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Groups Urge Bankers to Link S&L; Bailout to Homeless

From Times Wire Services

A combination of 16 minority, homeless and other groups, calling itself the “Greenlining Coalition,” demanded on Wednesday that any savings and loan bailout “be linked to a homeless bailout.”

It is the same position supported by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp, said coalition chief spokesman attorney Robert L. Gnaizda of Public Advocates.

After a 20-minute meeting during which a summary of the plan was presented to four Federal Home Loan Bank officials, Gnaizda said the plan was accepted by Gary Curly, senior vice president of the board’s San Francisco branch.

He said Curly appeared impressed with the plan and would try to convene a meeting next week with chief executives of the state’s 10 major savings and loan institutions.

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The coalition is seeking support from the FHLB and S&L; leaders before submitting its plan and testifying before the Senate Banking Committee at its March 15 S&L; hearing in Washington, Gnaizda said at a news conference staged on a downtown street outside offices of the FHLB.

The board had no immediate comment.

“All revenue increases proposed by the Greenlining Coalition are consistent with, if not identical to, revenue increases secured during the Reagan Administration with the approval of Vice President (George) Bush,” Gnaizda said.

“Thus, none are technically tax increases and are consistent with Bush’s ‘no-new-taxes’ pledge.”

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A few signs were stacked up for what Gnaizda said would be picketing down the street later at American Savings & Loan.

Some of the signs read: “Read My Lips. Let The Rich Pay For The Bailout,” and “Link S&L; Bailout to Affordable Housing.”

Gnaizda was flanked by leaders of the San Francisco Black Chamber of Commerce, the Urban League, Consumer Action and Latino Issues Forum and other groups that belong to the coalition.

A 17-page “greenlining plan” was to be presented to the FHLB and “the (chief executives) of the 10 largest California-based savings and loans,” the lawyer said.

The President’s fiscal plans, particularly his repeated promise not to raise taxes, have “so trapped” the chief executive “that he has proposed a cut of $100 million in his education budget, despite labeling himself the education President,” according to the coalition’s presentation.

The chief fiscal element in the demands was a proposal to obtain $550 billion in added federal revenue over the next 10 years “from those who can afford it.”

A $44-billion source for this capital, they said, would come “by imposing a social security tax on the earnings of the wealthy. Presently, only the first $48,000 is subject to Social Security tax. This is not technically a tax increase, since Bush has supported eight separate social security increases since he became vice president.”

The plan also notes that people earning between $70,000 and $149,000 a year are subject to a 33% income tax rate because of a surcharge while those earning more pay only 28%. The coalition suggested that those making more than $150,000 also pay 33%.

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Gnaizda said the Congressional Budget Office estimates that would raise $8 billion to $10 billion a year.

He also said $2 billion a year could be raised by eliminating the mortgage deduction for luxury second homes and putting a cap on home mortgage deductions at twice the amount of the regional median new home mortgage.

“This is technically not a tax increase,” he said, “since the 1986 tax reform act, with the support of Vice President Bush, set comparable, albeit more modest, restrictions on mortgage deductions.”

Summing up the proposal, he said, “Our plan is that the wealthy will pay for this.”

The coalition called for a sort of “partnership with savings and loans,” setting out that “the S&L; industry should be saved and provided with tax credits if it is restructured so that its primary mission is affordable housing.”


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