Thinking about selling your house, ever? - A look at H.R. 2454 (Cap and trade bill)
All that remains to become law is to get it thru the Senate and the President's signature, as of this writing! Thanks, Harry.
Beginning 1 year after enactment of the Act, you won't be able to sell your home unless you retrofit it to comply with the energy and water efficiency standards of this Act.
H.R. 2454, the "Cap & Trade" bill passed by the House of Representatives, if also passed by the Senate, will be the LARGEST INDIVIDUAL TAX INCREASE any of us has ever experienced.
The Congressional Budget Office (supposedly non-partisan) estimates that in just a few years the average cost to every family of four will be $6,800 per year. No one is excluded. However, once the Lower Paid classes feel the pinch in their wallets, you can be sure these voters get a tax refund (even if they pay no taxes at all) to offset this new cost.
But wait. This awful bill ( that NO ONE IN CONGRESS has actually read ) has many more surprises in it.
Probably the worst one is this: A year from now you won't be able to sell your house.
Yes, you read that right. The caveat is (there always is a caveat) that if you have enough money to make required major upgrades to your home, then you can sell it. But, if not, then forget it. Even pre-fabricated homes ("mobile homes") are included.
In effect, this bill prevents you from selling your home without the permission of the EPA ( ENVIRONMENTAL ) administrator.
To get this permission, you will have to have the energy efficiency of your home measured. Then the government will tell you what your new energy efficiency requirement is and you will be forced to make modifications to your home under the retrofit provisions of this Act to comply with the new energy and water efficiency requirements. Then you will have to get your home measured again and get a license (called a "label" in the Act) that must be posted on your property to show what your efficiency rating is; sort of like the Energy Star efficiency rating label on your refrigerator or air conditioner. If you don't get a high enough rating, you can't sell. And the EPA administrator is authorized to raise the standards every year, even above the automatic energy efficiency increases built into the Act.
The EPA administrator, appointed by the President, will run the Cap & Trade program (AKA the "American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009") and is authorized to make any future changes to the regulations and standards he alone determines to be in the government's best interest. Requirements are set low initiall y so the bill will pass Congress; then the Administrator can set much tougher new standards every year. The Act itself contains annual required increases in energy efficiency for private and commercial residences and buildings. However, the EPA administrator can set higher standards at any time.
Sect. 202 Building Retrofit Program mandates a national retrofit program to increase the energy efficiency of all existing homes across America . Beginning 1 year after enactment of the Act, you won't be able to sell your home unless you retrofit it to comply with the energy and water efficiency standards of this Act.
You had better sell soon, because the standards will be raised each year and will be really hard (i.e., exppensive) to meet in a few years. Oh, goody! The Act allows the government to give you a grant of several thousand dollars to comply with the retrofit program requirements if you meet certain energy efficiency levels. But, wait, the State can set additional requirements on who qualifies to receive the grants. You should expect requirements such as "can't have an income of more than $50K per year", "home selling price can't be more than $125K", or anything else to target the upper middle class (and that's YOU) and prevent them from qualifying for the grants. Most of us won't get a dime and will have to pay the entire cost of the retrofit out of our own pockets. More transfer of wealth, more "change you can believe in."
Sect. 204 Building Energy Performance Labeling Program establishes a labeling program that for each individual residence will identify the achieved energy efficiency performance for "at least 90 percent of the residential market within 5 years after the date of the enactment of this Act." This means that within 5 years 90% of all residential homes in the U.S. must be measured and labeled.
Sect. 304 Greater Energy Efficiency in Building Codes establishes new energy efficiency guidelines for the National Building Code and mandates at 304(d) that 1 year after enactment of this Act, all state and local jurisdictions must adopt the National Building Code energy efficiency provisions or must obtain a certification from the federal government that their state and/or local codes have been brought into full compliance with the National Building Code energy efficiency standards.
If this doesn't get you motivated to call or write Bingaman or Udall, nothing will. The toll free number is 800-828-0498. Thanks to Marcia for sending this our way.