Hempstead Town Officials Call on Feds to Maintain Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction for Homeowners

For many Hempstead Town residents, a home is their biggest investment, entailing serious financial responsibility. Accordingly, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, with Receiver of Taxes Donald Clavin, Town Clerk Mark Bonilla, Senior Councilman Anthony Santino and fellow Councilmembers Ed Ambrosino, Angie Cullin, James Darcy and Gary Hudes, are calling on the Long Island congressional delegation and our U.S. senators to maintain a critically important tax break for middle class homeowners.

The tax break - the mortgage interest tax deduction -- acts as both an incentive for potential homebuyers and relief for current homeowners. As federal lawmakers continue to address the federal government's debt crisis, they are considering a plan that includes an unwarranted elimination or reduction of the mortgage interest tax deduction.

"In a floundering economy, the last thing we need is be to reducing incentives for potential homebuyers, while creating more of a hardship on homeowners," Murray said. "We're calling on our federal representatives to retain this popular tax break that benefits homeowners, homebuyers and the economy as a whole."

Hempstead Town officials have contacted U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Peter King, both key representatives in the majority parties of their respective houses. Senator Schumer and Congressman King have vowed to fight for the continuation of the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction.

"Thank you to Senator Schumer and Congressman King for standing with us on this important issue," Clavin said. "We hope their colleagues follow suit and fight for this important program."

In addition to the financial hardship endured by home owners and buyers, abolishing the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction would negatively impact an entire industry, including realtors, builders, bankers, appraisers, developers, contractors and trades that benefit from home building and sales.

"Eliminating the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction would be devastating to both our local and national economy," Ambrosino said. "The pain would trickle down through the housing industry."

"The struggling housing industry can ill afford to take another hit," Darcy said. "We must stop lawmakers from removing a vital incentive for home buyers."

"Removing an important incentive like the mortgage interest tax deduction will discourage homebuyers and negatively impact an entire industry," Cullin said.

"We need to provide incentives to homebuyers, not eliminate them," Hudes added.

Even local municipalities, including Hempstead Town, have absorbed the effects of an industry in decline. Mortgage recording revenues, a critical source of funding for the town, have declined drastically since 2007, when Hempstead Town collected approximately $42 million in mortgage recording revenue. In 2010, the township received $13.4 million in this area - a 68-percent decrease over three years.

"The trend does not appear to be improving, and abolishing this important incentive will certainly make things worse," Santino said.

"I urge our entire Long Island delegation to stand together and fight for this important tax break that benefits residents across our township," Murray concluded. "I am grateful for the leadership and support shown by Senator Schumer and Congressman King on this critical issue."