Rhode Island General Assembly

Office of the House Minority Caucus

 

Representative Newberry Submits Legislation to Assist First Time Homebuyers

 

State House, Providence – The median price for a single-family home in Rhode Island hit a record high of $443,000 in July 2023, and most recently was reported to have risen to $450,000. Despite two significant housing packages that passed the General Assembly in 2022 and 2023, there is no relief in sight for the housing crisis in Rhode Island. Further, exacerbating the crisis, rental unit vacancies in Rhode Island remain historically low, further driving up the cost of housing as rental units can charge more due to limited inventory. Nationally, including Rhode Island, single family homeownership rates have declined, returning to 1980 levels.

In an effort to assist first time homebuyers, Representative Brian C. Newberry (District 48, N Smithfield/Burrillville) submitted legislation that would establish the Rhode Island First Time Homebuyer’s Savings Account Program. The program would be administered by the General Treasurer, similar to the 529 Education Savings Account program that allows individuals to save towards a college education.

The bill would allow an individual household to save up to $50,000 in contributions to the account, tax free; and up to $150,000 in interest and dividends earned, tax free, towards the purchase of a home. The account could only be used for the purchase of a home. If an individual withdraws funds for any other use, then that amount would be taxed as income.

“The Rhode Island housing crisis continues to rage on despite two housing crisis legislative packages passed by the General Assembly,” said Representative Newberry. “The main barriers to home ownership continue to include housing inventory and price. In an effort to try and help potential homeowners overcome the cost barrier, we think it is prudent to allow first time homeowners to save towards a down payment on a home. Fourteen states to date have passed legislation allowing first time homebuyers to save (including interest and dividends earned) tax free towards the purchase of a home. It is time for Rhode Island to offer the same for those trying to obtain a home of their own.”

 

House Speaker Mike Johnson is set to make an appearance alongside Donald Trump today at Mar-a-Lago. The two are slated to hold a news focused on election integrity. The former president has repeatedly claimed the 2020 election was rigged against him. The event comes as Johnson faces threats from some conservative Republicans to oust him as speaker if he moves forward with Ukraine funding.       The lead prosecutor in O.J. Simpson's murder trial is reacting the NFL star's death. Marcia Clark told Entertainment Tonight, "I send my condolences to Mr. Simpson's family." Simpson passed away April 10th from cancer. He was famously acquitted of the 1994 murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.       Vice President Kamala Harris is headed to Arizona today after the state supreme court upheld a near-total ban on abortions that was put in place 160 years ago. She'll be in Tucson [[ Too-sahn ]] for an event focusing on abortion and the Biden administration's efforts to keep abortion legal. Harris was just in Phoenix last month to show opposition against attempts to limit or restrict abortion.       A new analysis estimates President Biden's new student debt relief plan to cost tax payers around 84-billion dollars. A Penn Wharton Budget Model looks at five parts of Biden's plan to total how much the initiatives would cost. The model shows that the biggest cost would be Biden's proposal to cancel up to 20-thousand dollars for borrowers with balances from unpaid interest.       A Tennessee bill that would criminalize providing transgender care to a minor is moving on to the state House for debate. The measure would criminalize adults who help minors receive gender-affirming care without parental consent would become a felony. The bill was passed by the Senate on Thursday and will be debated in the House which is expected to support the legislation.        A reminder for taxpayers when it comes to charitable deduction rules. The IRS says those who itemize must remember that donations must be to a qualified organization. Other rules include: the donation must have been during the proper tax year, there must be a record of it, and the total deduction cannot be more than 60-percent of your adjusted gross income.