Courtney Welcomes State Legislative Action on Crumbling Foundations
Norwich, CT – Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2) today welcomed the Connecticut General Assembly’s action on crumbling foundations in the state budget.
“The package passed by the state legislature this week is a positive and constructive development in the response to crumbling foundations,” Courtney said. “The $40 million initial investment in relief efforts, coupled with other provisions included in the measure, provides a real and tangible launching point to ramp up the response to this problem. I have been in close contact with many of eastern Connecticut’s state legislators throughout the session to urge action, and I applaud them for their hard work.”
Courtney added, “The state legislative action this week complements the work I am doing on the federal level to respond to this issue. In many of my discussions with federal officials and agencies, one of their first questions to me is - what is the state doing to address the problem? With the passage of this package this week, the state legislature is sending a clear signal to federal agencies that our state is serious about acting on this critical issue.”
“I have consistently believed that responding to the homeowners and communities hit hard by crumbling foundations will take a comprehensive and long term approach on the private, local, state and federal levels. After the diligent efforts by so many who have advocated on behalf of our homeowners, this week marks a shift in momentum that I hope will continue to push towards relief and action at all levels to this crisis.”
Courtney will attend the November 4 meeting of the Connecticut Coalition Against Crumbling Basements at Ellington High School to provide an update on his efforts on the federal level.
Recent Actions Courtney has Taken on Crumbling Foundations:
In September, Courtney and Rep. John Larson met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy David Kautter at the Department of the Treasury headquarters in Washington, D.C. to discuss assistance for eastern Connecticut residents impacted by crumbling concrete foundation. Treasury officials have committed to continue working with the Congressmen in order to secure an IRS “revenue procedure” -- a guidance document that, if approved, would allow homeowners to deduct foundation repair costs from their federal taxes. The Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Policy directs the issuance of these documents, which are then prepared by the IRS.
Courtney and Larson sent a follow up letter after the meeting to reiterate the request and to clarify that precedent exists for such a revenue procedure for damage related to the rapid corrosion of building material. The letter also raises the support of the National Taxpayer Advocate, who has endorsed this effort and recommended that the IRS language be targeted to those homeowners who have reassessed their homes pursuant to Connecticut Public Act 16-45, passed into law last year.
Earlier in the summer, Courtney and Larson also discussed crumbling foundations and the possibility of such a revenue procedure with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who expressed his support for the effort. In May oversight hearings at the House Ways and Means Committee, Secretary Mnuchin publicly confirmed his concern on this issue and National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson discussed her recommendations on the issue.
Last month, Courtney and Larson passed three amendments they authored in support of Connecticut residents impacted by crumbling foundations passed in the House of Representatives. The amendments were added to an omnibus appropriations bill to fund the federal government and passed the House unanimously. These amendments represent the first time that a full chamber of Congress has passed measures related to crumbling foundations in Connecticut. The amendments directed HUD to develop applications of federal Community Development Block Grants for pyrrhotite related damage; directed the IRS to issue a revenue procedure similar to that requested by the Members during their meeting with Secretary Mnuchin; and directed the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop standards for pyrrhotite levels in concrete aggregate to help prevent a similar problem in the future.