Filtered by category: Legislative Clear Filter

Congress’ Full Plate and Election-year Politics Will Make 2024 a Busy Year

Originally published on January 17, 2024, by Eric Schmutz for NAIOP.

Iowa Republicans held their 2024 presidential caucus on Jan. 15, and as expected, former President Donald Trump won with 51% of the votes cast. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis placed second with 21.2% and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley placed third with 19.1%. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, after receiving 7.7% of the votes, suspended his campaign and promptly endorsed Trump. Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson received less than 200 votes and also suspended his campaign, but has yet to endorse another candidate. 

The current delegate totals among the candidates stand at Trump with 20 delegates, DeSantis with 8, Haley with 7, and Ramaswamy with 3. A candidate needs 1,215 delegates to win the party’s nomination. The action now moves to New Hampshire where Republicans will hold their first presidential primary on Jan. 23, and then to South Carolina where the first Democratic primary will be on Feb. 3 and the Republican primary will be on Feb. 24.

Unless a major shakeup occurs, we will likely see a repeat of the 2020 race between President Joe Biden and Trump. If so, it will be the first time a former president has run as his party’s nominee for a non-consecutive presidential term since 1892, when former President Grover Cleveland (D) defeated incumbent President Benjamin Harrison (R) in a rematch.

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Steadfast Advocacy Remains Critical in a Difficult Congress

Originally published on December 20, 2023, by Aquiles Suarez for NAIOP.

As 2023 comes to a close and we look ahead to the challenges facing commercial real estate in 2024, it is clear that persistent advocacy on the public policy front will be more important than ever to ensure that the interests of NAIOP members are protected. This is true of course at the state and local level, but it is at the federal level, where government gridlock has been most on display, that maintaining our strong advocacy will be critical.

As some media reports have already noted, this Congress will be one of the most unproductive since the Great Depression. Just 20 pieces of legislation have been signed into law. Narrow partisan majorities in the House and Senate, and continued dysfunction in the House Republican conference in particular, have made advancing legislation in this Congress an even bigger challenge than usual. For three weeks, Congress lost valuable time while the drama surrounding Speaker Kevin McCarthy unfolded, with Republicans finally settling on the fourth candidate to vie for the spot. While the House did manage to pass debt-ceiling increases and government funding measures that were “must-pass” bills, the only other bills that Congress seemed able to digest were those renaming post offices and those with no opposition at all.

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State Elections Are Important to Commercial Development

Originally published on January 3, 2024, by Toby Burke for NAIOP.

The political battle over the presidency and the control of both chambers on Capitol Hill is expected to garner most of the attention of the national media this year. While the outcome of these campaigns will have significant implications on policy debates at the national level, they should not overshadow or minimize the important political races for control of state legislatures and gubernatorial offices across the country. The outcome of these more grassroots races in comparison to control of state capitols may be more reflective of the policies of importance to the American people.

Republican governors currently hold a 27 to 23 advantage over Democrats heading into 11 gubernatorial elections later this year. The 11 states holding gubernatorial races in the fall are Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia. Except for Montana, North Dakota (to be determined), Utah, and Vermont, the incumbents are either term-limited, not seeking re-election or seeking another elected office. North Carolina is expected to be one of the most competitive this year because Democrat Rory Cooper is unable to seek reelection based on term limits and the recent Republican successes for statewide and presidential offices.

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2024 Candidate Filing is Complete - Primary Election to be Held March 5th - Here is the Complete List

The list is complete!  Candidates who filed are competing for important seats on the County Commissions, the State Legislature, and the U.S. Congress.  Click the links below to familiarize yourself with the candidates:

Federal Grants May Result in More Rail Options for North Carolina

This is big news when it comes to the impact on growth and real estate development strategies.  According to a recent article, featured in Axios Charlotte, North Carolina is receiving a 1.09 billion dollar federal grant, the largest ever received by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), toward the S-Line, a passenger rail line from Raleigh to Virginia.  Additional dollars will be allocated to plan and develop rail corridors between other cities, including "high-speed" rail linking Charlotte and Atlanta.  Other corridors to be studied and planned are those between the following cities:

