This article was featured in the July/August 2017 issue of Austin REALTOR®. Read the full article here.
This May, 42 Central Texas REALTOR® members hit Washington D.C. for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. During this event, thousands of REALTORS® met with all 535 legislators and their staff to focus on key issues such as tax reform, flood insurance, and protecting sustainable homeownership.
Prior to the meetings, NAR hosted a Town Hall with NAR Chief Lobbyist Jerry Giovaniello, who stressed that all of NAR’s Public Policy Priorities are driven by you, the REALTOR® member.
Giovaniello, joined by NAR Deputy Chief Lobbyist Jamie Gregory, explained that the tax plans released by both the House Republican Leadership and the Trump Administration strive to significantly simplify the tax code. Analysis of these types of tax reform plans shows that middle income families who own homes would face average tax hikes of $815 in the year after enactment. REALTORS® were encouraged to remind their representatives that we need tax reform, but it must first do no harm.
The Town Hall also stressed the need for Congress to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, also known as NFIP. If the program were to lapse, it could impact 40,000 home sale transactions each month while the NFIP is not in effect. The topic of flood insurance hits close to home for those in Central Texas, as many have been impacted by flooding in the last few years.
The final priority that NAR focused on during the Town Hall was the need to reform the secondary mortgage market to ensure that qualified borrowers have access to safe, affordable mortgage financing. Giovaniello reminded REALTORS® that it is a priority of NAR that the housing finance system be reformed, but while Fannie Mae and Freddie MAC remain intact in some form.
With this information provided, REALTORS® were prepared for meetings with their representatives. Because of their actions, on June 15, the House Financial Services Committee began consideration of a series of bills to reform and reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program. Here at ABoR, the issues that affect your business, private property rights, and homeownership in Central Texas are our priority. The REALTOR® Party’s continued success at the national, state, and local level is in support of you and your business.