The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Gov. Culver calls out the TV cameras on Tuesday to sign bill that forgives Jumpstart housing loans in five years, instead of the current 10

In City Hall, Jumpstart on April 20, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Gov. Chet Culver is making a big deal about it.

His office on Monday announced that Culver would hold a public ceremony on Tuesday in Iowa City to sign a new law that benefit flood victims who have gotten Jumpstart housing assistance.

Until now, those receiving the assistance got it in the form of forgivable loans that took 10 years to forgive. The change in the law will make the loans forgivable in five years.

“Thousands of Iowans have benefitted from the state’s Jumpstart Iowa Housing Program since it was created last fall,” Culver said in a press release on Monday. “With this legislation, we are giving a little more help to these who have already suffered so much.”

Culver will sign the new legislation – passed unanimously by both the Iowa Senate and Iowa House – at Old Capitol in Iowa City on Tuesday afternoon. Culver will be using Old Capitol as his office for the day.

Last Friday, Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, announced that the Jumpstart housing matter had passed the legislature and was on the way to the governor’s office. Hogg was one of the bill’s proponents.

Two months ago, at a nighttime neighborhood meeting in the Time Check Neighborhood, flood victims spoke to city officials and Iowa lawmakers. On that night, shortening the period of the Jumpstart forgivable loans to five years was one of the requests. Neighbors noted that Jumpstart business loans were for five years, why couldn’t the housing loans be? they asked.

That night, City Manager Jim Prosser said City Hall would see what it could do. Hogg was on hand that night, too.

City Hall’s lobbyist, Larry Murphy, was among lobbyists pushing lawmakers in Des Moines to make the Jumpstart change.

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