March 18, 2017

115th Congress; It’s Time to Get Housing Back to Work

(continued from last week's blog article "The 115th and You Can Make Housing Great, Again")

During President Donald Trump's visit with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the president expressed that he knows how much we, as a home building industry, have been suffering. The president's own father was a member of NAHB so the president knows the value of what an engaged NAHB can do for builders and, by extension, associates. 
The beginning stages of reworking Waters of the US and the beginnings of the end of Dodd-Frank are very encouraging for our members across the federation. NAHB understands that they have a window of great opportunity in having a White House that has true business common sense and realizes that we are an industry that fuels our economy. 
NAHB, volunteer leaders and staff, has other issues that they are working on with the 115th Congress and I'd like to share them with you.

NAHB Policy on Key Federal Issues

Tax Reform
NAHB supports housing incentives in the tax code, including the deductions for mortgage interest and state and local property taxes. These incentives largely benefit the middle-class in particular younger households and larger families, by making home-ownership more affordable. NAHB also
supports the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), the primary tool for financing construction of new, affordable rental housing. The LIHTC is currently producing approximately 95,000 new apartment homes annually and serves households earning 60%or less of the area median income.


Housing Finance Reform
NAHB is a strong proponent of comprehensive housing finance reform that would increase the role of private capital in the U.S. housing finance system but maintain a limited federal backstop to the nation’s housing finance system. Federal support is particularly important for the availability
of the affordable 30-year fixed-rate mortgage,which has been a staple of the U.S. housing finance system. NAHB also backs efforts to update and modernize the Federal Housing Administration and establish a strong framework for preserving rural housing.


Labor Shortage and Immigration Reform
NAHB supports comprehensive immigration reform that will safeguard our borders, establish a fair employment verification system and create a market-based visa system that will allow more immigrants to legally enter the construction workforce as the housing industry gains
momentum and the demand for workers increases.


Environment
NAHB supports a common sense, scientific approach to safeguarding the environment that reasonably balances protection of endangered species, clean air and clean water, with the need to allow local communities to grow and thrive. NAHB is concerned with the Waters of the United States rule from EPA and Army Corps that would expand federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. This rule increases the federal government’s role in local land use and increases the costs of residential construction.


Property Rights
NAHB believes in allowing property owners direct access to federal district court review of property takings cases. Unfortunately, under the current legal system, the government can bounce the property owner between federal and state court, exhausting the property owner’s resources on legal fees, and avoiding court review entirely.


Federal Regulatory Reform
NAHB firmly believes that Congress must reassert its oversight authority over rule making agencies and that efforts to further regulate the housing industry must be subject to greater public scrutiny, based on sound data, and undertaken only after a careful consideration of potential effects on small businesses. On average, regulations imposed by government at all levels account for nearly 25%
of the final price of a home.


Energy
NAHB supports voluntary,market-driven and cost-effectiveness measures that promote energy efficiency in the home and the use of sustainable green building materials and construction techniques. Policies, such as enhanced financing and green appraisals, can help make energy
efficiency more affordable to the average home buyer. NAHB does not support mandates that neglect cost impacts, as they diminish housing affordability. 


Association Health Plans
NAHB supports a market-based approach to health care reform. Action is needed to lower costs and provide better plan options fo f r small businesses, such as association health plans (AHPs). Small firms pay more for a given benefit package than do larger organizations because of higher administrative expenses and less purchasing power. AHPs will ensure a level playing field for smaller employers who want to help their workers and their families with rising health care costs.


National Flood Insurance Program
NAHB supports a strong government-backed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that is available, predictable, affordable and financially solvent. To continue the stability and growth of the housing market, homeowners in the 100-year floodplain must have access to affordable and reliable
flood insurance and home builders must have access to accurate floodplain maps. NAHB urges Congress to swiftly pass long-term flood insurance legislation before the program’s expiration on Sept. 30, 2017.


submitted by Michael Kurpiel CGA, CGP

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