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Tax-credit decision down to the wire

Isakson signs onto bill to extend, not expand, credit for first-time buyers

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Sen. Johnny Isakson -- a former real estate broker known for taking up industry causes -- has signed onto a bill that would extend, but not expand, the current $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers, which is set to expire Nov. 30.Isakson, a Georgia Republican, had previously introduced a bill that would nearly double the tax credit's ceiling to $15,000, and expand the pool of those eligible to claim it by lifting first-time homebuyer and income restrictions. That bill, S 1230, has 16 co-sponsors, including Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., the chair of the Senate Banking Committee. It would be in effect for one year after enactment. Isakson introduced a similar bill last year, which the Congressional Budget Office estimated would cost $34.2 billion. Housing industry groups are lobbying hard for a tax credit that's not limited to first-time homebuyers. The National Association of Realtors claims the existing tax credit has brought 1.2 million new buyers into the market, 350,000 of whom wo...