Filtered by category: Legislative Clear Filter

Congress, Make Tax Reform Take the Long View

Posted on August 8, 2017

Written by Thomas J. Bisacquino

The world today moves faster than it ever has before. Smartphones provide immediate access to people and information. Retailers deliver with blinding speed, often the same day. But not everything should, or can, be immediate. That’s true in tax policy, and in commercial real estate (CRE).

In the CRE industry, owners and operators often must wait years, even decades, to recoup their investments. Meanwhile, they keep pouring further spending into their properties to keep them up to code and to deliver the perks tenants demand. CRE doesn’t deliver immediate rewards, but forces owners to make the necessary long-term investments that will pay off for them and the economy.

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EPA Releases Rule to Withdraw WOTUS

Posted on August 8, 2017

IMG_0072Fulfilling a portion of an executive order by President Donald Trump, the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have released a proposal to rescind the Waters of the United States rule that expanded federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.

The proposal (link is external) published in the Federal Register on Thursday, July 28 would nix the 2015 WOTUS rule and reinstate the definition of the streams and wetlands subject to federal oversight under the act that existed prior to its finalization.

The publication of the proposal constitutes the first part of a two-step process to meet the Feb. 28 executive order directing the rule’s review. The second step will be “a separate notice and comment rulemaking that will consider developing a new definition” for the extent of federal jurisdiction under the act, say the EPA and Corps in a pre-publication copy of the proposed rescission.

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House Hopes to Pass Budget Plan Before Recess

Posted on July 28, 2017

Republican leaders are trying to pass a budget before the House of Representatives goes on recess at the end of the week. The proposal would “set the stage for a potential $203 billion rollback of financial industry regulations, federal employee benefits, welfare spending and more,” The Washington Post reported.

The bill passed the Budget Committee last week. The GOP calls it “a plan for fiscal responsibility,” and says it would balance the budget without raising taxes or cutting Social Security. However, the plan is facing a tough battle; some parts of it are opposed by House conservatives, other parts by Republican moderates.

The bill aims to do more than set spending priorities. It would also be a stepping stone lawmakers could use in the Senate to avoid a filibuster and advance one of President Donald Trump’s top issues. “This is the tax reform budget,” Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said. “It’s critical that our party in the House comes together to pass this budget.”

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Senate Returns to Health Care Debate, Potential Energy Legislation

Posted on July 14, 2017

Congress returns from their July 4 recess this week, with the Senate consumed by the debate over their version of healthcare legislation meant to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had hoped to pass a healthcare bill prior to the July 4 recess, he will now will try to accomplish that prior to the six-week summer recess beginning in August. Senator McConnell has begun to hint that goal may not be attainable, however, because of divisions within the Republican caucus.

The delay by the Senate on healthcare has prompted Republican leadership to try to fast-track bipartisan legislation, including NAIOP-supported energy legislation governing the development of energy-efficiency codes for commercial buildings. The bill, S. 1460, the Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017, originally sponsored by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), could bypass the committee process and go directly to a floor vote. NAIOP worked with Senate staff to include language requiring a rule-making process for industry input, and that codes be economically and technically feasible. The prior Portman-Shaheen bill failed to advance when negotiations stalled in the last Congress.

Having passed their version of a healthcare bill, the House of Representatives plans to continue moving toward comprehensive tax reform legislation. This week, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Tax Policy, chaired by Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL), will hold a hearing on July 13 on the impact of tax reform on small business. The hearing will be the third held by the committee as it moves to develop a bill that most anticipate will be ready this September.

Paul Ryan: Tax Reform Will Happen in 2017

Posted on July 10, 2017

With health care legislation moving along, House Speaker Paul Ryan is eager to pivot to tax reform. During a June 20 speech at the National Association of Manufacturers, the speaker discussed the GOP Blueprint for Tax Reform. He said the plan will eliminate certain taxes, including the Alternative Minimum Tax, and vows it will “clear out special-interest carve outs and excessive deductions, and focus on keeping those that make the most sense: home ownership, charitable giving, and retirement savings.” Finally, he promised to use the savings from closing loopholes to decrease tax rates.

For his part, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady says, “What we are hearing from our local businesses is: go bold, go permanent, and go now.”

NAIOP’s government affairs staff meets regularly with lawmakers to discuss tax reform legislation and to voice concerns regarding proposals that could harm the CRE industry. That includes measures that would eliminate or limit real estate like-kind exchanges under Section 1031 of the tax code, and end the capital gains treatment for real estate partnership “carried interests.”

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House Advances Legislation for Brownfield Development, Air Pollution Standards

Posted on June 26, 2017

Last Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Environment voted unanimously to advance the Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act of 2017, which would reauthorize the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfield program for the first time since 2006. The program provides funding to states for the cleanup and repurposing of contaminated industrial and commercial sites.

Because of the threat of contamination, as well as liability and other cost concerns, developers and lenders tend to avoid brownfield sites. The EPA program, therefore, plays a major role in helping get projects off the ground in communities across the country. Since its inception in 1995, it has yielded a substantial return on taxpayers’ investment: On average, each dollar spent on brownfield cleanup has leveraged $17.54 of private investment. The program also boosts nearby property values and has resulted in the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs.

The subcommittee also approved H.R. 806, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017, which would delay implementation of the EPA’s controversial new ozone standards and allow the agency to take into account economic and technological feasibility when setting standards in the future. H.R. 806 would also require the EPA to submit a report to Congress detailing the impact of foreign pollution on compliance with these standards.

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House Ways and Means Committee Hearing on Tax Reform

Posted May 18, 2017

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) has scheduled a hearing of the full committee for this Thursday, May 18, intended to show how tax reform will grow the economy by generating investments and creating jobs. The hearing is the first major action the committee has taken since President Donald Trump announced his tax reform plan – a broad statement of overarching goals with little detail.

In announcing the hearing, Chairman Brady said that the committee would hear “from witnesses about specific policy proposals that deliver the most economic growth and how our ideas will directly help hardworking taxpayers and the businesses that create jobs across America.”

The hearing is seen as a first step by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Rep. Brady to revive interest in features of their tax reform plan which have garnered strong opposition among Senate Republicans, including a “border adjustment tax” that would raise the costs of imported goods by 20 percent. Also controversial are provisions of the House plan that would affect commercial real estate, including the elimination of Section 1031 like-kind exchanges, the loss of deductibility of business debt interest, and issues concerning the continued capital gains tax treatment of real estate partnership carried interests.

County Manager Discusses Code Enforcement Improvements with REBIC

Posted: May 10, 2017

During a recent visit with REBIC, County Manager Dena Diorio discussed LUESA’s ongoing implementation of a new Electronic Plans Management system, as well as other technology improvements currently under development. Here are some key takeaways from the conversation:

Q: What can Code Enforcement customers expect in terms of improvements form the replacement of the electronic plans management system? 

A: The following are some of the major improvements that are being designed for the upgrade:

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