Housing: Help low-income purchasers, and housing developers
Bush’s main proposals on housing:
Creation of an “American Dream Downpayment Fund” to allow low-income families to use HUD rental vouchers to make a down payment on a home. Bush says this could help as many as 650,000 families become homeowners.
A tax break aimed at real estate investors that would provide them with tax credits of up to 50% of costs, totaling $1.7 billion over five years. This tax credit would provide incentives for private investors to redevelop single-family housing or
build new homes for low- and moderate-income Americans. Bush said he expects this plan would build or rehabilitate 100,000 homes in five years.
accounts giving tax credits and other financial incentives for low-income families to save money for a home purchase, for education costs, or to start a business.
Source: Washington Post, p. G5
Oct 28, 2000
Housing: Use HUD rental vouchers for first home purchase
Creation of an “American Dream Downpayment Fund,” which would allow low-income families to use up to a year’s worth of HUD Section 8 rental vouchers to make a down payment on a home. “When a low-income family is qualified to buy a house but comes up
short on the down payment, we will help them,” Bush said. “If they and the bank can come up with 25% of the down payment, the government will pay the rest, up to $1,500.” Section 8 vouchers can already be used to help with mortgage payments.
Source: Washington Post, p. G5
Oct 28, 2000
Bush’s Texan philosophy for the poor: up-by-the-bootstraps
From 1995 to 1998, the poverty rate in Texas decreased more than 10%, compared with an almost 9% drop nationwide. Tax cuts & economic reforms have resulted in the lowest state unemployment rate in nearly 20 years; welfare reform has cut public assistance
rolls in half; and legal changes have expanded the role of religious groups in helping the poor.
In many ways, Bush’s record dovetails with the Texas worldview, which places the burden for escaping poverty on the poor, not the government. Conservative
groups and analysts praise the governor and his actions precisely for their strong embrace of basic Republican philosophies. Texas has an up-by-the-bootstraps culture and people often loath to give-or ask for-help. The Texas Constitution prohibits the
Legislature from spending more than 1% of the state budget on poor children. Cash welfare benefits are $201 a month for a mother and two children in 1995. California, by comparison, pays $611 a month for a similar family.
Source: La Ganga & Miller, L.A. Times
Oct 16, 2000
Blueprint: promote charity, community, and safety
The Bush plan will:
Promote charitable giving. Allow all taxpayers, not just those who itemize, to claim a tax deduction for their donations to charity.
Strengthen faith-based groups. Permit faith-based groups to compete for
federal funds without forcing them to abandon those religious aspects of their programs that make them effective.
Protect the environment. Preserve America’s natural resources and National Parks.
Provide tools for the New Economy.
$400 million for free Internet access, computer training, and professional skills development through community technology centers.
Increase access for Americans with disabilities into community life through enforcement of laws and more than
$1 billion in new resources.
Reduce crime. Provide support to state and local police efforts. Strictly enforce existing gun laws, and increase support for drug interdiction, prevention and treatment.
Source: Blueprint for the Middle Class
Sep 17, 2000
Transform low-income rentals to home ownership
We will transform today’s housing rental program to help hundreds of thousands of low-income families find stability and dignity in a home of their own. And, in the next bold step of welfare reform, we will support the heroic work of homeless
shelters and hospices, food pantries and crisis pregnancy centers -- people reclaiming their communities block-by-block and heart-by-heart. My administration will give taxpayers new incentives to donate to charity.
Source: Speech to Republican National Convention
Aug 3, 2000
Focus welfare on transition to work & responsibility
Bush has called for a $8 billion plan to get religious and other volunteer organizations to assume more responsibilities for the needy. He supports welfare time limits, work and education requirements. He has proposed a requirement that unwed
teen mothers live at home or in group home. In Texas, Bush proposed increased child-care aid and other transition benefits.
Source: NY Times
Jun 5, 2000
$1.7B over 5 years for home rehabs in poor neighborhoods
Bush today unveiled a plan to encourage private developers to build and rehabilitate houses in run-down, struggling neighborhoods. The incentive would be money: $1.7 billion, over five years, in federal tax credits for developers working in poor and
moderate-income areas. Bush estimated that the program would make work easier on as many as 20,000 houses a year. More important, he said, it would introduce to an increasing number of Americans the experience of home ownership, which he described as a
fundamental aspiration that should be more easily attainable. “Part of the American dream is owning your own home,” Bush said. “Part of the American dream is saying, This place is mine.” In recognition of that, Mr. Bush said, he continually asks-and
tries to answer-the question, “How do I help people own? Not just those who are entrepreneurs or those at the top of the economic ladder-how do we help every willing heart, everybody in America, own a piece of this great land? And I’ve got some ideas.”
