Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 11:46 pm
|As members of TVNL find interesting and timely reports about the various campaigns going on around the country, would you please post them here? I will start the thread with a report about the misleading campaign of one of the most repulsive:
Florida's KATHERINE HARRIS
...yes, THAT Katherine Harris, the one who helped George Bush steal the 2000 election.
Harris pads role, impact on housing, reports say
By Larry Lipman
Palm Beach Post Washington Bureau
Thursday, July 13, 2006
WASHINGTON — [b]On the campaign trail and in her literature, U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris boasts that, as a freshman member of Congress, she passed the American Dream Downpayment Act, "enabling 4.5 million low-income workers to own their first home while growing the U.S. economy by $256 billion."
Federal reports indicate Harris' claims are grossly exaggerated
A Government Accountability Office report issued June 30 found that, through 2005, only $98.5 million of the $211 million Congress appropriated had been used by local governments to help more than 13,000 low-income families buy new homes — far below her claim of 4.5 million.
Harris also has taken projections of the Bush administration's goals for expanding minority homeownership and used them as the basis of her claims for the economic impact of the American Dream Downpayment Act.
Harris' congressional spokesman, Gerry Fritz, conceded Wednesday that the claims in her campaign literature were inaccurate.
"Someone in the campaign made an error," he said, acknowledging that Harris' figures came from a 2002 Department of Housing and Urban Development report that predicted President Bush's goal of expanding minority homeownership by 5.5 million families "will stimulate an additional $256 billion in benefits to the housing sector of the U.S. economy."
Harris, R-Longboat Key, is seeking the Republican nomination to oppose Sen. Bill Nelson, the Democratic incumbent, in November. She has been repeating her claims for months in front of campaign audiences.
Last week, addressing the Fort Lauderdale Young Republicans, Harris said: "I sponsored a bill called the American Dream Downpayment Act. It lets low-income folks buy their first home. The president said 4.5 million folks will be able to own their own home from this.... It's a $256 billion economic impact to our economy."
Fritz said he was not sure how the mistake became part of Harris' stock speech.
"It's not intentional on her part to mislead anyone," he said. "She's very proud of the American Dream Downpayment Act."
Peter Monroe, one of three Republicans facing Harris in the Sept. 5 primary, has challenged her "significant, material misrepresentations in her brochures and when she talks about her record."
It is difficult to campaign "when people are not being entirely truthful," Monroe said. "There seems to be a fairly consistent pattern of false information being given to the voters."
Monroe also said the Downpayment Act was a strange bill for a Republican to sponsor because it is a throwback to Democratic President Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society." He cited a report that the conservative Heritage Foundation published before the bill's passage, calling it a "wasteful and counterproductive extravagance."
The recently released GAO report also countered Harris' claims about the effect of the act. It concluded that, because of inadequate data collection, the "accomplishments attributable to the (act) are not known."
The measure "has not had a significant impact on the homeownership rates of selected participating jurisdictions due to modest funding levels and the newness of the program," the GAO report said.
Harris introduced her bill on March 13, 2003, barely two months after taking office. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate a month later by Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo. The bill that finally passed Congress on Dec. 8, 2003, was the Senate version and was incorporated into a much broader housing assistance law.
Under the Downpayment Act, Congress was authorized to spend $200 million a year in fiscal 2004 through 2007 to help low-income, first-time buyers purchase a home by covering the greater of $10,000 or 6 percent of the price (within limits) for down payment, closing costs and limited rehabilitation assistance.
Despite the $200 million annual authorization, Congress has never fully funded the program. It allocated $87 million in fiscal 2004, $49.6 million in 2005 and $24.8 million this year. Florida's share through 2005 was $5.5 million.
The GAO report found that even HUD's estimate of the act's helping 13,000 families was suspect because the figures included "an unknown number of (non-act) projects that provided down payment assistance to first-time buyers."
Local officials informed the GAO that the program had mixed success. In parts of the country with low housing costs, it has provided substantial assistance. But in many jurisdictions, the high cost of housing and the low income of recipients made it difficult to use the program without combining the act's funds with other federal housing money.
For example, in Los Angeles, the median price of homes bought through the Downpayment Act was $264,000 but the median mortgage was about $142,000, leaving a gap of $122,000. Because the act would provide only about $15,840 in assistance for the median home, that gap had to be filled through other housing programs, when possible.
With other housing programs often using different criteria, the report noted that it could be difficult to combine programs to provide enough assistance.
The GAO report noted that many jurisdictions received such a small amount through the Downpayment Act that it had no significant impact. For example, Modesto, Calif., received about $36,000 in 2005 and $18,000 in 2006. But the typical gap there between an eligible family's mortgage and a home's purchase price was about $70,000.
The act, by itself, could not fully help a single family in Modesto.
In Amarillo, Texas, the $35,000 grant for 2005 and the $17,000 for 2006 were expected to be enough to help four families.
Thus, "it may be some time before a significant number of households are assisted so (as) to have an appreciable impact on homeownership rates, particularly at current funding levels," the GAO report said.
Link: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/localnews/ ... 7&cxcat=17
"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."
Honore de Balzac
"Democrats work to help people who need help.
That other party, they work for people who don't need help.
That's all there is to it."
~Harry S. Truman
Last edited by Catherine on Sun Nov 12, 2006 5:15 am, edited 1 time in total.