11 Mar MARCH REPORT – From the TAR Government Affairs Department
March Article| March 11, 2019
What Does TAR/RPAC Do for Me?
This year marks 50 years of the REATORS® Political Action Committee and RPAC’s work to advance the American dream of homeownership. Nationally, RPAC has grown from just 300 REALTORS® investing $28,000 to more than 98,000 REALTORS® investing over $36.5 million.
The purpose of RPAC is to support candidates and issues that matter to REALTORS®. The goal is to elect pro-REALTOR® candidates at the local, state, and federal levels that share our support for homeownership, protect property rights, and who will listen to our concerns. Investing in RPAC is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your business. The funds collected ultimately work to influence issues at the local, state and nation levels around the country and support REALTOR® champions to ensure we achieve the policy outcomes necessary to protect property rights.
Recently, RPAC and our Advocacy Programs Have Helped:
- Persuade the US Treasury and the IRS to simplify a regulation clarifying that all real estate agents and brokers who are not employees but operate as sole proprietors or owners of partnerships, S corporations or limited liability companies are eligible for the new deduction, which can be as high as 20 percent. This includes those whose income exceeds the threshold of $157,500 for single filers and $315,000 for those filing a joint return.
- Send a bill to the Governor that is a common-sense public policy solution that fixes a longstanding problem in real estate transactions. Under current law, only a licensed real estate broker is authorized to prepare a deed; however, the broker could delegate this limited authority to prepare the form to a title company which then completed the deed under the direction and review of the broker. This legislation will reduce confusion and lessen disputes by authorizing a title company to prepare a deed using the statutory deed. If the Governor signs this legislation into law, CAR will prepare information to share with members about the changes in statutory deed forms and the contract to buy and sell property in a later publication.
- Build a comprehensive 50 state report and database on creative solutions to the country’s affordable housing crisis. Thanks in part to RPAC dollars, the Colorado Association of REALTORS® has amassed a comprehensive study on what does (and what does not) work around the country to find solutions to available and attainable housing. This report is instrumental in shaping CAR’s public policy positions in the Colorado General Assembly.
- Secure a FEMA reversal on new flood policies during the recent government shutdown. It was a critical win for home sales while the partial shutdown of the federal government was ongoing. The Federal Emergency Management Agency ended up issuing and renewing flood insurance policies, reversing an unexpected and controversial ruling the agency released early in the shutdown.
- Assisted in the creation of Colorado Project Wildfire. This project is designed to help reduce the destruction of land, property, and lives. Working in partnership with other like-minded fire prevention organizations across the state, local REALTOR® associations are bringing education and awareness, as well as access to resources, directly to residents in their local communities.
State News – House Bill 19-1096: Colorado Right to Rest
Earlier in the week, HB19-1096, titled Colorado Right to Rest, died in the Senate Finance Committee by unanimous decision. The bill would have allowed individuals to occupy public spaces for any duration without penalty, prohibiting state and local governments from enacting or enforcing laws, ordinances, rules or regulations related to public camping. CAR’s Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) understands the breadth of the affordable housing crisis residents continue to face across the state. This legislation, however, does not provide a viable solution to end homelessness, nor does it provide communities with the resources needed to assist individuals and families in finding stable housing or to provide more diverse and affordable housing units to the market. Therefore, LPC opposed the bill. On Tuesday, bill sponsor, Rep. Jovan Melton (D-Aurora) asked the Committee to postpone indefinitely his bill to allow Denver voters to decide this issue at the ballot box this May.
On the May 2019 ballot, Denver voters will be asked to consider Denver Initiative 300, commonly referred to as the Right to Survive Initiative that is a proposed policy change to the city’s municipal code. If voters approve this initiative it could repeal Denver’s urban camping ban, allowing individuals to reside in any public space throughout the City and County of Denver for any duration of time. Common Sense Policy Roundtable (CSPR) released a detailed study analyzing how Homelessness is currently being addressed in Denver, and the impacts and unintended consequences of granting unimpeded access to public space.
House Bill 19-1145: Primary Residence Exempt Liens for Medical Debt
Sponsored by Rep. Kerry Tipper (D-Lakewood) and Rep. Sonya Jaquez Lewis (D-Longmont), HB19-1145 exempts a person’s primary residence from the attachment or execution of a lien from unpaid medical debts. REALTORS® strongly believe in homeownership and protecting property owners’ rights to own, use and transfer real estate; therefore, CAR’s Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) supports this legislation. Purchasing a home is one of the most significant investments a person makes during their lifetime. That equity and ability to build wealth and a better future for Colorado families should not be extinguished or diminished as a result of a catastrophic medical emergency. CAR believes this bill protects the values of homeownership for all Coloradans. HB19-1145 will be heard next in the House Finance Committee on Mar. 11th.
National News – NAR Defends Association Health Plans (AHPs) on Capitol Hill
Since the new Congress began, a number of Congressional Committees have held health care related hearings focused on issues ranging from pre-existing conditions to short-term health plans. In some of these hearings, the matter of Association Health Plans (AHPs) has come up, which NAR through its work with the Coalition to Protect and Promote AHPs has provided background and defense. NAR advocates for changes to promote and protect AHPs and will continue to provide updates to members seeking more affordable health insurance options.
Coalition Supports GSE Reforms
NAR, along with 27 other industry groups, recently sent a letter (link is external) to Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Acting Director Otting outlining administrative reforms to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that prioritize preserving access and affordability in the mortgage market. The letter was developed after months of collaboration on essential principles that maintain and enhance the stability and liquidity of the housing finance system based on the potential impact on borrowers, taxpayers, and market structure dynamics.
Recognizing the GSEs’ role in supporting the housing market, the letter emphasizes the need to decrease taxpayers’ exposure to excessive risk, preserving what works in the current system, and maintaining stability by avoiding unintended adverse consequences for borrowers, lenders, and investors. As the letter states, a “well-functioning housing finance system should provide consistent, affordable credit to borrowers across the nation and through all parts of the credit cycle without putting taxpayers at risk of a bailout. Lenders and other market participants should have confidence that they can access the secondary market on a level playing field with their competitors, through clear and transparent standards that do not discriminate….” While legislative reform is still necessary to end conservatorship and codify structural changes that ensure safety and soundness of any future system, the principles delineated in the letter promote smart administrative reforms that build on the existing system for the benefit of the broader housing market and industry.
This broad coalition effort is one of the many ways NAR is continuing to advocate for necessary reforms to the secondary mortgage market. On February 7, NAR debuted a new vision explaining a path forward to promote a reliable and affordable source of mortgage capital for American consumers. The vision includes:
- Leveraging reforms and innovations implemented since the crisis while completing the process with instrumental updates for a fully functioning liquid market.
- Promoting competition in the secondary market through proven structures to correct market failures.
- Preserving the 30-year fixed rate mortgage and focusing the mission on liquid secondary markets for Middle America and underserved borrowers.
- Minimizing the cost to consumers in normal and stress periods while maximizing access for creditworthy borrowers.
- Protecting taxpayers by using private capital.
- Maintaining simplicity in the transition while avoiding market disruptions.
This monthly government affairs/public policy report is prepared for information purposes for the members of the Telluride Association of REALTORS® (TAR). It is a snap shot of issues important to the real estate industry at the local, state, and national levels. Any position taken on local issues is done at the direction of the TAR Board of Directors and is done with considerable debate and discussion by TAR leadership. Positions taken by CAR or NAR on issues at the state and national level will be reflected in the article when applicable.