Archive for March, 2009

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Tangipahoa School System Proposes a New Plan

March 18, 2009

It is still in the planning stages, but the proposed plan to increase educational opportunities in the Tangipahoa Parish are very attractive.  The proposed plan would upgrade our current opportunities by creating a High Tech Career Education Center and specialized training classes in magnet schools.  Classes would provide training in communication, construction, design, medical and performing arts fields.  The proposal includes offering the International Baccalaureate program and the Montessori approach to learning in our Tangi schools.
 
The High Tech Career Education Center would allow students from all high schools to attend the center for specialized classes and then return to their regular high school for their standard scheduled classes.  Hammond Westside Primary and Roseland Elementary would offer the Montessori learning approach and would be designated as magnet schools.  Amite Elementary, Independence Middle School and Woodland Park would be designated as magnet schools offering communications with the latest technology.  Hammond High School would offer a Medical Professions certified program in various areas of the medical field in conjunction with North Oaks Medical Center.  Hammond Eastside and Kentwood High School would offer a performing arts curriculum.  Hammond Eastside Elementary, Hammond Junior High and Hammond High School would participate in the International Baccalaureate program.

The proposed plan would bring a variety of learning opportunities to Tangipahoa Parish.  As with any proposal, some think the innovative programs would improve the quality of education for our students, while others do not think implementing new programs is the answer.  What do you think?  Will the plan provide better education to Tangi students?
 
Yvonne Martin, Keller Williams Realty Services
 
Tangipahoa Parish School System (http://www.tangischools.org/board.html)

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Will a Tax Credit Help You?

March 11, 2009

Tax season is in full swing, which put me in mind of the Tax Credit being offered to first-time home buyers as part of the Economic Stimulus Plan.  This tax credit should not be confused with the Tax Credit of 2008.  The tax credit in the 2008 stimulus plan was for $7,500 and had to be repaid.  The new tax credit (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) was increased to $8,000 with no repayment requirement.  However, if you sell the home within three years or if the home is no longer your principal residence within the same three years, the tax credit must be repaid.

The time frame to take advantage of the tax credit by first-time home buyers is limited.  The escrow must close between January 1, 2009 and November 30 2009.  The tax credit does have income restrictions.  There is a maximum income limit of $75,000 for single households and a $150,000 income limit for married couples.  However, if your income is higher than the limit, you may still qualify for a tax credit.  For those with an adjusted income over the limit, there is a phase out plan.  For example, if your adjusted income is $160,000, you could still qualify for an approximate tax credit of $4,000 (maximum).  The tax credit is not a full $8,000 but is based on the purchase price of the home.  First-time buyers can claim 10% of the home’s purchase price as their tax credit.

The tax credit may also be applied to your 2008 tax year.  First-time home buyers have the opportunity to determine which year’s tax filing (2008 or 2009) would be more advantageous to apply the tax credit.  An amended 2008 tax return can be filed when filing your 2009 taxes.  Please consult with a professional tax advisor to determine which year the tax credit will work for you.

The tax credit applies to any type of property, including multi-family dwellings which are owner occupied.  Remember, a first-time home buyer does not necessarily mean that you have never owned a home.  A first-time home buyer is defined as anyone who has not owned a home in the last three years.  If you are considering a home purchase this year, the tax credit being offered may help your 2009 (or 2008) tax filing.

Yvonne Martin, The Martin Team

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Local Bank Has Extra Mortgage Funds

March 4, 2009

The Florida Parishes Bank received a $3.24 million in TARP funds in January.  The TARP fund came to the bank through the Capital Purchasing Program.  This allows banks with financial strength to participate in the program.  The TARP funds are used to help banks free up monies for credit.  The TARP funds were leveraged, which resulted in an additional $35 million for lending purposes.  The extra funds will allow the bank to be more flexible in its lending guidelines.  Florida Parishes Bank President, Ronnie Fugarino, stated that the last few months have been some of the best ever for mortgage loans.
 
Currently, Florida Parishes Bank is the only local bank to receive the funding.  One of the reasons for this is that the bank is willing to accept the terms on which the money is lent to the bank.  Some banks are reluctant to accept the funds because the rules and restrictions of the program have undergone several changes.  All TARP funds must be eventually paid back to the US Treasury.

Please feed free to contact me if you have any questions or visit my website for more information about Tangi Properties.