Posted by on October 09, 2012
Has anyone attempted to block you from voting or from legally registering to vote? Please share your experiences below. Voter intimidation and elections tampering should not be tolerated. It is up to a vigilant electorate to watch out for illegal activity.
This year, Georgia residents will be required to show ID before they vote in person. Six forms of ID are acceptable: Georgia Driver's License, even if expired; Valid US government employee photo ID; Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state; Valid U.S. passport ID; Valid U.S. military photo ID; or Valid tribal photo ID. For more information about acceptable ID cards, click this link.
Voters who use absentee ballots are not required to show ID. Have you experienced problems securing a valid ID? Please share your experiences below. Were you able to vote in-person without problem?
If you witness voter fraud please call the Secretary of State’s Elections Division Voter Fraud Hotline at 877-725-9797. You can also submit a complaint online at: http://www.sos.ga.gov/Stopvoterfraud/
Posted by on July 03, 2012
The House passed H.R. 4348, Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012. This bill, also known as MAP-21, will create or save more than 2 million jobs, authorize highway and transit programs for more than two years at current levels, make key reforms consolidating transportation programs and cut red tape, and leverage federal resources to expand public-private partnerships in transportation. MAP-21 consolidates federal surface transportation programs by two-thirds by taking approximately 60 programs and consolidating them into four “core” formula programs: National Highway Performance Program, Surface Transportation Program, Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program (CMAQ).
While the bill only extends transportation programs for two years at current levels, it does provide some certainty for contractors and states to continue planning for future projects. Congress will have to revisit current funding formulas to better address transportation needs in the long term.
What are the major transportation needs in your community? Old infrastructure? Congestion? Lack of transit choices?
Are you familiar with the projects listed for funding in the upcoming penny-tax transportation vote? http://www.metroatlantatransportationvote.com/
Posted by on June 29, 2012
On Friday, the House passed H.R. 4348*, which included an extension of the current 3.4 percent loan rate on need-based student loans through July 1, 2013. Under current law, the rate would have doubled to 6.8 percent on July 1, 2012. Young Americans have the highest unemployment rate of any other group. Two-thirds of the Class of 2010 graduated with student loan debt which averages about $25,000. Congressman Scott is committed to ensuring that young people can start a career and pay their obligations without worrying about a large spike in their interest rates.
For more information about saving for college and reducing the need for student loans, please read an earlier blog post about cost-cutting strategies: http://davidscott.house.gov/Blog/?postid=281817. What have you experienced as a recent graduate or as a parent of a recent graduate? Share your comments below.
*Even though H.R. 4348 is primarily a transportation bill, it was amended to include the text of Interest Rate Reduction Act (H.R. 4628).
Posted by on June 07, 2012
Last week, in College Park, 1,478 homeowners attended the “Help for Homeowners Event” at the Georgia International Convention Center. It was the fourth time the Obama Administration has sponsored an event for struggling homeowners in the Atlanta area. In total, 8,065 homeowners have been helped at events in Metropolitan Atlanta, and more than 275,000 families in the area have received assistance through government and mortgage servicer programs.
I attended this event to hear directly from homeowners about their experiences and to talk with community leaders about ways to help federal programs reach more families struggling with their mortgages. Almost 570 real estate agents and housing counselors participated in free seminars about the Administration's programs to help homeowners prevent foreclosure. Dozens of mortgage representatives from about 20 banks and 50 representatives from local HUD-approved housing counseling agencies also met with homeowners. The Georgia Department of Community Affairs helped more than 200 homeowners learn about HomeSafe Georgia, Georgia’s program through Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund, which provides up to 18 months of mortgage payment assistance while a homeowner is looking for work.
I saw first-hand how these in-person meetings between homeowners, mortgage servicers, and housing counselors can help resolve some of the major hurdles families face when trying to avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. From gaining a stronger understanding of the range of options available, to receiving help completing the documentation necessary to apply for a modification, homeowners left the event with a clearer path to assistance and, in many cases, a resolution to their mortgage problems.
Yet, we know there are more homeowners in the Atlanta area at risk of foreclosure that could benefit from these and other programs. That’s why I co-hosted an in-depth discussion between local government officials, business leaders, real estate agents, housing counselors, non-profit representatives, and mortgage servicers to share best practices, identify areas where stronger coordination was needed, and offer new ideas for helping struggling borrowers learn about their options and reach solutions. We were joined by Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad, Acting Federal Housing Administration Commissioner and HUD Assistant Secretary Carol Galante, and Mike Beatty, the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, who shared how the Home Safe Georgia program is implementing new approaches to increase participation rates.
If you are a homeowner struggling with your mortgage payments, know that help is available right now – and the sooner you seek it, the more options you may have. Information about events in your area and other resources are available at: MakingHomeAffordable.gov, or you can call 888-995-HOPE, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, to receive free, expert advice from a HUD-approved housing counselor.
Did you attend one of these events? Were they helpful? What are your experiences in trying to obtain help for your mortgage problems? Comment below...
* A version of this blog ran on the Treasury Department's website at: http://www.treasury.gov/connect/blog/Pages/Helping-Atlanta-Homeowners-Avoid-Foreclosure-.aspx
Posted by on May 07, 2012
Summer employment is critical to the success of young people, good for business, and important for our country. But today’s youth are struggling to get the work experience they need for the jobs of the future. Just 48.8 percent of youth between the ages of 16-24 were employed last July - the month when youth employment usually peaks. This is significantly lower than the 59.2 percent of youth who were employed five years ago and 63.3 percent of youth who were employed 10 years ago.