  • Charlotte and Kings Mountain
  • Fayetteville and Raleigh
  • Wilmington and Raleigh
  • Winston-Salem and Raleigh
  • Salisbury and Asheville

For additional details, read the full article here: 

 

Mega federal investments will revolutionize
passenger rail out of Charlotte

Candidate Filing for 2024 Has Begun and Continues Until Noon on Friday

Your future leaders are coming into view!  Candidate filing for elected office opened at noon on Monday, December 4th and remains so until noon on Friday, December 15th.  Candidates who decide to run will be competing in 2024 contests for positions from County Commissioner, to State Legislator, U.S. Congress, and all the way up to U.S. President.  Click the links below to see who has filed so far and begin to familiarize yourself with the candidates:
 
Mecklenburg County Board of Elections - Candidate List
 
Iredell County Board of Elections - Candidate List
 
Cabarrus Board of Elections - Candidate List

Gaston County Board of Elections - Candidate List

Union County Board of Elections - Candidate List

Thoughts on the Run - Heads you Lose. Tails, You Also Lose

Originally published on November 20, 2023, by Rob Nanfelt for REBIC.

A coin toss is a reasonable way to determine who will receive first possession of the ball in overtime during a football game. It’s been the standard and accepted practice for years at every level of the sport. Now we’re learning that the outcome of elections can be determined in a similar manner. The outcome means someone wins and someone loses. But our low voter turnout this season means we are all losing!

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New House Speaker Johnson Faces Many Challenges

Originally published on November 1, 2023, by Eric Schmutz for NAIOP.

Following three weeks of negotiations and squabbling, House Republicans elected Louisiana Representative Mike Johnson to serve as the 56th Speaker of the House. Unlike his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who went 15 rounds before becoming speaker in January, Johnson was the first Republican to receive unanimous support from all Republicans voting, prevailing over House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) in a 220 to 209 vote.

This was a difficult time for House Republicans, who struggled to find a new speaker after eight of their members joined all House Democrats to abruptly oust McCarthy on Oct. 3. During the ensuing chaos, House Republicans nominated three candidates for speaker — Majority Leader Steve Scalise (LA), Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (OH) and Republican Whip Tom Emmer (MN) — but all three failed to achieve the 217 votes needed to win the speaker’s gavel.

Johnson was first elected to Congress in 2016 after two years as a state representative. He represents the 4th Congressional District of Louisiana which includes 16 parishes (counties) in the northwest and western regions of the state. He is a 1995 graduate of Louisiana State University (LSU), earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration, and a 1998 graduate of LSU Law School. Johnson was born and raised in the Shreveport-Bossier area of Louisiana and still lives there today with his wife and children.

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Huntersville Mayoral Candidates Forum to be Held October 20th

 

The Charlotte Observer along with Neighborhood TV and WSOC will be hosting a Huntersville mayoral forum on Friday, Oct. 20th.  This year Huntersville will elect a new mayor in November to guide the town in the coming years. Incumbent Mayor Melinda Bales is not running for reelection, leaving an opening for newcomer candidates Dan Boone, Christy Clark and Derek Partee.  Hear all three talk about issues facing Huntersville and answer questions at a forum discussion on Friday, Oct. 20 at 11 a.m. at Red Rocks Cafe in Birkdale Village, 8712 Lindholm Dr, Huntersville, NC 28078.

The forum will be moderated by the Observer’s local government editor Josh Bergeron and WSOC’s Joe Bruno.  Submit any questions you think should be asked by sending an email to [email protected] with “Huntersville mayor” in the subject line.

Congress Fires Its Speaker

Originally published on October 4, 2023, for NAIOP.

