The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
Mortgage Foregiveness Tax Relief Act - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to extend through 2015 the exclusion from gross income of income attributable to the discharge of indebtedness on a principal residence.
Milwaukee's mayor wants to hire a top official to be in charge of clearing out hundreds of foreclosed and abandoned houses. Tom Barrett has asked the Common Council to approve a "foreclosure czar" as part of next year's city budget. The mayor is proposing almost $12 million, to start a long-running effort to clean up over 1,000 residential properties the city has taken over by foreclosures.
A state lawmaker wants to weed out tax scofflaws from county tax foreclosure auctions by making them pay three years of property taxes in advance. State Rep. Phil Cavanagh, D-Redford Township, plans to introduce the legislation this week. It would affect counties statewide but comes as complaints mount about the Wayne County sale. On Monday, The Detroit News reported that 80 percent of 18,568 properties sold at the county’s auction in the last two years are delinquent on taxes. Most are in Detroit and one study by a local nonprofit found that the city is owed more than $70 million.
The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the state Legislature was allowed to use $50 million from a federal mortgage settlement to prop up the states general fund for expenses. The East Valley Tribune reported the court let stand a lower court ruling that Attorney General Tom Horne was not required to spend the money just helping homeowners who were facing foreclosure.
How big is Seattle’s housing crisis? And what are we going to do about it? Those questions have been provoking debate over the past week in the wake of a report submitted to City Council by Cornell University law school professor Robert Hockett. So far, the first question has generated the most attention. The report Hockett turned in last Wednesday painted a surprisingly bleak picture. “Seattle has about 42,000 underwater mortgaged homes,” Hpckett wrote. “That is over one third—about 33.3 percent of Seattle’s mortgage total, a remarkable statistic.” It’s even more troubling, Hockett noted, because underwater homes – homes whose mortgages are larger than what they would fetch on the market – are particularly susceptible to falling into foreclosure.