said his experience was garnered from more than three decades in the real estate business.
He began his career in 1967 when he opened the first Cobb County, Ga., office of a small, family-owned real estate business, Northside Realty.
He later served as president of Northside for 20 years, presiding over the company’s growth into the largest independent residential real estate brokerage company in the Southeast U.S. and one of the largest in America.