“Are you optimistic ‘bout the way that things are going?
No, I never ever think of it at all.
Don’t you ever worry when you see what’s going down?
No, I try to mind my business. That is not business at all…”
–excerpt from “DIALOGUE” by CHICAGO
On July 29th I testified before Congress – more specifically the House Financial Services Committee. If it sounds familiar, it should. Chaired by Congressman Barney Frank, the committee oversees many of the regulatory matters that affect members’ day to day lives. Congressman Paul Kanjorski also serves on the committee.
Both of these gentlemen have been allies to our industry and understand the necessity of having a sound real estate market if our economy is to grow again. In other words, they realize that real estate and all that it encompasses is a significant part of the overall underpinning of our country’s financial well being.
My testimony revolved around the lack of available financing for small businesses. For obvious (and real) reasons my testimony touched on the lack of liquidity in the real estate market and how that same bottleneck is making any form of sustainable recovery in the residential and non-residential sectors of our industry impossible.
I pressed Congress to pass H.R. 5297, “The Small Business Lending Fund Act of 2010.” While the House has passed this legislation and we commended them for doing so – the Senate is slow to move…
So what would the bill do?
This legislation contains lending provisions that would help ensure community banks have both the incentive and capacity to increase total loans to small businesses.
Encouraging Congress to provide more generous depreciation allowances and capital gains rules were also placed on the table. Now is not the time to discourage investment in real property by changing current depreciation schedules or by changing capital gains tax laws.
Thanks to those on the committee that understand the need to ensure that real estate regains its footing for the economic well being of our country – more accurately for the world — after all we do live in a global economy!
There were disheartening comments that came from just a handful of individuals who don’t understand our industry. They also don’t understand the impact the regulator’s handcuffs on banks have caused and the overall misunderstanding of how real estate markets, financing and regulatory factors can help or hamper our country’s economic recovery.
So I encourage you to get involved!! Write your members of Congress. Let them know they need to act – now! Also, consider investing in RPAC so we can keep leaders in Washington who understand and support our business.
My local association has a new RPAC slogan that I love….goes something like this… “When you bark, is anyone listening?” Well, RPAC helps makes Congress listen to our bark.
Chicago’s song goes on to say: “We can make it happen. We can make it happen. We can change our world now…” When I think of all of us working together to turn our market around…Yes, I am optimistic ‘bout the way things are going. — Jim Helsel, 2010 NAR Treasurer