House passes Bizzarro’s first-time home buyer bill

Would give first-time buyers tax deduction for money saved

HARRISBURG, Feb. 21 – A bill that would give thousands of Pennsylvanians a leg up toward home ownership passed the House today with overwhelming bipartisan support, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, announced.

House Bill 128 – introduced by Bizzarro and state Rep. Rosemary M. Brown, R-Monroe – would establish the “First-Time Home Buyer Savings Account Act,” permitting Pennsylvanians to open special savings accounts and take state tax deductions for eligible expenses such as a down payment and closing costs.

“Our economy thrives because of the efforts of Pennsylvania’s working families, yet all too often those same families find themselves shut out from the financial benefits of home ownership and the sense of permanence it provides,” Bizzarro said. “Our residents who work so hard to enrich the commonwealth and contribute to its financial stability deserve that same stability for themselves and their families. Our bill would make it easier for families to break free of the cycle of renting and debt by helping them to save for a first home.

“Beyond the benefits to our residents, the bill would further stimulate our state and local economies in key ways. It’s estimated that the bill would result in an additional 400 to 4,000 home sales annually to first-time buyers. That means more families with the credit and stability to invest back into the economy; additional economic activity spurred by home construction and renovation; new jobs for contractors, carpenters and painters; and an increase in big-ticket purchases such as appliances. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Bizzarro noted that the economic impact from additional economic activity, job creation and earnings is projected to reach as high as $68.8 million.

House Bill 128 would permit account holders to claim deductions for a total of $50,000 over a 10-year period. Annual contributions would be capped at $5,000 for single taxpayers and $10,000 for those filing a joint return. The bill would apply both to first-time home buyers and those who have not owned or purchased a home within the three years leading up to the purchase.

“It’s time for Pennsylvania to join the other states that have already enacted these progressive programs,” Bizzarro said. “The House vote today is an encouraging step toward making that happen – and helping thousands of Pennsylvanians realize the American dream.”

The bill now heads to the state Senate for consideration.