Source: Frank Bruni, NY Times, part of “Renewing America’s Purpose”
Apr 19, 2000
50% tax credits for 20,000 home rehabs per year
Bush would allow developers to apply for as much as 50% of the cost of their work on certain houses in tax credits. The houses in question would have to be for people making no more than 80% of the median family income in their area-nationally, the
median is about $51,000-and living in neighborhoods where most residents fall into the same income bracket. The impact of the plan, which Bush’s aides said could contribute to the building or rehabilitation of 100,000 houses over five years, would be
limited. But a Bush aide said the new housing initiative, like the others, was a supplement to an array of existing federal housing programs. “We’re not aiming today to solve the nation’s housing problems,” he said. “What we’ve proposed over the last
week is a bucket of new tools.” [Unlike Gore’s low-income housing plan, which is aimed at subsidizing rent], Bush’s initiatives are specifically aimed at home ownership, which he described as a catalyst for safer streets and better schools.
Source: Frank Bruni, New York Times
Apr 19, 2000
New Prosperity Initiative: rent vouchers; homeowner credits
To Expand Homeownership [as part of the New Prosperity Initiative], Governor Bush will:
Reform HUD’s Section 8 rental voucher program to permit recipients to use up to a year’s worth of vouchers to finance the down payment on a home.
Establish the “American Dream Down Payment Fund” to provide $1 billion of matching grants to lenders over five years to help as many as 650,000 low-income families, who are not enrolled in Section 8, to become homeowners.
To Build Savings and Personal Wealth, Governor Bush will:
Support the creation of more than 1 million Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) by providing
a tax credit to banks that match the savings of low-income earners, who can withdraw the matched funds tax free to finance a home, a business, or education.
$1B & tax credits for Individual Development Accounts
The 1996 Welfare Reform law allowed states to incorporate matched savings accounts-“Individual Development Accounts” (IDAs)-into their welfare programs. IDAs are designed to help low-income families accumulate wealth. Financial institutions, charities,
& faith-based groups match low-income depositors’ savings. Depositors can then withdraw the funds for education, homeownership, and entrepreneurship.
Bush believes the private sector should take the lead in encouraging IDAs. To help accelerate their
development, his New Prosperity Initiative will:
Support legislation encouraging low-income families to save and invest through IDAs
Provide $1 billion of tax credits over five years to sustain 1.3 million or more IDAs
Provide a 50% tax credit
to financial institutions that match deposits of up to $300 annually made by individuals making less than 60% of the area median income.
Banks will receive a Community Reinvestment Act credit equal to 10% of matched contributions.
“The hardest job in America is to be a single mom, making $20,000 a year,” Bush declared. He promised that as president, he would reduce the struggling woman’s marginal income tax rate and “knock down her tollbooth to the middle class.”
Source: Boston Globe, p. A1
Jan 22, 2000
Supports low-income heating oil assistance program
Bush said he strongly backed a federal program to provide heating oil assistance to low-income residents. “I do support LIHEAP,” Bush said, referring to the federal Low Income Heat & Energy Assistance Program, which has provided billions in relief to
families during the cold winter months. At last week’s debate, Bush said he would push for more oil exploration but did not mention LIHEAP. However, he said he has always backed the program and would oppose efforts in Congress to impose cuts.
Source: Boston Herald, p. 14
Dec 9, 1999
Work and responsibility to replace welfare
I proposed two sweeping welfare reform packages, to:
place time limits on welfare benefits;
require able-bodied welfare recipients to get a job, attend school, or train for work;
require participating mothers to identify the fathers of
their children so they could contribute to their support;
and emphasize personal responsibility by requiring welfare recipients to sign an independence contract pledging to stay drug-free and keep their kids immunized and in school.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p. 32
Dec 9, 1999
Too much government fosters dependency
The new culture said if people were poor, the government should feed them. If criminals are not responsible for their acts, then the answers are not in prisons, but in social programs. People became less interested in pulling themselves up by their
bootstraps and more interested in pulling down a monthly government check. A culture of dependency was born. Programs that began as a temporary hand-up became a permanent handout, regarded by many as a right.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p.229-230
Dec 9, 1999
George W. Bush on Faith-based organizations
Government solving social problems crowds out compassion
My concern about the role of the federal government is that an intrusive government, a government that says, ‘Don’t worry, we will solve your problems’ is a government that tends to crowd compassion out of the marketplace, that too often in the past
people said: ‘Somebody else will take care of the problem in my area. Don’t worry. The government is here.’
The problem with that point of view is that government can hand out money. No question about it. And we will in the Bush administration in a
responsible way. But what government cannot do is put hope in people’s hearts, a sense of purpose in people’s lives. Government cannot make people love one another. I wish it could. I’d sign the law.
