Public Affairs

2015 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA APPROVED

In April, the Board of Directors approved this year's BNAR Legislative Agenda.  The Agenda is designed to inform our members of some of the key issues with which your local association are involved and our position regarding each.  It is important to note that these are only a few of the many concerns with which we actively address.

The five issues covered in this year's publication are:

  • Revise the foreclosure process and hold banks accountable for the upkeep of foreclosed properties.
  • Support for Public Access along the Waterfront from Lake Ontario down to Angola
  • Support for Unfunded Mandate Reform - Unfunded mandates are state regulations or conditions that impose costs on local governments for which they are not reimbursed by the federal or state governments.  If the state passes a law, it should find a source for the funds to support it.
  • Support for Strategic Growth Policies - Strategic Growth tenets are designed to shape growth and development so as to encourage: more efficient use of existing water, sewer, transportation and other infrastructure; compact development that requires minimal negative impact on the environment; and sustaining a quality of life which is for the betterment of existing and future residents.
  • Promote Property Management Legislation – Problems continue with unlicensed property managers (PMs) working throughout Western New York, and Buffalo’s efforts to register them is ineffective.  The BNAR believes legislation at the state level is the key to resolving an issue which is state-wide.

The Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors® continues to support the rights of Realtors® and homeowners, affordable housing, preservation of neighborhoods, prudent sustainable development, lower taxes, pro-business policies, protection for independent contractors, job development, retention of our youth in Western New York, smart growth, safeguarding the ecology, and participating in those activities and organizations benefiting the community.

Anyone interested in participating in the Public Affairs Committee or wanting more information should contact Dan Locche at dlocche@BNAR.ORG, or calling (716)923-4152.

BNAR Achieves 2014 RPAC Financial Goal for Tenth Consecutive Year

For the 10th consecutive year, the BNAR surpassed its RPAC financial goal.  2014 RPAC Chairperson Larry Lentini stated that the local association surpassed its $39,360 target in late May, and ultimately collected $48,287 by the October 1, deadline, 123% of its goal.  The Association fell surpassed its participation goal of 796 by 51 contributors.

In 2015, the BNAR has new goals and chairperson.  Chair Thomas Mazzone and Vice Chair Michael Ciminelli lead the charge to reach the $44,195 objective along with having 933 contributors.  The escalating targets reflect the increase in the number of BNAR members over the past year.  NAR has extended the cutoff deadline to November 30.

Remember:  RPAC is the life-blood of the BNAR’s political affairs effort.  Every contribution goes toward protecting your livelihood and improving our community.

Anyone interested in participating in the Public Affairs Committee or wanting more information should contact Dan Locche at dlocche@BNAR.ORG, or calling (716)923-4152.

2015 PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE HAS NEW LEARDERSHIP

Donna Littlefield heads up this year’s Public Affairs committee with Nancy Jones assuming the Vice Chair post.  Ms. Littlefield has been on the committee for over six years and has attended five of the BNAR’s Lobby Day in Albany.  While a relatively “calm” year legislatively, she has decided to ramp up the information portion of the meetings by bringing in speakers to address the committee.  The committee will also be charged with addressing two key issues during her tenure: problems with “phantom properties,” and property management licensing.

KEY LEGISLATION APPEARING BEFORE THIS YEAR'S CONGRESS

The fate of the U.S. real estate market is at stake as Congress debates and votes on a number of key bills this year.  In March, Congress passed a modified version of the Flood Insurance Rate delay bill (HR 3370) which limited the amount of increase that FEMA can impose and grandfathering some property owners so that they can reasonably sell their property.  The new law is not perfect but it is a great deal better than before and keeps rates as low as possible for as long as possible. 

Congress is also considering the PATH Act which will eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  The two Government Service Enterprises (GSEs) costs the Federal Government billions of dollars each year, but they are also the basis for a majority of the 30-year mortgages provided in this country and their abolition could increase mortgage rates by 1 to 4%.  If passed, the housing recovery would not only be halted, sales could revert to 2009 levels.   NAR adamantly opposes this bill.

Also on the docket is the Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act.  It generally allows taxpayers to exclude income from the discharge of debt on their principal residence. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, qualifies for the relief.  Financial corporations have been allowed to take advantage of this tax break and Congress is now considering allowing citizens to similarly benefit.

NAR publishes a number of Calls for Action which asks Realtor members to notify their elected representatives of our position.  What takes only 30 seconds could literally save your profession and home ownership.  When asked, please respond to these solicitations.

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