Happy Monday- both the House and the Senate are in this week with focus on President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2019 proposed budget. On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit is holding a hearing on Data Security/Breach Notification Regulatory Regime and House Science Subcommittee on Oversight and Research/Technology on Emerging Blockchain Technology Applications.
ADA Commercial Call for Action
On Friday, NAR launched a commercial CFA to 72,000 Realtors as well as to all House FPCs in support of H.R. 620, the ADA Reform And Education Act of 2017, that will be coming to the floor of the House likely on Thursday this week. This CFA will no count towards President’s Cup. Most of your members will not receive the email asking them to take action, but we welcome all members to take action if they are interested.
Association Health Plan
In an effort to expand access to more affordable, high-quality health insurance coverage, the Department of Labor proposed a rule allowing self-employed individuals and small employers to purchase health insurance through professional or trade associations by expanding access to Association Health Plans (AHPs). NAR supports the proposed rule, which could provide more affordable health insurance options for many REALTORS®. However, there are some important clarifications needed in the rule to maximize participation by self-employed real estate professionals. The final rule could also be subject to legal challenges further delaying finalization.
- AHP Issue Page
- Attached is Association specific letter in support of the proposed rule you can use with your association letterhead & President signature
- NAR also encourages interested members to write a letter to the DOL in support the proposed rule and provides this member template letter
- To submit letters please visit the Comment function on the Federal Register
- The deadline for comments is March 6, 2018.
On February 8, 2018, NAR sent a letter to Leader McConnell and Democratic Leader Schumer expressing support for the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. The federal budget deal signed by the President on Friday contains a number of wins for real estate, including a temporary extension of federal flood insurance and extension of NAR-backed tax provisions that include relief from debt forgiveness, the deductibility of mortgage insurance premiums, and several energy-efficiency related provisions.
Extends the National Flood Insurance Program until March 23, giving lawmakers time to work on longer term reauthorization and reform legislation. It also adds $27 billion in mitigation and resiliency funds to address issues arising from last year’s hurricanes. The extension makes $12 billion available under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to fund U.S. Army Corp of Engineers flood mitigation projects.
Tax Extenders- Retroactively extends for the 2017 tax year: (All tax provision extensions are only for 2017)
- Mortgage Debt Forgiveness
This provision will prevent homeowners who were forced to sell their home through a short-sale last year, or who faced a foreclosure, from being taxed on the “phantom income” they received when a lender cancelled their debt.
- Deduction for Mortgage Insurance Premiums
This provision will allow approximately four million homeowners to deduct the mortgage insurance premiums they paid as part of their mortgage. NAR estimates that roughly two million homebuyers annually purchase a home that is subject to mortgage insurance. This provision helps make homeownership more affordable for first time and entry-level homeowners.
- Energy efficient commercial buildings deduction
This provision extends the deduction for the cost, up to $1.80 per square foot, of energy-efficient commercial building property. Increasing the energy efficiency of commercial buildings not only helps the environment, it saves building owners and tenants money that they can use to grow their businesses and the economy.
In addition to these three major tax extensions, there are also several more minor extenders that affect real estate, as follows:
- Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit: 10 percent of amounts paid for qualified energy efficiency improvements (e.g., energy-saving roofs, windows, skylights, and doors) and 100 percent of amounts paid for qualified energy property (e.g., high-efficiency water heaters, air conditioning units, and furnaces), with respect to the taxpayer’s principal residence;
- Residential Energy Efficiency Property Credit: extends and phases down the temporary components of the section 25D residential energy property credit for fuel cells, distributed wind property, and geothermal heat pumps;
- Credit for energy-efficient new homes: extends the $1,000-$2,000 credit for construction and sale of qualified new energy-efficient homes.
Small Business Loans Ease: NAR Regulatory Update
The Small Business Administration has eased equity requirements for loans that can help businesses expand. Also, USDA is going through a process that could result in fewer households eligible for federally backed home financing in rural areas. Check out this video with DC Staff on changes on the regulatory front.
2018 Election Cycle Questionnaire:
The federal candidate questionnaire has finally been updated and approved for the 2018 election cycle. Please reach out to me before scheduling any in person interviews for open seats.
- Screening Instructions for State/Local Associations
- Candidate Questionnaire
- Cook Report- House Race Ratings
- Cook Report- Senate Race Ratings
Thanks and have a great week!
April Brown Gavin
National Association of REALTORS®
Senior Political Representative