(From left) CAR Government & Public Affairs Director Sarah Rayne, President Don Bailey, Director and Government Affairs & RPAC Chair Joe Wilson, Past President Vicki Harmon, Director Grace Masten, President-Elect Joel Maher, Executive Vice President Page Browning, and Government Affairs Committee Member Rick Proctor.
During the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Annual Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, DC, Coastal Association of REALTORS® (CAR) members and staff traveled to Capitol Hill to meet with the federal elected officials who represent Maryland’s 1st District.
The group visited the offices of Rep. Andy Harris and Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen.
The purpose of the visits is to share with elected officials NAR’s legislative priorities, which this year include responsible tax reform, reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and protection of sustainable homeownership via reform of the secondary mortgage market.
NAR is concerned about the president’s tax reform blueprint, which appears to weaken tax incentives that encourage homeownership. According to an independent analysis from PricewaterhouseCoopers, tax reform proposals discussed to date would lower tax rates and raise the standard deduction, but would pay for these changes by scaling back existing real estate tax provisions. For example, middle class homeowning families would face an average tax hike of $815 in the year after enactment of tax reform, while nonhomeowners in the same income range would enjoy average annual tax cuts of $516.
NAR is also pushing for a multiyear reauthorization of the NFIP, which is particularly important for our coastal areas. Without reauthorization prior to September 30, the NFIP would not issue or renew policies in 22,000 communities where flood insurance is required for a mortgage and approximately 40,000 property sales per month would be lost.
Protection of sustainable homeownership through reform of the country’s housing finance system is crucial, as the current conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is unsustainable. NAR is urging the government to refrain from dismantling these entities without identifying a viable replacement or omitting an explicit federal guarantee. These components are critical to safeguard the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage and ensure families are not shut out of homeownership.
“Our federal elected officials and their staff made themselves available to us to discuss these issues because they understand the importance of the real estate industry to this nation’s economy,” said CAR President Don Bailey. “Advocacy for real estate professionals and property owners is a significant piece of what we do as an association and it’s important to do it on the local, state, and national levels.”
For more information about CAR, visit www.coastalrealtors.org.