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Senator scolds federal agency; More tax reductions for residents

Bringing to you two different pieces of news from this past week, Chinese drywall has been a hot topic in the news in a mixture of good and bad. With tenants being moved from their homes, as profiled yesterday, to increased governmental actions to keep citizens safe, action seems to be on the rise on a matter that unfortunately remained stagnant for some months.

First, a US Congressman has stepped out to address the long delays involved in the governmental investigation of Chinese drywall. The Virginian-Pilot reports

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner sent a letter Tuesday admonishing a federal agency for delays and missed deadlines in its investigation of the impact of Chinese-made drywall.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission, which Warner in May urged to move more quickly to determine if the drywall poses a health risk to homeowners, was set to finish indoor air sampling of homes and complete a preliminary risk assessment by mid-September.

The commission now expects to finish the indoor air sampling next month.

“My constituents have had their lives turned upside down by Chinese drywall,” Warner wrote in the letter to Inez Tenenbaum, the commission’s chairwoman. “Most have moved out of their homes and several are facing the prospect of having to foreclose on their homes. They need the schedule of these test results in a concise, easy-to-read manner so they will understand what lies ahead.”

As said in a previous entry, it remains to be seen how much of this is stern politician talk and how much of it is genuine desire for change.

In other news, another area in Florida has instituted tax breaks for residents with Chinese drywall in their homes. The Bradenton Herald reports

Manatee County homeowners who have Chinese drywall in their homes will be eligible for a sizable property-tax break, officials said Tuesday.

The Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office said it will reduce by 50 percent the assessed value of homes proven to contain the suspect wallboard. Already, the office has notified several homeowners that they will see the deduction when they receive their 2009 tax bills in November.

“We’re treating it (Chinese drywall) just like if somebody had a fire,” said Charlie Hackney, the county’s property appraiser. “Is it going to make them whole? No, but at least we’re doing something to help.”

Very solid progress on a continuing trend.