KOHL LAUDS BOOSTS FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING, CHILD CARE AND HOMEOWNER TAX RELIEF IN BUDGET RESOLUTION
More than 640,000 Wisconsin Taxpayers Get Relief in Senate Plan
Today, US Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) applauded the final version of the FY09 Budget Resolution, which the Senate passed late last night, for including major boosts in federal funds for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program and the Child Care Development Block Grant program -- increases that would directly benefit Wisconsin if the plan is enacted into law.
In addition, an amendment was adopted to include a provision supported by Senator Kohl to create a new standard deduction for homeowners. This will provide relief to hardworking middle class families who do not itemize; in Wisconsin, more than 641,000 taxpayers stand to benefit from this provision.
"To ensure our communities can thrive, it is essential that we not only continue these initiatives that have led to great improvements in our neighborhoods and have helped thousands afford housing, but also strengthen them," Kohl said. "This budget resolution holds great promise for Wisconsin in improving our communities and putting housing and homeownership within reach for so many families.
"Especially in light of the current housing market crisis, Congress must do everything in its power to combat foreclosure and encourage homeownership. This new deduction does exactly that by providing real relief for working families coping with high property taxes.
"Additionally, this plan would improve access to child care for working families with small children. I am proud to have pushed for these increases that, if enacted, would greatly benefit the quality of life for so many in Wisconsin."
*Community Block Development Grants & Section 8 Housing Vouchers*
Specifically, the resolution provides $4 billion for the CDBG program for fiscal year 2009, a $68 million increase from last year. Under the proposal, Wisconsin would receive approximately $74 million to expand affordable housing and homeownership options, and create job opportunities through neighborhood revitalization and community improvement projects. This is in comparison to President Bush's requested funding level of $3 billion for CDBG, which would provide Wisconsin with $54 million - $20 million less than the Senate Budget Resolution. For the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, the legislation provides $2.8 million to assist low-income homeowners and renters.
The increases, which Senator Kohl fought to include in the legislation, would deliver results to Wisconsin in helping to improve communities through neighborhood revitalization and economic development, expand affordable housing options and ensure child care for more working families throughout the state. In addition to housing assistance, the CBDG has provided funding for job training and employment services such as the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership Inc., local economic development corporations, homebuyer counseling and youth services, among other important community partnerships.
*Child Care Development Block Grants*
The Senate plan also provides $2.5 billion for the Child Care Development Block Development Grant program (CCDBG), a $409 million increase over the FY 2008 level. CCDBG funding is crucial to making child care more affordable for working families -- in Wisconsin, more than 30,000 children are served by this valuable program. Under the budget resolution, Wisconsin would receive approximately $36 million in CCDBG funding -- $6 million more than the state would receive under President Bush's budget.