CA Governor Signs New $10,000 Home Buyer’s Credit Bill
California homeowners might be seeing another $10,000 tax credit offer soon. Despite the economic woes of the state, the governor has signed a bill offering this tax credit to home buyers.
Is this sound business judgment? California has a $20.7 billion deficit in the general fund budget over the next 16 months and owes $8.8 billion in short-term loans that have to be paid off by June. There is an additional $120-plus billion in outstanding bonds and interest that will be paid over decades. The state’s pension fund, CalPers, has $16.3 billion more in liabilities than assets plus California also faces a $51.8 billion for the health and dental benefits of state retirees and future retirees.
The bottom line for California, is that it has the lowest credit rating of any state in the nation, just above junk bond status. One major problem is the rise in California’s debt-service ratio (DSR). That is, the ratio of annual general fund debt–service costs to annual general fund revenues and transfers. This is often used as one indicator of the state’s debt burden. The higher it is and more rapidly it rises, the more closely bond raters, financial analysts, and investors tend to look at the state’s debt practices, and the more debt–service expenses limit the use of revenues for other programs. Debt servicing is projected to comprise 9% of general fund revenues by the end of 2014-15. According to Bloomberg News, the market believes a developing country like Kazakhstan, with about 15.7 million people, is less likely to default on its debt than California, which is the eighth largest economy in the world.
Despite the economic woes of the state, the new (some say extension of the 2009 new home credit) bill, AB 183 will provide $200 million for home buyer tax credits, allocating $100 million for qualified first-time home buyers of existing homes and $100 million for purchasers of new, or previously unoccupied, homes. The eligible taxpayer who purchases a qualified personal residence on and after May 1, 2010, and on or before Dec. 31, 2010, or who purchases a qualified principal residence on and after Dec. 31, 2010, and closes the sale before Aug. 1, 2011, will be able to take the allowed tax credit. The credit is equal to the lesser of 5 percent of the purchase price or $10,000, in equal installments over three consecutive years. Purchasers will be required to live in the home for at least two years or forfeit -repay the credit. (Before acting on this preliminary information for the tax credit, one should first consult your legal/tax professional.)
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