REALTOR® Party Storms Grand Old Party

by Gary Thomas, 2012 NAR President-Elect

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Republican National Convention along with 2012 NAR Treasurer Bill Armstrong and 2012 Vice President and Liaison to Government Affairs Scott Louser in Tampa, Florida. While everyone was nervous about Hurricane Isaac hitting during the convention, it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm for our message that Homeownership Matters to America!

The convention was an outstanding opportunity for REALTORS® to meet and talk with GOP elected-officials and candidates about the important role that real estate plays in our economy.

We also saw how important it is for REALTORS® to get involved in the political process.  The week before the convention when the platform was being drafted, the committee overlooked including language about protecting the mortgage interest deduction (MID).  Shirley Wiseman and April Newland, both REALTORS® who were on the platform committee, won approval for language that explicitly puts Republicans on record pledging protection of the MID, although it first gives a nod to the party’s priority to seek comprehensive tax reform. If that doesn’t pass, protecting the MID is paramount. It is an excellent example of REALTORS® being at the right place at the right time.

The Real Estate Roundtable also hosted a panel discussion on the importance of a strong real estate market to creating a robust economic recovery.  There were representatives from commercial, hospitality, multifamily, and architects to make the case.  I had the opportunity to represent REALTORS®.  Our good friend and former REALTOR®, Senator Johnny Isakson was also a member of the panel.  We talked about the importance of maintaining federal incentives for homeownership and ensuring that market-stifling high down payments are not the result of a narrow definition of provisions in the Dodd-Frank law.  We all advocated for a broad definition of these provision, just as Congress intended.  Senator Isakson was outstanding on the issue since he was involved in writing the language. The Real Estate Round Table will sponsor the same panel at the DNC convention, and 2012 NAR First Vice President Steve Brown will be representing REALTORS®. If you have a chance, the panel will be live streamed for everyone to watch.

Overall it was a remarkable experience, and I was proud to see our REALTOR® involvement pay off at such a crucial moment.

Gary Thomas, 2012 NAR President-Elect

  1. Tom Molinari

    “Shirley Wiseman and April Newland, both REALTORS® who were on the platform committee, won approval for language that explicitly puts Republicans on record pledging protection of the MID, although it first gives a nod to the party’s priority to seek comprehensive tax reform. If that doesn’t pass, protecting the MID is paramount. It is an excellent example of REALTORS® being at the right place at the right time.”

    In other words, as part of its comprehensive tax reform plan, THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS CONSIDERING THE REMOVAL OF THE MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION.

    Any serious discussion of removing the MID at this point in the still very early housing recovery cycle and threatens the equity of millions of homeowners, almost guarantees a new round of foreclosure activity, and takes away one of the biggest benefits of homeownership.

    In California the MID is a big deal. When Romney / Ryan talk about closing loopholes as part of their tax reform plan, they should come clean with the American people and disclose that the home mortgage interest deduction is one of the loopholes that they are considering closing.

  2. Michael

    This is a joke right? The GOP is responsible for the crash in the market and the economy. I hope you had a good time at that sad little cub scout jamboree they had in Tampa, but the future of the country that is able to lead the world was this week at the DNC. CLEARY.

    I assume you will be reporting on some REAL conversations you had in Charlotte? Otherwise this is nothing but GOP propaganda and I am insulted to have received it.

  3. I tend to agree with Steve. A massive overhaul of our overly complex tax system to a flat or “fair tax” would be much better for real estate and our economy overall than just keeping our little MID. We are such a big lobbying group that our influence makes a huge difference. Legislators DO listen to us and we should lead the way by asking for real reform, not just our little gimicks which have minimal effect on the future of our country. Don, you could substitute “realtors” for “the grand old party” and it would also work. Wally, you are just another socialist wacko who can’t focus on the real issues we face. Look at the facts. Can you show just one example of a successful socialist country? Our founding fathers wisely realized that “government is best which governs least”. Freedom brings prosperity, not excessive government regulation.

  4. Hannah Horseman

    I am very concerned with the focus on who is going to provide our quick fixes and preserve the MID.. The best thing for this industry is what is best for the country in general. The confidence in the future of this country and the confidence of buyers to enter into a purchase with some feeling of security in the soundness is what is needed for this economy to turn around. All too often we see Realtors only focusing on the quick fixes, bail outs, short term govt. support, yet it does nothing for the long term health of the economy. We need to send our money and support to candidates who will do the difficult lifting.. do what might not be popular but is in the long term interest of the survival of this country. I will no longer be sending my hard earned money to RPAC so they can pass it on to these ” Realtor friendly” candidates. No more. We must get fiscally conservative politicians in office, even if it means we continue with a slower pace of recovery. That is what is best for the country and for the future of our business. .

