BNAR Achieves 2013 RPAC Financial Goal for Ninth Consecutive Year
For the ninth consecutive year, the BNAR surpassed its RPAC financial goal. 2013 RPAC Chairperson Shelia Ferrentino stated that the local association surpassed its $37,635 target in late April, and ultimately collected $43,457 by the October 1 deadline. The Association fell short of its participation goal of 921 by 196.
In 2014, the BNAR has new goals and chairperson. Larry Lentini leads the charge to reach the $39,360 objective. He has already surpassed this year's participation goal of 796 contributors as 834 BNAR members have contributed to the effort thus far. The escalating targets reflect the increase in the number of BNAR members over the past year.
Remember: RPAC is the life-blood of the BNAR’s political affairs effort. Every contribution goes toward protecting your livelihood and improving our community.
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.
2014 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA APPROVED
In March, 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 six issues covered in this year's publication are:
- Revise Wetlands Legislation - State regulations affecting homeowner rights and the wetlands has been an on-going concern for Realtors®. Currently, the DEC regulates wetlands of 12.4 acres unless the wetland is determined to be of unusual local importance, but some are calling for the regulation to cover as little as 1 acre. While changes are necessary, more government control is not the answer.
- Continued Support for Buffalo Waterfront Redevelopment
- 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 Smart Growth Policies - Smart 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.
- Promotion of Buffalo's Medical Corridor - Beyond its bricks-and-mortar, the project could serve as the foundation for other new investments made throughout the region.
- Reform the Foreclosure Process - The problem is multilevel: the foreclosure process is too long, institutions are unaware of the properties in their possession, overall upkeep of abandoned properties is poor, and resale is risky for buyers due to time constraints and assumption of risks.
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.