California faces a $20 billion budget deficit. Brad Sherman introduced the Zero Cost Economic Recovery Act. Under this bill, the federal government would guarantee state and local bonds, allowing California to borrow funds at low rates. This will cost the federal government nothing while allowing California to provide jobs by beginning important water, road and high-speed rail projects.
Improving Valley Transportation
The Stimulus Bill included millions in federal funding to help accelerate construction of a carpool lane and ramp improvements on both the 405 and 5 Freeways. The 405 Freeway Sepulveda Pass widening project, which broke ground last year, will benefit from $190 million in stimulus funds. Los Angeles will also use nearly $24 million from the Stimulus Bill to resurface streets, install new traffic signals and improve highway-rail grade crossings throughout the San Fernando Valley.
Fighting to Save Entertainment Jobs
A recent study has found that the motion picture industry loses $20.5 billion annually due to phony DVDs and other piracy. This costs nearly 150,000 new American jobs, many in the San Fernando Valley. Brad Sherman cosponsored and helped pass the PRO-IP Act, which is improving the enforcement of intellectual property laws and has increased the penalties for piracy.
Keeping Mortgages Affordable
Brad Sherman has been a longtime supporter of increasing the single-family conforming loan limit and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan limit in the Valley and other high-cost areas. Until early 2008, the national single-family conforming loan limit -- the maximum size of the mortgage loans that Fannie and Freddie could buy -- was $417,000, even in high-cost areas such as the San Fernando Valley. Additionally, the FHA insurable limit was only $362,000, far too low to be of use to many homeowners and prospective homebuyers in the Valley.
Congressman Sherman helped pass the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, which permanently increased the single-family conforming loan limit and the FHA loan limit in high-cost areas to $625,500. In order to help stabilize home values and reinvigorate our struggling housing market, Brad Sherman also successfully fought for a temporary increase to $729,750 for high-cost areas in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Accordingly, Congressman Sherman introduced the Increasing Homeownership Opportunities Act, legislation that would make the $729,750 figure permanent.
Homebuyer Tax Credit
The Housing and Economic Recovery Act created a tax credit for first-time homebuyers, which Congress subsequently expanded to $8,000. Last year, Brad Sherman cosponsored legislation to extend the expiration date of the credit to June 30, 2010, and provide a separate $6,500 credit to certain other homebuyers. These credits, while temporary, have helped to stabilize residential real estate values by encouraging home purchases.