Thursday, February 26, 2009

Houston Home Ownership Idea Draws Ire Across the US

by Janet Crain
The Houston mayor wanting to use taxpayers money to pay off private citizens' credit cards so they could qualify to buy a house is insane!

Owning a house is a privilege. Earned by saving and doing without. Why should those who did the right thing have to pay off people's credit cards who bought extravagant items and services?

Because easy credit was available and so tempting these people just couldn't help themselves? Cry me a river.

White backs off 'credit enhancement' with tax dollars

Houston plan 'hit a nerve across this country,' councilwoman says

Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle

Feb. 24, 2009, 11:21PM

Mayor Bill White yanked a controversial plan Tuesday that called for the city to use taxpayer funds to pay off some personal debts for first-time home buyers, following a flood of outrage and criticism from across the city and beyond.

“I don’t think we ought to be in the business of paying off someone’s debt so they can buy a house,” White conceded during an impassioned City Council meeting. “Paying off people’s credit cards is ridiculous.”

Many council members expressed “embarrassment” over the idea, which received national media attention after the Chronicle wrote about it in Tuesday’s editions. The story appeared to strike a nerve among taxpayers already angry over the recession, the housing meltdown, and federal bailouts of banks and automobile companies.

“Everybody’s outraged about this,” said Councilman Ron Greene, adding that a constituent e-mailed him a copy of a bill and asked him to pay it. “This was not well reasoned.”

The “Credit Score Enhancement Program” would have given up to $3,000 in grants to individuals who are trying to qualify for mortgages through the city’s homebuyers assistance program. City officials had said some applicants fall short of eligibility by only 10 or 20 points on their credit scores, and paying off some debt balances can quickly improve their numbers.

Councilwoman Pam Holm waved a thick stack of e-mails from angry residents.

“I do not understand how we can ever justify spending taxpayer dollars to pay somebody’s credit card,” she said. “I don’t understand how it can be even considered to come up. I am truly embarrassed. I think it shows poor leadership.”

Cont. here:

© Janet Crain

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