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March 22, 2001
MARTINEZ PROMOTES PRESIDENT'S TAX CUT AND BUDGET PLANS TO ARIZONA LAWMAKERS
PHOENIX - President Bush's tax cut plan will put $1,896 more dollars into the pockets of the average family of four in Arizona. That's the message U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez brought before state lawmakers in Arizona today.
"Americans want tax relief, they need tax relief, and President Bush has promised that they will have tax relief," Martinez told the joint session of the state's legislature.
Martinez also highlighted several new housing initiatives in the President's
"The American Dream is to own a home. President Bush and I are committed to making that dream a reality for all Americans," said Martinez.
The President's budget includes the American Dream Downpayment Fund, money to help 130,000 families clear the initial hurdle of pulling together a downpayment, the most significant barrier to homeownership.
"More than 70 percent of non-minority families own their own homes," explained Martinez. "But only 46 percent of African American and Hispanic families own theirs. We can and we will do better at increasing the numbers of minority home-owners."
Another Administration initiative Martinez highlighted is a 25 percent increase in the FHA multi-family program loan limits. The proposal is expected to stimulate the construction of new affordable housing units in high-cost areas and further promote refinancing and renovation of apartment buildings across the country.
"We heard eight years of rhetoric with no results, but in 60 days, President Bush has proposed real solutions to address America's affordable housing crisis," noted Martinez
Turning to his vision for HUD, Martinez told the lawmakers that he will dedicate his first year in office to returning the agency to its core mission of promoting housing opportunities and economic development and getting HUD's house in order.
"During the last several years, the programs at HUD have dramatically increased from 50 to more than 350," he said. "We have experienced massive mission creep, which in some cases has led to duplicating programs."
"Our mission is people, not programs," Martinez said. "People will best be served by a well run agency that knows its core mission and sticks to it."