On their misguided approach to tax reform:
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all for coming. Welcome to the White House. I'm pleased to sign a bill that will help homeowners who are struggling with rising mortgage payments. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 will protect families from higher taxes when they refinance their homes. It will help hardworking Americans take steps to avoid foreclosure during a period of uncertainty in the housing market. I want to thank members of Congress for getting this bill passed. I appreciate it very much.
In recent months, our nation's housing market has faced serious strains. Home values have fallen in many parts of our country. At the same time, many homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages have seen their monthly payments increase faster than their ability to pay. And now some homeowners face the prospect of foreclosure. The bill I sign today will help this effort by ensuring that refinancing a mortgage does not result in a higher tax bill. Under current law, if the value of your house declines and your bank or lender forgives a portion of your mortgage, the tax code treats the amount forgiven as money that can be taxed. And of course, this makes a difficult situation even worse. When you're worried about making your payments, higher taxes are the last thing you need to worry about.
And higher taxes for struggling families is the last thing the GOP should be considering. Here's another glaring contradiction: Republicans in the General Assembly passed a law that NC environmental regulations for polluting industries can't be more stringent than Federal regulations, but taxing citizens more than the Federal government does is okay. The GOP leadership has run off the rails, and it's time for more rank-and-file Republicans to vote their conscience.