Gov’t. Financial Squeeze = Homeowner Squeeze?

The mortgage-interest deduction has been a political no-go zone for decades. The same for local property-tax write-offs. But with billowing deficits and the need to raise trillions to help pay for health-care reform and the economic stimulus bills, somewhere, somehow, Congress is going to be pressed to raise revenue.

–Kenneth Harney, “Going Where Congress Hasn’t Gone”; The Washington Post (8/29/09)

Kenneth Harney’s column today makes the (valid) point that just because Congress is in recess, doesn’t mean that policy shifts aren’t afoot.

In fact, Congressional staff are right now busily proposing all sorts of revenue-raising ideas to close gaping budget deficits as far as the eye can see.

“That’s Where the Money is”

At the top of the list: various proposals to limit the size of mortgages that qualify for interest deductions; eliminating the itemized deduction for state property taxes; and raising capital gains taxes.

To “lessen” the impact of the foregoing, Congress would employ incremental phase-in’s (for higher taxes) and phase-out’s (for deductions).

Locally, the City of Minneapolis is floating the idea of annual, 10%-15% property tax increases practically off into the sunset.

Why are homeowners such fat targets?

To paraphrase what Willie Sutton said when asked why he robbed banks: ‘because that’s where the deductions are.’

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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