Extend mortgage-debt relief


The snail’s pace at which economic recovery is moving in Ohio and through much of the nation also extends to the housing market.

Recent data from RealtyTrac shows 555,277 Ohio homeowners owe at least 25 percent more than the estimated market value of the property. In Mahoning and Trumbull counties, 21 percent and 24 percent of homeowners find themselves in that predicament. A lifeline in place since 2007 that provided needed tax relief for them has been callously removed by Congress’ failure to renew it into 2014.

That’s why U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., introduced legislation recently to extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act for another two years. The law kept the amount of a mortgage forgiven to avoid bankruptcy free from federal taxation.

The relief is critical for struggling homeowners. Although the economy and housing market have turned the corner, they both have a very long way to go before arriving at full recovery.

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