At the Essex home of Lindsey and Matt Wignall, Rep. Peter Welch on Tuesday called for a year-long extension of a tax credit that allowed the Wignalls and hundreds of thousands of other middle class families to buy their first home. Welch outlined his support for the First-time Homebuyer Credit Extension Act (H.R. 1993), which would extend a popular and successful program that provides an $8,000 tax credit to families buying their first home. The program has been credited with stabilizing the housing market, creating construction jobs and helping countless families achieve homeownership.Welch called for the extension alongside the Wignall family and Dustin Partlow and Sierra Ouellette – a Burlington couple hoping to take advantage of the credit before it expires November 30. Like families across the country, Partlow and Ouellette are worried they will be unable to afford a new home without the credit.“In this time of economic uncertainty, the First-time Homebuyer Tax Credit has given countless Vermont families support to achieve the dream of homeownership. This tremendously successful program has provided middle class families a much-needed boost while creating construction jobs and boosting the broader economy,” Welch said. “Extending it will ease the uncertainty facing families in the midst of buying a home, and it will help ward off an untimely slump in the housing market.”The First-time Homebuyer Tax Credit – created in July 2008 with the passage of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act – originally capped the credit at $7,500 and required it to be paid back in 15 years. With the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February 2009, the credit was increased to $8,000 and the repayment requirement was waived.H.R. 1993 would extend the credit from November 30, 2009 through December 30, 2010. The bill would also retroactively waive the repayment requirement for those who took advantage of the credit in 2008.According to the Internal Revenue Service, 1.4 million Americans have made use of the credit. Mark Zandy, chief economist for Moody’s Economy.com, said roughly 375,000 of those home purchases would not have taken place without the tax credit.At Tuesday’s event in Essex, a homebuilder, a real estate professional and a banking official discussed the effect the credit has had on creating jobs, restoring the housing market and stimulating the economy. Chris Snyder, executive vice president of Snyder Homes, Leslee McKenzie, president and owner of Hickock and Boardman Real Estate, and Chris D’Elia, President of the Vermont Bankers Association, all spoke in support of extending the tax credit. Source: Welch’s office. 10.6.2009# # #
But the prospect of making such a deal seems daunting for the Lakers. The Lakers will not make their draft pick owed to Phoenix unprotected to land Dragic, let alone any star player. The Lakers are also reluctant to ship Lakers rookies Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle in any trade because of their potential.“You can’t control nothing that’s going to happen,” Clarkson said. “You’re here to play and work hard.”Lakers coach Byron Scott said “there’s not one position right now I can say I’m totally satisfied with” on his roster. But Scott said he has not talked with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and vice president of player personnel Jim Buss about the upcoming trade deadline. As of Wednesday night, no deals were imminent that involved Lin, Wayne Ellington or Nick Young, according to league sources.“My job is to get these guys ready,” Scott said. “(Mitch’s) job obviously is to try to make us better. I’m sure he’s probably getting phone calls and making phone calls. I don’t talk to him unless he’s ready to talk to me about certain things that are going on.”Scott said he has mostly carried the same mentality with his players. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “To come in and talk to them about it, I think that puts added pressure on them,” Scott said. “I don’t bring it up, stuff that I hear or read, and I don’t talk to them about it unless they ask me about it.”Not exactly.Scott jokingly told forward Jordan Hill on Wednesday that Kupchak wanted to speak with him in his office. The Lakers consider Hill an asset since he has posted career-highs in points (12.3), rebounds (8) and minutes played (28). His two-year, $18 million contract also appears attractive because any trading partner can decline his team option for next season. Hill also completed Wednesday’s practice, though he has nursed a sore right hip flexor that kept him out for the past five games.“He just started walking like ‘What’s wrong? What’s up?’” Scott said of Hill. “Then we just started laughing. Other than that, we just try to act normal.”The Lakers do not have many other options.The Lakers could offer Ed Davis, but he doesn’t provide much in salary with a two-year, $2 million contract. Young is in the first year of a four-year $21.5 million deal, but has struggled lately with his shooting accuracy. The Lakers could also trade Lin, but he is averaging only 10.2 points on 42.6-percent shooting, 4.6 assists and 2.7 turnovers in 25.5 minutes per game. His expiring $14.9 million seems burdensome, though $8.4 million of his salary goes against the cap.“I’m not worried about that,” said Lin, who reported refusing to talk about his future both with his family and agent. “Free agency is one of those situations where you have more control. But until then, you really don’t have control on your behalf. The biggest thing I want to do is end things a different way than what we’re doing with the Lakers.”Meanwhile, the Lakers’ front office will focus on making phone calls and having discussions with other NBA teams about possible deals until the trade deadline ends at noon on Thursday. But given the current environment, the Lakers do not expect anything to happen.QUOTABLE“There’s not one position right now I can say I’m totally satisfied with.”— Lakers coach Byron Scott It seems inevitable the Lakers (13-40) will change their roster amid an eventual missed playoff appearance and possibly the worst record in franchise history for the second consecutive season.But the Lakers are “unlikely” to make a deal prior to Thursday’s trade deadline, according to an NBA source familiar with the front office’s thinking. The Lakers have and will still make calls regarding possible trades. Yet, the Lakers are also aware that any moves could compromise a few variables they deem important.The Lakers consider it a “high” priority, according to the league source, both to maintain financial flexibility for this offseason’s free-agent class and to protect their draft picks. The Lakers have a middle first-round pick from Houston as part of the Jeremy Lin trade. The Lakers also owe a first-round pick to the Phoenix Suns as part of the Steve Nash trade, though they could keep it if the selection lands in the top five.The Lakers are interested in acquiring Phoenix guard Goran Dragic, who has recently made it clear he will not re-sign with the Suns. Dragic also said in an interview with Los Angeles Newspaper Group last month that the Lakers are one of the teams he will consider after he opts out of his $7.9 million player option to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. By acquiring Dragic before the trade deadline, the Lakers could sign Dragic to a five-year deal worth $105 million as opposed to a four-year deal worth $80 million. The Lakers would also have up to $8 million more in cap room to sign another free agent by securing Dragic early.