At this time last week, most observers of Washington politics believed that a shutdown of federal government operations was all but inevitable, having been inundated with media reports warning of a looming fiscal crisis. The current fiscal year was set to expire at midnight on Saturday, Sept. 30, unless a temporary stopgap measure known as a continuing resolution (CR) was passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate and signed by President Joe Biden. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy had failed to win over a small cadre of far-right conservatives to support versions of a CR that would have funded several Republican priorities such as increased funding for border security.

With only a five-seat margin in the House, McCarthy could not pass a CR without turning to Democrats. For their part, Democrats for weeks had demanded a so-called “clean” CR – one without extraneous policy provisions that would maintain current funding levels for a period of time. As the Senate appeared to coalesce on a funding measure with higher spending levels, House Democrats shifted their preference toward the Senate version. A far-right faction within the House Republican conference, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), had threatened to strip McCarthy of his speaker’s gavel if he relied on Democrats to pass a CR. The conventional wisdom was that McCarthy would not risk his position and a fiscal stalemate would result.

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Swirling Political Forces Could Derail Passage of Federal Continuing Resolution

Originally published on September 6, 2023, by Eric Schmutz for NAIOP.

Welcome to September! With temperatures starting to cool down, kids heading back to school, and football season kicking off, it’s easy to forget that the federal fiscal year ends at the end of the month. That means that there are only 11 days when both the House and the Senate are scheduled to be in session before the current federal funding authorization expires. Moreover, only one of the annual appropriations bills has passed the House and none have passed the Senate.

In most years, the House and Senate leadership would simply agree to a continuing resolution (CR) that maintains existing federal policy and holds funding at current levels for a certain period to prevent a government shutdown before Oct. 1. Leadership would then negotiate an omnibus package that includes all 12 of the annual appropriations bills, and just when congressional members are desperate to get home for the winter recess, pass it late at night and leave town. 

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A Full Fall Schedule Looms Over Congress’ Summer Break

Originally published on August 2, 2023, by Aquiles Suarez for NAIOP.

August has arrived, which for Capitol Hill means that Congress is in recess until sometime in September. Senators, congressional representatives and staff members scatter across the world on congressional delegation trips (so-called “codels”), and back to their home districts to meet with constituents, host fundraisers and boast about their legislative achievements. Well, perhaps all of those things are true with the exception of the last bit. 

The reality is that Congress left town last Friday with little agreement on a path forward for must-pass appropriations bills to keep the federal government operating past the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1. While congressional Democrats have been given their talking points on the economy by the White House, House Republicans had hoped to be much further along on their agenda to limit government spending by the time of the August recess. But only one of 12 appropriations bills that need to be passed and signed into law by the start of the new fiscal year has advanced in the House. And disagreement among Republicans on a proposed tax package has clouded the outlook for any tax legislation made into law this year.

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GOP Tax Package is Just the Beginning

Originally published on June 21, 2023, by Aquiles Suarez for NAIOP.

Last week, House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) kicked off what is expected to be months-long congressional negotiations over tax legislation. After a markup session that lasted nearly 10 hours, the tax committee passed three pieces of legislation that will be packaged together to comprise the American Families and Jobs Act. The bills passed on a purely partisan basis, with no Democrats on the committee voting in support, and with little chance that the combined bill would pass the Democratic-controlled Senate in its current form. As such, the committee’s action is seen as House Republicans’ first step on the road to talks with their Democratic Senate counterparts, possibly culminating in a year-end, bipartisan tax package.

The three bills passed by the Ways and Means Committee are:

  • The Tax Cuts for Working Families Act (H.R. 3936);
  • The Small Business Jobs Act (H.R 3937); and
  • The Build It in America Act (H.R. 3938).
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NAIOP Commends Supreme Court Ruling in Sackett v. EPA

Originally published on May 25, 2023, by Marc Selvitelli, CAE for NAIOP.

Today the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Sackett v. EPA, a case involving the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act and the definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS), and an issue on which NAIOP has been active on behalf of commercial real estate.  In a victory for NAIOP members and the CRE industry, the Court ruled that the Clean Water Act extends only to wetlands that are “as a practical matter indistinguishable from waters of the United States” and that have a continuous surface connection with that water.