I’m here for a reason: to make it as clear as I can
the power that faith can play in people’s lives, the notion that a soul searches for a better way and that there are programs throughout our society where a loving person puts an arm around a shoulder and says, ‘Somebody loves you, brother or sister.’
Source: Remarks at Cityteam Ministries, San Jose, CA
Oct 31, 2000
Devolve welfare to both state and private charities
A cornerstone of Bush’s campaign is “compassionate conservatism.” He wants to encourage the voluntary sector to deliver services to the poor. While not dismissing the role of the federal government, he is keen to devote
as much responsibility as possible to the states. He plans to:
encourage more private giving by making charitable contributions tax-deductible for all taxpayers
allow faith-based organizations a bigger role in spending public
funds to provide services for the needy
cut the bottom rate of federal income tax to 10% and double the $500 child tax credit
introduce tax credits to encourage poor Americans to buy health insurance, and to help them save
for the down payment on a house
expand Head Start and focus it on improving reading skills.
Source: The Economist, “Issues 2000” special
Sep 30, 2000
Fund faith-based private programs that promote independence
The cornerstone of Bush’s welfare reform agenda gives states the flexibility to fund private, public or faith based programs that successfully move people from welfare to work. Welfare reform is an ongoing mission. Through successful efforts in states
across America, millions of people have moved from welfare to work, and Bush says we must continue to help others develop the skills and find the jobs that will lead to truly independent lives. Bush said, “I have made welfare reform a priority as
Governor, and I will do so as president. I will renew our national commitment to the principles of welfare reform: Job training. Independence. Personal responsibility. A safety
net for those who still face struggle. And flexibility for the states, to continue doing the fine work we see here today.“
Source: Press Release, “Welfare Reform”
Jun 27, 2000
Compassion Capital Fund to foster church-based welfare
Proposals to Promote Faith-Based and Community Organizations:
Lift federal regulations that hamper faith-based institutions from involvement in the delivery of services to the needy
Expand ‘Charitable Choice’ to all federal social service
programs, allowing religious organizations to be eligible for funding on the same basis as any other provider, without impairing their religious character
Establish an ‘Office of Faith-Based Action’ in the Executive Office of the President
Provide federal matching funds for the establishment of state offices of faith-based action
Promote alternative licensing regimes that recognize religious training as an alternative form of qualification for delivery of non-medical social
Establish a ‘Compassion Capital Fund’ a public/private partnership to identify and invest in charitable best practices
Provide civil liability protection for corporate in-kind donations of equipment or facilities to charities
“No-strings” vouchers for religious groups to do charity
Bush advocates letting government rely on religious groups to handle social issues. His attitude toward the federal role in administering [drug programs and other social] programs is, essentially, that the government should not have any restrictions at
all. “This is a program that receives no federal or state money. I asked the director, would you accept a voucher attached to a person seeking help? The director said yes, under only one condition: No strings. And I agree with that concept.”
Source: Boston Globe, p. A12
Jan 22, 2000
Religious charities deserve government support
Participation in faith-based programs must be voluntary, and we must make sure secular alternatives are available. But government should welcome the active involvement of people who are following a religious imperative to love their neighbors through
after-school programs, child care, drug treatment, maternity group homes, and a range of other services. Supporting these men and women. is the next bold step of welfare reform.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p.232
Dec 9, 1999
Churches provide “armies of compassion” to help the poor
Bush spoke so often about “armies of compassion” -- the phrase he uses to communicate his idea that churches and charity groups, rather than Government, should assist the poor -- that he sounded like something of a drill sergeant. Bush’s aides said the
Baptist church at which Bush spoke was chosen because it was known for for helping the poor with its own resources. “Government can hand out money,” Bush said. “But what it cannot do is put hope in our hearts and a sense of purpose in our lives.”
Source: New York Times, p. A18
Oct 5, 1999
Look first to faith-based organizations
“In every instance where my administration sees a responsibility to help people, we will look first to faith-based organizations, charities and community groups that have shown their ability to save and change lives.” Governor Bush has stressed the
necessity of encouraging acts of compassion. “These aren’t ‘crumbs of compassion’ to people whose lives are changed, they are the hope of renewal. These are not the crumbs, they are the bread of life. They are strengthening the soul of America,” he said.
Source: News Release: “Great Outdoors”
Aug 11, 1999
Religious groups compete for state service contracts
In 1996, Bush allowed religious-based organizations to compete for Texas state contracts to provide welfare services while maintaining their “unique ecclesiastical nature.” The Governor’s Faith-based Task Force [led to laws which]:
care facilities to be accredited by private sector entities.
Exempts licensing for alcohol & drug treatment programs which rely exclusively on faith.
Protects from legal liability those who donate medical devices in good faith.
Source: GeorgeWBush.com/News/ “Faith in Action”
Jun 12, 1999
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