Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Leticia Van de Putte

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Contact: Tiffany Champion, (210) 733-6604

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E-News from the Office of Senator Van de Putte

Dear Friend,

I hope this e-news finds you doing well. I am writing to send you some much needed information regarding the housing mortgage crisis, this week's tax-free weekend, days to remember, and other helpful information.

Federal Housing Mortgage Crisis Legislation
On July 28, H.R. 3221, federal bipartisan legislation was signed in response to the current crisis facing middle America, while providing measures to prevent a repeat of these issues. The legislation combines a number of bipartisan bills including measures to modernize the Federal Housing Administration and reform Government Sponsored Enterprises, which will provide crucial liquidity to our mortgage markets now, and also strengthen regulation and oversight. H.R. 3221 contains the most significant expansion and improvement of tax programs designed to provide affordable housing for low and moderate-income individuals, since the low-income housing tax credit of 1986. Additionally, H.R. 3221 will help families facing foreclosure keep their homes, assist other families avoid foreclosures in the future, aid the recovery of communities caught in the crossfire of the foreclosure process, and help improve our economy and financial markets.

Tax-Free Holiday Weekend: Aug.15-17
This weekend, Texas celebrates its 10th annual tax-free holiday. It starts on Friday, August 15, at 12:01a.m., and runs until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 17. With the rising cost of gas and groceries, the tax-free weekend will help Texas families' get ready for back-to-school; so please take advantage of these savings. The tax break is estimated to save consumers about $54 million in state and local taxes this year.

Only qualifying items will be exempt from state and local sales taxes, such as: most clothing, shoes and backpacks/messenger bags priced less than $100. Customers will receive the break on individual items, regardless of the amount purchased. For example, sales tax is not due if a customer buys six shirts priced at $99.99 each. However, full tax is due on a shirt sold for $100; the first $99.99 cannot be exempted.

Below is a list of items and their exemption status for this weekend:

  • Baby clothes
  • Backpacks for use by elementary and secondary students
  • Belts with attached buckles
  • Boots - cowboy, hiking
  • Caps/hats - baseball, fishing, golf, knitted
  • Coats and wraps
  • Diapers - adult and baby
  • Dresses
  • Gloves (generally)
  • Gym suits and uniforms
  • Hooded shirts and hooded sweatshirts
  • Hosiery
  • Jackets
  • Jeans
  • Jerseys - baseball and football
  • Jogging apparel
  • Neckwear and ties
  • Pajamas
  • Pants and trousers
  • Raincoats and ponchos
  • Robes
  • Shirts
  • Shoes - sandals, slippers, sneakers, tennis, walking
  • Socks (including athletic)
  • Shorts
  • Suits, slacks, and jackets
  • Sweatshirts
  • Sweat suits
  • Sweaters
  • Swimsuits
  • Underclothes
  • Work clothes and uniforms
  • Accessories (generally) - barrettes, elastic ponytail holders, wallets, watches
  • Backpacks - unless for use by elementary and secondary students
  • Baseball cleats and pants
  • Belt buckles (without belt)
  • Boots - climbing, fishing, rubber work boots, ski, waders
  • Buttons and zippers
  • Cloth and lace, knitting yarns, and other fabrics
  • Dry cleaning services
  • Football pants
  • Golf gloves
  • Handbags and purses
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Hard hats
  • Helmets - bike, baseball, football, hockey, motorcycle, sports
  • Ice skates
  • Jewelry
  • Laundering services
  • Leather goods - except belts with buckles and wearing apparel
  • Pads - football, hockey, soccer, elbow, knee, shoulder
  • Personal flotation devices
  • Rented clothing (including uniforms, formal wear, and costumes)
  • Roller blades and skates
  • Safety clothing, glasses
  • Shoes - bicycle (cleated), bowling, golf

For a complete listing or for more information please visit:
http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxpubs/tx98_490/tx98_490.html

Victory over Japan Day-(VJ Day): August 14
This Thursday will mark the 63rd Anniversary of VJ Day. It is when Japan surrendered and announced acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration, putting an official end to World War II (WWII). Over 16.1 million U.S. armed forces personnel served between Dec. 1, 1941, and Dec. 31, 1946, 73% of whom served abroad and of which 292,000 were killed in battle. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed forever the way in which warfare would be viewed; it is an event of importance in all of world history.

Approximately one in six WWII veterans are still alive. Because San Antonio is home to many of our beloved armed service members, it is important that we pay tribute to those who valiantly and patriotically served during World War II, as we are losing them at a rate of more than 1,000 a day.

Love Your Kidneys Campaign
The Texas Department of State Health Services, in collaboration with the Texas Renal Coalition and the Chronic Kidney Disease Task Force, have started a "Love your Kidneys" campaign targeting persons most at risk for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) to get tested and "show a little love for their kidneys."

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney failure. Early stages of kidney disease have no symptoms. If left undetected, it can progress to kidney failure with little or no warning, requiring dialysis or even a transplant. If your family has a history of kidney failure, you too are at risk.

CKD is a growing health problem that has increased by 16% from the previous decade. It is more common among Hispanics, African American, Asian or Pacific Islander, and Native American people. Approximately 67,000 people die each year because of kidney failure. As a healthcare professional, I encourage those at risk to talk to your healthcare provider and get tested.

For more on the "Love your Kidneys" campaign and for testing and treatment information please visit http://savekidneys.com/

As always, please contact my office with any questions or concerns. Have a safe and enjoyable weekend!

Sincerely,

HOW TO CONTACT SENATOR VAN DE PUTTE
District Office
700 N. St. Mary's St. #1725
San Antonio, Texas 78205
(210) 733-6604
(210) 733-6605 - fax
leticia.vandeputte@senate.state.tx.us

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