The Summer Jobs+ initiative has 90,000 paid jobs and thousands more mentoring programs, internships and other training opportunities for youth. To locate an opportunity in your community, visit the Jobs+ initiative at: https://webapps.dol.gov/summerjobs Employers are encouraged to join the effort at the site on this link.
Summer jobs are often a major life learning experience for young people. What did you learn from your summer job? What advice do you have for today's youth? Please submit your thoughts below.
Posted by on April 12, 2012
Students, you're invited to meet representatives of America's Military Academies at Georgia's 2012 Academy Day on Saturday, May 12. You MUST register by 5:00 pm on April 30, 2012 online at http://isakson.senate.gov/contactsad.cfm or by calling Nancy Brooks at 770.661.0999. Applicants may also contact Congressman David Scott's District Office at 770-210-5073 for more information on how to obtain an appointment to a military academy.
Posted by on April 09, 2012
On April 5, the President signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (H.R. 3606) into law (P.L. 112-106). The "JOBS Act" will allow small businesses and start-up enterprises to raise capital from investors more efficiently. Congressman Scott voted for this bi-partisan bill and similar bills which were first considered in one of his committees - the Financial Services Committee.
The JOBS Act will help growing businesses access financing in several ways:
• Allowing Small Businesses to Harness “Crowdfunding”: startups and small businesses will be allowed to raise up to $1 million annually from many small-dollar investors through web-based platforms. All crowdfunding must occur through platforms that are registered with a self-regulatory organization and regulated by the SEC.
• Expanding “Mini Public Offerings”: The JOBS Act will raise the "regulation A" exemption threshold to $50 million from $5 million for for smaller innovative companies to raise capital consistent with investor protections.
• Creating an “IPO On-Ramp”: The JOBS Act makes it easier for young, high-growth firms to go public by providing an incubator period for a new class of “Emerging Growth Companies.” During this period, qualifying companies will have time to reach compliance with certain public company disclosure and auditing requirements after their initial public offering (IPO). Firms currently have up to two years after the IPO to comply with certain Sarbanes-Oxley auditing requirements. The JOBS Act extends that period to a maximum of five years.
Additionally, the JOBS Act changes some existing limitations on how companies can solicit private investments from “accredited investors.
Posted by on February 24, 2012
Many seniors in high school are counting the days until they can graduate and start college. However, their parents may be dreading the coming expenses for tuition. The cost of college tuition is increasing faster than the rate of inflation and a lot of families do not want to rack up huge student loan debts. Grants and loans are available to many students. Yet, that assistance may not fully cover education expenses. To help, there are several savings programs and tax breaks to help pay for school.
You can start a "529" college savings plan for as little as $25. Interest earned in the plans grow tax free and withdrawals are not taxed if used for qualified college expenses. In addition, contributions up to $2,000 can be deducted from state income taxes. You can learn more about the Georgia plan at http://www.path2college529.com/index.html
You can save up to $2,000 annually in a Coverdell Education Savings Account. Interest is earned tax free and withdrawals are tax free if they are used for a qualified education expense for K-12 or college. Parents or grandparents may also be able to tap into their regular IRA for education expenses without penalty in certain circumstances. Learn more at this link.
There are a number of tax credits and deductions available for qualified education expenses. The American Opportunity Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit are two programs that can offset out of pocket education expenses. To learn more about federal education tax credits, visit the IRS and click this link.
Start planning now to find ways to cut tuition expenses. This page on the federal student aid website discusses 30 ways to reduce college costs.
You may also be interested in viewing federal student aid available http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ and the Georgia HOPE Scholarship program https://secure.gacollege411.org/Home/_default.aspx
What ideas can you share about paying for college?
If you have a complaint about a private student loan, you can share your concerns with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/our-student-loan-complaint-system-is-open-for-business/
Posted by on February 17, 2012
Congress passed H.R. 3630, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act. This bipartisan agreement extends the payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans; continues unemployment benefits for the millions of Americans who lost their jobs; and ensures seniors can continue to see the doctor of their choice under Medicare. President Obama signed H.R. 3630 into law on February 22.
Major provisions of The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act:
Payroll Tax Cut
- Extends the payroll tax cut for the remainder of 2012. Increases by $1,000 the annual take-home pay of a typical middle-class family.
- Continues federal unemployment insurance through the end of 2012 and gradually reduces the number of weeks. The current maximum level (99 weeks) of benefits extends through May, reduces the maximum to 79 over the summer, and to 73 in September – depending on a state’s unemployment rate.
- Drug testing: the bill permits states to drug screen and test anyone who (1) lost their job because of drug abuse, or (2) is seeking a job that regularly requires a drug test.
- TANF: extends Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) through Fiscal Year 2012 and ensures that funds cannot be accessed at ATMs in strip clubs, liquor stores, and casinos.
Ensuring Access for Seniors to See Their Doctors
- Ensures that Medicare beneficiaries will continue to have access to their physicians by blocking a scheduled 27.4 percent cut in Medicare physician payment rates
Posted by on February 14, 2012
Federal and state governments recently settled a major agreement with the country’s five largest mortgage servicers: Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.
Over the next three years, the settlement funds will be used for:
Over the next 30 to 60 days, settlement negotiators will be selecting an administrator to handle the logistics of the settlement and monitor compliance. Then, over the next six to nine months, homeowners eligible for relief will be identified and contacted directly.
The settlement has an informational website: http://www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com/
You may contact your bank directly if you need additional information:
Bank of America: 877-488-7814
JPMorgan Chase: 866-372-6901
Wells Fargo: 800-288-3212
Loans owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are not impacted by this settlement. You may visit the following websites to learn if your loan is owned by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac:
If you have additional questions, you may want to visit: http://www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com/faq