Politico Details How National Association of Home Builders Makes Bad Tax Policy on Capitol Hill

May 1, 2008

Today’s Politico had a story detailing how the National Association of Home Builders yields excessive influence in the tax policymaking process, seeking to have resources flow its way at the expense of economic efficiency.

The nation’s home builders are switching lobbying tacks as the industry seeks relief from the mounting housing crisis.

The National Association of Home Builders announced Wednesday that its new top priority is to secure passage of a tax credit for first-time homebuyers, worth up to $7,500, that’s part of a housing tax package approved by the House Ways and Means Committee.

After intense analysis and internal polling, the association concluded that the tax credit was the most stimulative policy option on the table, said Jerry Howard, the group’s executive vice president and chief executive officer.

“Our members overwhelmingly believe that this tax credit concept is just the ticket to get them out of the doldrums,” he said. “They’ve given us the marching orders to shift our focus.”

The decision comes after months of pursuing another policy option to help the industry through the economic slowdown — a tax provision to allow home builders and other hard-hit industries apply current losses to past tax years and claim refunds.

In early April, the Senate passed its own housing bill that included just such a “carry back” provision. It would cost $6.1 billion over 10 years.

Let’s see. Members of Congress can listen to the National Association of Home Builders who is set to reap windfalls from the provision and says more tax credits for housing is good, or they can listen to every tax research organization in Washington (left and right) who has little financial stake on the issue and says more tax credits for housing is bad? Guess who they will choose?

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