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Nov 19, 2009 1:50 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Bishop visits first-time homebuyers helped by tax credit

Nov 19, 2009 1:50 PM

Laura and Carey McKinney of Hampton Bays bought their first house earlier their month with the help of an $8,000 tax credit from the federal government.

When U.S. Representative Tim Bishop of Southampton visited the McKinneys’ new home on Friday, he cited it as evidence of the effectiveness of the tax credit program, which he voted to extend earlier this month.

The program, which offers an $8,000 tax credit to people buying their first home, aims to spur people to buy houses in an effort to stimulate the economy. The tax credit was originally part of the stimulus bill signed into law in February, and was set to end on November 30. The bill that Mr. Bishop voted for earlier this month extends the program to April 30, 2010, while also extending other stimulus programs like unemployment insurance benefits.

President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on November 6.

“This is the homeowner version of Cash for Clunkers,” Mr. Bishop said as he stood in the McKinneys’ unfurnished living room, conversing with aides and local realtors.

The McKinneys closed on the 996-square-foot house about two weeks ago and plan to move in with their 6-year-old son, Kavesh, at the end of the month. They said the tax credit was a factor in their decision to leave the house they rent on nearby Rampasture Road and buy the Nassau Avenue home for $323,000.

“It’ll go right back into the house,” Mr. McKinney said, referring to the $8,000, which he and his wife expect to receive when they file their taxes for 2009. “She wants a new kitchen.”

The family is pouring work into the new house. Mr. McKinney, an electrician, has been doing all the electric work himself, putting in about 100 hours per week for the last two weeks, he said. In the weeks before they move in, they said they plan to finish painting, installing the bathroom, finishing the floors and putting in new baseboards and molding. When Mr. Bishop visited the home, a painter was putting a dark blue coat on what will be Kavesh’s room.

Mr. Bishop, who represents eastern Long Island in the House of Representatives, highlighted all the work going into the house as economically stimulative aspects of the tax credit plan. He said not only does it help the real estate market, but it creates work and fosters a demand for materials and supplies. This is part of the reason he and 330 other representatives voted to keep the program going another few months, he said.

“We put something in place, we saw that it worked and we decided to extend it,” he said.

The bill, called the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2009, also broadens the homebuyer tax credit program introduced in the original stimulus bill, allowing people with higher incomes to take advantage of it. Originally, an individual had to make less than $75,000, or $150,000 for a couple, to receive the tax credit. Now, the maximum is $125,000 for an individual and $225,000 for a couple. It also included a $6,500 tax credit for homebuyers who lived in their current home for five years or more.

As Mr. Bishop visited inside, Mr. McKinney circled his half-acre yard, pointing out the compost area he plans to convert into a vegetable garden for Mrs. McKinney, the side yard where he hopes to build a pool and the garage he wants to turn into a family room.

“I’m still waiting for someone to go, ‘wake up,’” he said.

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Congratulations on your new home!
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Nov 16, 09 11:29 AM
If the house has cost 331 instead of 323 they wouldn't have bought it? So, we all chipped in and gave them $8,000 toward their new house. A bit far-fetched. This giveaway is more public relations than anything.
By RichardBlumenthal (24), Westhampton Beach on Nov 16, 09 2:28 PM
Mr. Blumenthal, your devotion to ditto-head talking points is truly astounding. A good politician must be able to think on his or her own and, more importantly, to think outside of party ideology and focus on what is best for their constituents.

I looked through your site and I did not find one original idea. What I found was a republican party playbook that still clings to the flawed and failed policies of deregulation and tax cuts to the rich. How do you think this country got to the ...more
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Nov 19, 09 2:56 PM
What the heck is wrong with you, Blumenthal. This young couple is celebrating the good fortune of being able to buy a home in one of the most expenses places in America and OF COURSE the $8,000.00 helped!

People like you take every opportunity to criticize and stomp your feet, but they got a house and I for one am extremely happy for them.
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Nov 19, 09 3:35 PM
I think that Mr Blumenthal raises a valid question-if the $8,000 was not offered, would this couple have decided not to, or not been able to, purchase this house? It is a relatively safe assumption that $8000 is not a deal breaker--especially out here on the east end, in most cases. It is a pretty safe bet that this couple would've purchase a house anyway, even without the luxury of using there neighbors money.

You are very quick, peoplefirst, to turn this issue into a republican vs ...more
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Nov 19, 09 11:33 PM
I to just recently brought a house because NOW is the time to buy,I was paying $1600 to rent a 3 bedroom 1 and a 1/2 bath, plus utilities was around $300 to $600 depending on what time of year it was. My credit was/is shot.I have a full time job, I pay my bills I got a mortgage....U don't get the $8000 until U file your tax return ...So I also think that they would've purchased anyway.
By trini101 (2), hampton bays on Nov 19, 09 11:58 PM
If you too could benefit from the money, why belittle the 8 grand? By the way, Blumenthal is a right-wing, repub thinking of running for office so his political affiliation is fair game.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Nov 22, 09 10:35 AM
Congrats to all new home owners
By trini101 (2), hampton bays on Nov 19, 09 2:29 PM
Hear, hear!
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Nov 19, 09 3:36 PM
Read the NY Times, 11-15-09 business section, Gretchen Morgenson's column Fair Game " Home builders (you heard that right) get a gift " to see what else Bishop got for us in the stimulus program.
By fix-it-now (216), sag harbor on Nov 19, 09 11:27 PM
I personally feel that for the amount of money houses now a days cost, the tax credit should be more. And your really shouldn't have to so that much work to a house that costs $300,000 - that is ridiculous. Over 100 hrs. per week on electrical work??? Crazy
By LovedHerTown (132), southampton on Nov 20, 09 1:28 PM
How about we have no taxes on the sale of a home? Or the sale of any US based investment including real estate held for longer than 2 years? In other words, repeal the capital gains tax and let's invest in our own country again. Oh yeah, to balance the budget, have a windfall profits tax in 2010 on cash bonuses over $1 million paid in 2009. We can extend that tax law as well if it works well.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Nov 20, 09 6:04 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sounds good to me!
By fix-it-now (216), sag harbor on Nov 20, 09 6:48 PM
Congratulations to the McKinney's and their young son !!!!! It is clear without a tax stimulus this young couple would continue to pay the landlord, probably not spend money on appliances and a new kitchen, not plan on building a pool (and hiring local contractors) and our economy would remain stuck in the George Bush muck of 2007-08. So for those "free market" types that tout tax incentives ... but criticize the same remedies President Obama is promoting ..... see your hypocrisy?
By JimmyKBond (156), Hampton Bays on Nov 20, 09 6:15 PM
Look at it anyway you want. If the reality is that just a few more people buy homes because of the incentive, then it's working. These folks are going to wear out a path to Home Depot (just like anyone else) for the next six months, their purchase caused a real estate broker to earn a commission, someone had to survey the property, maybe they had to hire a local moving company. The leading economic indicator in this country is being stimulated, that's a very big deal. These folks are inserting ...more
By HarborDad (37), Sag Harbor on Nov 21, 09 2:14 AM
"Home resales far exceeded expectations last month, surging to the highest level in two and a half years as first-time buyers rushed to take advantage of an expiring tax credit."
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Nov 23, 09 10:33 AM
Another photo opp for the Pelosi want to be. Cap and Tax, porkulus, Health care, Afganistan, Iraq, Tarp! Vote this bum out
I am very happy for this couple but highly doubt the free 8 grand was a deal maker for them in buying the house. I could use 8 grand right now as well.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Nov 24, 09 12:20 PM