January, 2006

Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Watch Your Step


Since 1992, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has conducted a census of fatal occupational injuries. The 2004 census was completed this past August and reveals some interesting findings.

Fatal falls reached a new high, accounting for 17 percent of all labor-related fatalities in 2004. Fatal falls in 2004 were mostly from workers falling from roofs and ladders. There was a 39 percent increase in number of workers fatally injured as a result of falling from a roof. In 2003, 128 fatalities were attributed to falls from roofs; in 2004 there were 178.

NAHB backs effort to kill tax proposal

The National Association of Home Builders issued a press release reporting that with the strong backing of the nation’s home builders, several Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee are taking steps to kill a presidential panel’s tax reform proposal that would eliminate or sharply curtail the mortgage interest deduc-tion and do away with state and local taxes.

“We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the members of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee who support these important housing tax provisions,” said Jerry Howard, executive vice president and CEO of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). “As the Administration finalizes its tax simplification plan, we will continue to work with members of Congress to convince the White House to reject proposals that would harm homeowners, the housing sector and the economy.”

The proposal, which was presented Nov. 1 by the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform as part of an overall attempt to revamp the tax code, calls for replacing the popular mortgage interest deduction with a far more limited 15 percent tax credit. Also gone would be deductions for state and local taxes (including property taxes) and interest deductions for home equity loans and second homes. It would also eliminate the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, which accounts for the construction of more than 130,000 affordable rental housing units annually.

NAHB released results from a national survey by Public Opinion Strategies that found wide-ranging public disapproval of efforts to tamper with the mortgage interest deduction and other important housing tax incentives promoting homeownership.

Also released were detailed scenarios outlining how typical home-owning families in Chicago, San Jose, Calif., and Binghamton, N.Y. would face tax hikes under the proposal. Survey results and examples showing how homeowners would fare under the tax plan are available online at www.nahb.org.