Friday, January 30, 2009

9 C cuts from the State Budget

If you have a few minutes to look over the Governor’s 9C budget cuts for 09, I think you will find some very interesting information on how much is being spent now, how much he will cut now and how much will have to be cut in the future. While, I’ve read that Obama will give our State a bucket of money, the Governor will still need to cut expenses, which in all likelihood means more local aid cuts somewhere down the short road. Don’t shoot the messenger… I just thought many of you should have a front row seat to the numbers.

Pay some attention to the costs of our elected officials and see what the other budget summary numbers are for public safety and the Judiciary.
It’s a massive amount of info… and I find myself going back and looking at separate accounts. Did you know the State gets Fed funding to eradicate cannabis, to the tune of 39 million dollars? I’ll bet Obama doesn’t fund this type of nonsense any more. Look at the perks our Reps get for just driving to Beacon Hill. Look at the Da’s office and the Sheriffs Department.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Home Heating Assistance

Energy Bucks

Paste these links into your web browser to view information on heating assistance.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Little know foreclosure help

The Hope for Homeowners and Foreclosure Prevention Acts of 2008 were passed in 2008 to help distressed homeowners who have an FHA-insured mortgage. The goal was to assist 400,000 homeowners in retaining their homes and avoiding foreclosure. In response to many of your questions about foreclosure issues, I will attempt to give you a brief description here of services you may be able to avail yourself of if you are facing foreclosure on your home. I will also give you links to access more information on these programs. I am not a lawyer or a mortgage broker, so what I am giving you is the basics and the information you need to get more information and to approach your mortgage holder. Since foreclosure seems to be the area of most concern, I am going to focus on the areas specifically addressing that issue. For more information contact your lender directly.
A new mortgage program is being offered by FHA-approved lenders to refinance distressed loans at significant discounts for owner occupants at risk of losing their home to foreclosure.

Eligibility Requirements:

You must be in living in the home the mortgage is on, and unable to afford the current mortgage payment

You must certify, under penalty of law, that you have not intentionally defaulted in order to qualify

Your mortgage debt to income ratio must be greater than 31% as of March 1, 2008.
You must be able to verify your income with the IRS

You must be willing to take on the new loan as a 30-year, fixed rate loan.

All subordinate liens must be resolved. You do this through negotiations with the primary lien holder


The new loan amount will be the current affordability requirement you meet under FHA requirements based on your income and expenses, or 90% of the current value of our home, whichever is the lesser amount. This is the current fair market value, not the current balance on your mortgage.

Appraisers who determine the fair market value must be certified by the state where the property is located, or by a nationally recognized appraisal organization, and have a demonstrated education in FHA appraisal requirements.

You will be sharing any newly-created equity and future appreciation equally with your mortgage holder. Basically, you will split the profit if you sell the house for more than this new loan is for, but not for the original amount of the mortgage. There is a small penalty if you sell your home in the first five years.

For this program, the FHA loan limit has been increased from 95% to 110% of the area median home price with a cap (which currently is around $625,000)

This program requires a new disclosure that informs you of the maximum monthly payment possible for the life of the loan.

Allows you to retain home ownership, at an amount equal to the current market value of our home, and still enables you to keep the equity you will be building.

Additional benefits for veterans:

Lenders must wait from 3 – 9 months after a soldier returns from service before they can begin foreclosure proceedings.

Soldiers returning from active duty are given a one year period of no increase in mortgage payments due to interest increases or adjustable rates on existing mortgages.

The Boston Globe on January 16th ran an article about the funding for these programs, and what the banks have done with that funding. To read this article, paste the following link directly into your browser.

For more information on the foreclosure prevention programs themselves, paste this link into your browser.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The times they are a changing....

This year, 2009, will be a year that we will not forget. In terms of financial hardship we are all effected by the downturn in our economy and the Wall Street greed that threatens all of our futures. On a brighter note, the long awaited change in drug policy in this state has begun. Starting January 3rd of this year, possessing small amounts of marijuana is now a civil fine similar to a parking ticket. This measure alone will save the tax payer between $15-30 million a year. Fiscal responsibility can be achieved when the will of the voter casts their ballot in private. And while "millions" seems insignificant when we are billions in debt, more "millions" need to be trimmed from the State budget. In that vein as we have said in the past our elected officials need to step to the plate and show we the people that they are willing to do what we are forced to do and that is live within our means. The financial realities are slowly sinking in to each and every town and city in the Commonwealth and hard choices are going to have to be made. No one and nothing is sacred. In these historic times radical change must happen at the state level. We feel it is time to reduce the amount of money we pay to be represented at the State House. Given all the reasons of inefficiency, corruption and inaction, we feel it is time for the Governor to cut the salaries of all of our elected officials. No one and nothing should be sacred at the State House either. The Governor has the power to cut the salary, and the legislatures have the ability to alter their pay structure. While there is talk of laying off policemen, firemen, teachers and medical staff, no one is talking about cutting the overhead at the State House. If there were a fire at my home, would my state rep come and risk his/her life to rescue me? If someone were at my child's school with a gun, would my state rep risk his/her life to protect my children? Will my state rep teach my child about the Periodic Tables, or treat my elderly parent's illness? If we have to make a choice between paying our elected reps or laying off essential service providers, the choice is clear. Call, write, fax, email the people at the State House we have elected and let them know it is time to cut their salaries.

Governor's Office

Governor Deval Patrick
Office of the Governor
Room 360
Boston, MA 02133
p- 1-888-870-7770

Your State Legislators

Rep Pam Richardson,

Senator Karen Splika ,