our plan, and to help them calculate how much money the plan could save them on their monthly payments.
And keep in mind, this is in addition to the $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers that’s in our Recovery Plan. And if you buy your first home any time between now and December 1st, you can claim that credit this year – on your 2008 tax return – and receive that money in as little as ten days. If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, but are buying a home soon, you can request a six-month extension until October 15th, and claim the credit before then. Or if you’ve already filed your taxes – or wish to do so before April 15th – you can just amend your form later this year, after you’ve bought your home, and get your money then.
The idea here is very simple: if you buy a home this year, you should be able to get your tax credit this year. That’s when you need it most, and that’s how we’ll help people start spending again, and how we’ll help raise home values, stabilize our housing market, and create new jobs again.
I’m also pleased to announce that today, California will be receiving $145 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide additional help to communities hardest-hit by the foreclosure crisis.
These funds will be used to buy up and rehabilitate vacant foreclosed homes and resell those homes with affordable mortgages – and to provide mortgage assistance and rehabilitation loans for low-income and middle-income families. That’s how we’ll help people here in California live their dream of homeownership – and how we’ll start transforming abandoned streets lined with empty houses into thriving neighborhoods.
But we know that it’s not enough to address challenges like housing and infrastructure and job creation in the short term. None of this will make a difference unless we build an economy that offers prosperity for the long-run. We can’t go back to a bubble-and-burst economy based on reckless speculation and spending beyond our means, where a relative few do spectacularly well while the middle class loses ground. We can’t go back to a culture on Wall Street that says it’s OK to bend or break the rules and a culture in Washington that says it’s OK to look the other way.
And we cannot allow what happened at AIG to ever happen again in this country. I know a lot of you are outraged about this. I’m outraged, too. The idea that some of the very people who drove our economy into the ground could accept bonuses with one hand while they were taking taxpayer money with the other goes against our most basic sense of what is fair and what is right. And I am committed to ensuring that we have the tools to prevent the kinds of abuses that sent AIG spiraling so that we never again put our financial system at that kind of risk.
We also want to do