For many years, NAIOP has advocated for commonsense regulation to protect our nation’s wetlands that is clear, increases predictability and consistency in EPA and Army Corps of Engineers wetlands decision-making, and reduces unnecessary permitting delays. Our most recent comments on the Biden administration’s WOTUS rule reflected this approach. Today’s Supreme Court decision finally clarifies the legal test needed to determine whether a federal wetlands permit is required for a development project. This will go a long way to reducing the uncertainty and added costs of delay that were the result of the legal ambiguity that existed.

The Biden WOTUS rule had been suspended in 26 states as a result of legal challenges. Today’s Supreme Court ruling will most likely force changes to the Biden administration’s regulation to ensure its application is consistent with the decision. NAIOP members should rest assured that we will continue to work with federal policymakers as regulations governing our industry are developed.

As always, please feel free to ask any questions about this or any of our advocacy positions.

NAIOP of North Carolina Day at the State Capitol Advances Interests of Commercial Real Estate

Members from NAIOP’s three chapters are in Raleigh today to advance the priorities of the commercial real estate development industry in meetings with state lawmakers. The 2023 Legislative Priorities focus on economic development initiatives, tax measures, and regulatory reforms that meet the current and future growth within the state.

A top priority for NAIOP of North Carolina this year is local permit reform legislation that reduces inefficiencies and brings more accountability, consistency, and transparency to the process. The passage of HB 332/SB 275I will achieve this by establishing a 21-day period for a local entity to review an application. If the local permitting entity is unable to meet this timeframe, the applicant may seek approval from a third-party (engineer) or the Department of Insurance. Other elements of the bill include:

  • During the 21 days, the local entity shall resolve issues associated with the application and may seek additional information from the applicant.
  • If additional information is needed or the application must be resubmitted, the permitting entity has 15 days from receipt of the additional information to issue a permit.
  • Upon acceptance of a certified approval of an application, the local government shall have 72 hours to issue the permit and refund all applicable fees.
  • Upon permit issuance based on third-party certification, the local government and inspection department are released from any liabilities, responsibilities, or claims arising under this legislation.

NAIOP members are distributing a Permit Reform Flyer during meetings to ensure lawmakers are informed and educated on the significance of this legislation for the industry. The flyer reflects the importance of passing HB 332/SB275 now!

NAIOP’s Day at the State Capitol underscores the importance of NAIOP and its members remaining engaged at every level of government to ensure the interests of commercial real estate are considered during the policymaking process.

New Biden Administration Rule Penalizes Borrowers for Good Credit Scores

Mortgage borrowers with good credit may face higher costs under a new plan from federal mortgage associations Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  The firms have released a new Loan–Level Price Adjustment (LLPA) Matrix for loans sold to them after May 1, 2023.  Under the new matrix, borrowers with high credit scores will face higher mortgage fees than before and those with lower credit scores will face lower fees.

  • Under the new rules, high-credit buyers with scores ranging from 680 to above 780 will see a spike in their mortgage costs – with applicants who place 15% to 20% down payment experiencing the biggest increase in fees.
  • LLPAs are upfront fees based on factors such as a borrower's credit score and the size of their down payment.  The fees are typically converted into percentage points that alter the buyer's mortgage rate.
  • Under the revised LLPA pricing structure, a home buyer with a 740 FICO credit score and a 15% to 20% down payment will face a 1% surcharge – an increase of 0.750% compared to the old fee of just 0.250%.
  • Meanwhile, buyers with credit scores of 679 or lower will have their fees slashed, resulting in more favorable mortgage rates.  For example, a buyer with a 620 FICO credit score with a down payment of 5% or less gets a 1.75% fee discount – a decrease from the old fee rate of 3.50% for that bracket.
We strongly support housing affordability and are on record promoting six specific strategies aimed at achieving just that, but the approach summarized above is misguided and not likely to achieve its intended purpose.

Debt Ceiling Debate in Washington

Originally published on April 18, 2023, by Eric Schmutz for NAIOP.

