U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), in a speech to the Chamber of Commerce of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers, has proposed that Congress use money from so-called "congressional earmarks" to help reinstitute the homebuyers tax credit as a means of addressing the state and country’s sagging real estate markets. The program provided an $8,000 tax credit for qualified first-time homebuyers and a $6,500 tax credit for repeat buyers. In the first quarter of this year, the tax credit led to a six percent increase in all home sales and a forty-two percent increase in the sale of new homes, but the program expired in early 2010. The following are excerpts of his prepared remarks: "Here in South Florida, where housing values have dropped so, there’s an additional measure that I believe will help, too: renewing the successful homebuyers’ tax credit. "It is an $8,000 tax credit for qualified first-time homebuyers and a $6,500 tax credit for repeat buyers. In the first quarter of this year, the tax credit led to a six percent increase in all home sales and a 42 percent increase in the sale of new homes. "That means: jobs. Jobs selling houses. Jobs financing houses. Jobs building houses. And jobs making everything you put in a house. "That is the kind of boost we need to get Florida moving again. "That’s why next week I’m going to file legislation that will reinstitute the tax credit for 2011. "But, it will carry a price tag. If the Senate’s going to vote to ban so-called earmarks, which you’ve probably heard much about, then I think we should take the money that would otherwise be spent on lawmakers’ projects and use it to pay for the homebuyer tax credit. "If my colleagues in Washington are serious about banning earmarks, instead let’s put the money into the pockets of homebuyers." For more information, visit billnelson.senate.gov.