March 2009 Press & Charter
News and Views From the Glass Top
The Cup by Tim Lancaster
There is no arguing about how hard things are right now in the construction business or in any business for that matter. The economy is in the toilet and the big bankers have their hands on the lever. Can our new administration help us out by spending more money that we don’t have? Is the stock market at the bottom or just slowly showing our retirement age creeping up to 80? I don’t have a clue what’s going to happen in the next year. Like everyone else, I’m hoping for some recovery and more importantly, some reason to think things are going to improve. But for now I’m just trying to stay positive and figure out if the cup is half full and which way the water is flowing.
It’s real easy to look at the state we’re in and think the cup is surely half empty. With the lack of jobs, the drop in the stock market, layoffs, a very insecure feeling about the future, it’s easy to have a negative outlook. I can’t deny this is a tough time for all but I can ask myself;
“What is my cup made of, what keeps it together and what do I use it for?”
Rather than look at the obvious, we should think about what’s really important to us and what keeps us going. Those things we took for granted a couple of years ago are now something we’ve grown to appreciate again. Going to the movie, buying that new electrical gadget for the kids, hiring a babysitter and taking the spouse out for dinner are all things we appreciate more now, because its value has gone up. The focus of our negative look at the economy is all about the money.
In reality, the most important things we have, family, friends and faith, have now moved back up where they should be in our lives. These are the ingredients that will keep us positive and hold things together through tough times. Yes, money can make things easier but the real purpose for money is to enjoy the things we want out of life and what most people want is to enjoy spending time with family and friends. Time is the key that can open the door to fulfillment. We now have an opportunity to slow down and remember what’s really important and spend some quality time appreciating it.
Our cup here at Preston Feather is made up of numerous parts including, living and working in Northern Michigan, being a part of the American dream (owning your own home), working with customers who have become good friends, having a value system that promotes honesty and integrity and working in an environment that puts family above everything else. When your cup is put together with strong material, it’s a whole lot easier to stay positive.
We will continue to stay diligent in our efforts to service your construction needs. I’m positive that as we work together over the next couple of seasons, we will see prosperity on the other side. Meanwhile let’s raise our cups and toast to today, a time that we’ll remember for the struggles and challenges but also a time that brought out the strength and determination to see it through. Stay positive…one day at a time.
Thank you. Tim Lancaster
Key Provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
• $8,000 first-time home buyer, true tax credit (no repayment) for the purchase of a principle residence between January 1 and December 1, 2009. Recaptured if home is sold within three years. Removes the restriction on the use of tax credit proceeds with Housing Finance Agency-issued tax exempt mortgage revenue bonds.
• Short-term gap financing for Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects:
1. Provision allowing states to turn in portion of 2009 LIHTC allocations for cash.
2. Special appropriation of $2 billion in HOME funds.
• Up to a ten-year deferral of tax from business debt cancelled as part of a repurchase or restructuring.
• 5-year carryback of 2008 net operating losses for businesses with gross receipts of less than $15 million (three year average).
• Extension of enhanced bonus depreciation.
• Extension of increased small business expensing.
• Enhancements to the section 25C program for energy efficiency remodeling improvements to existing homes.
• One-year patch of the Alternative Minimum Tax.
• Increase New Markets Tax Credit allocating authority for 2008 and 2009.
• Delays for one year the start of 3% government contractor withholding requirement.
• $2 billion for full year payments to owners of Section 8 project based rental assistance properties.
• $2.25 billion through HOME program and Low Income Housing Tax Credit program to fill financing gaps.
• $1 billion for CDBG.
• $2 billion for Neighborhood stabilization program.
• $1.5 billion for homelessness prevention activities (help with rents, etc).
• $250 million for energy retrofitting and green investments in HUD assisted projects.
• $1 billion for Section 502 direct loans under the Rural Housing Service.
• $10.4 billion for Section 502 guaranteed loans under the Rural Housing Service.
• $27.5 billion for highway spending.
Other Key Provision
• Increases in FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits to 2008 levels.
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