Congress returned this week from its Easter and Passover recess facing what promises to be a heated debate over raising the nation’s borrowing limit. On Monday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy visited Wall Street to debut the latest House Republican proposal to raise the debt ceiling. In his speech, McCarthy stated that in the coming weeks, the House would approve a one-year increase in the debt limit that will include a reduction in discretionary spending to 2022 levels while limiting future increases to 1% annually over the next 10 years.  

This is the Republicans’ first proposal to raise the debt limit since U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen informed Congress on Jan. 13 that the federal government would exceed its borrowing authority of $31.38 trillion a week later, on Jan. 19. If  McCarthy is able to get his proposal approved by the House, it will show an unprecedented level of Republican unity and will significantly strengthen his hand in negotiations with President Joe Biden, who demanded a “clean” debt ceiling increase during their Feb. 1 meeting – the only time the two have met in person on the topic.

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Canadian Government Amends Prohibition on Residential Property Purchase by Non-Canadians

Originally published on April 5, 2023, by Leona Savoie for NAIOP Newsletter.

The Canadian government enacted legislation on Jan. 1, 2023, that disrupted commercial and residential real estate development across the country. The Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadian Act (the “Act”)  was originally intended to be a demand-side solution to make housing more affordable for Canadians by prohibiting residential purchases by non-Canadians over the next two years. However, the regulations under the Act, released only a week before enactment, unintentionally halted commercial investment in current and future residential and mixed-use projects in major metro areas.

The NAIOP Research Foundation issued a report last August highlighting the importance and contributions of commercial real estate to the Canadian economy. The report, specifically, found that the industry generated the following economic benefits in 2021:

  • Generated $148.4 billion in net contribution to GDP.
  • Created and supported 1.0 million jobs, of which 372,710 are direct jobs.
  • Generated $67.5 billion in labor income for workers.
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Major Tax Increases Proposed in Biden’s 2024 Budget

Originally published on March 15, 2023, by Aquiles Suarez for NAIOP.

President Joe Biden submitted his proposed fiscal year 2024 federal budget to Congress on March 9. While the term “March Madness” is usually associated with the NCAA’s college basketball tournament, you could be forgiven if you thought it might also apply to this budget proposal. That’s because it contains numerous tax increases that repeatedly failed to clear the House of Representatives and Senate when these chambers were controlled by Democrats. With the House now in the hands of a Republican majority, chances are low that a majority of these recycled provisions will make it into legislation.

But the president’s budget submission makes sense if you acknowledge that its primary purpose is as a political messaging document, meant to provide a contrast between his administration and Republicans in advance of the 2024 presidential election. It was somewhat predictable, therefore, that tax proposals which were part of the Biden “Build Back Better” agenda would resurface in the 2024 budget version. Anticipating this would be the case, earlier this year NAIOP members attending our Chapter Leadership and Legislative Retreat in Washington, D.C., met with their elected representatives on Capitol Hill, with tax policy a top NAIOP legislative priority discussed at their meetings. 

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Return to the Hill: CL&LR 2023

Originally published on January 18, 2023 by Aquiles Suarez for NAIOP E-Newsletter.

In less than two weeks – and for the first time since February 2020 and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – NAIOP members and chapter local executives will be headed to Capitol Hill to meet with their elected representatives, senators and congressional staff. In so doing, they will be taking the opportunity to establish relationships with newly elected members of Congress, renew and deepen existing ties with incumbents, and talk to their elected officials about issues important to the commercial real estate industry.

All of this occurs as part of NAIOP’s Chapter Leadership and Legislative Retreat (CL&LR), a three-day conference where local NAIOP chapter executives and their leadership come together in our nation’s capital to talk about their chapters, share best practices, and spend a day meeting with their elected federal representatives on Wednesday, Feb. 1, Capitol Hill Day. For much of the next two weeks, NAIOP members coming to Washington, D.C. will be scheduling meetings with their senators and representatives to discuss NAIOP’s 2023 Federal Priorities with them.

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