  5. Dale

    Whether NAR leadership attends both conventions or not, it is important that our interests as Realtors (and often homeowners as well) are advanced with both major political parties. If our leadership wants to focus efforts and resources on a single party, then that should be done with a PAC or similar entity that is funded by money raised for that purpose. Please do not allow our dues to support a political party that has nonspecific bumper sticker values that seem to offer no real solutions. Also, it may make more sense to propose and support a larger, more holistic range of issues rather than simply MID. If housing helped lead us into the bubble and the resulting bust, then let’s hear some ideas for housing to lead us out of the problem. Perhaps NAR could make a call to its members to gather ideas so that we could develop some meaningful proposals from the ideas of our members. All of us can take a side and I am going to again vote for the man who can do the job with the tools that he has, Barack Obama. In the meantime, let’s come up with ideas rather than fight about it.

  6. Sharon

    People need the tax deduction. Yes, with today’s interest rates being as low as they are the reduction is not the same as it was when interest rates were 18% (1980). For twenty years I’ve been selling real estate. Buyers come to me all the time with over 50% of their paycheck going to Uncle Sam. They have nothing to show for it and are continuing to pay their landlord’s mortgage. I show them how they can make the same monthly payment and keep more of their hard earned cash. Renting always has a level of uncertainty unless you just like living as a vagabond. Home ownership brings pride and stability to communities. I’ve never asked a prospective buyer to pay more than their current rent, it’s the folks trying to push buyers into unaffordable situations that have broken down the privilege and pride of home ownership.

  7. Linda Grad

    I am so glad to hear the voices of people who understand that the economy is picking up and not getting worse…Unemployment is decreasing and not increasing.. Sometimes I feel like I live in an alternative universe from the GOP….They are totally single- minded and have blinders on when it comes to recognizing that in the past Reagon and Bush used the same ideas that have destroyed the economy in the first place. I hope you went to the Democratic convention, otherwise you are not really representing ALL realtors or the county’s economic recovery which will not continue if the GOP is allowed a free hand.

  8. Bob Vasquez

    A strong middle class will support the vast majority of businesses in our Country AND it will get families back into homes. Somehow too many Realtors just parrot a few talking points and give a grunt. If you want to know what is needed to bring our economy back to full-throttle, READ. In the information age, ignorance is a choice.

  9. Joe Langley

    I am thankful that you attended the GOP & DNC conventions and discussed the Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID). You seem to have made an impact at one of these events and not at the other. Over the weekend I heard the President strongly come out in favor of the MID, this is a great achievement and I say Congratulations!
    On the other hand the challenger has not taken the MID off the table. I hear Romney continually speak about closing loopholes, this is a great sound bite, but in principal he is NOT committed to supporting the MID. The importance of the MID to the industry and our clients is too important not to fight for. Is it is Romney’s position to keep the MID on or off the table? Who knows? He won’t say. Please keep the dialogue going and the pressure on. This industry, our clients, and this sector of the economy do not need any dis-incentives right now.

  10. Sandy Becker

    As I read the remarks I am amazed that anyone would think that the GOP has no vision. If you have studied history and follow politics you should realize that the vision of the present President and his Washington insiders is total and complete Socialism. I prefer FREEDOM and that has always been the vision of the GOP. Originally, if you were not a land owner you couldn’t even vote. That isn’t a good option, however, maybe you should at least file taxes. An entitlement society is NOT GOOD for the real estate market.

  11. This election is not just about real estate issues…there is so much more at stake.

    As a REALTOR, I am so thankful for the government sponsored programs that are helping my daughter study bio-medical engineering on needs based scholarship money. I’m also grateful for the link program which has helped us get through this last year.

    As a woman and a member of the human race I speak for many who will not allow a return to the dark ages of back alley abortions.

    Most real estate professionals are WOMEN!

    Use your vote to really be heard and vote for Obama!

  12. BOB HULL

    Agree with Carl Hales 100%. My wife and I have never considered MID in our decision to buy a home. The few people who used it basically over bought and were house poor until their incomes caught up to their house payments.

  13. michael skinas

    MID is very important to middle americans ,it lowers their tax bracket and it was intended to promote homeownership.The cutoff was 750,000$ & below were the ones to lose MID.This may have changed, however i trust democrats to protect MID before republicans.

  14. Bob Finch

    I think homeownership will grow without MID and will help country to get out of debt.
    Also, higher down payments requirements lower risk to mortgage industry, and insure that buyer have serious planned for home purchase.

  15. Linda Shuey

    What a shame the Republican Party has just views and to protect the most wealthy for profit but not those who need help and protections government laws for the home buyers of all levels and help in the purchases if can and the American Dream of Home Owneship

  16. Enedina Chavez Gomez

    This election is not just about real estate. It is about saving our country and our American way of life. The Republican Party has the platform to slow the the mess this administration has created. I trust the Republican Party any day over the Democrats. Democrats want to keep the poor poor and that is definitely not the American Dream or lead to home ownership. Dems are totally single minded and have blinders on when it comes to recognizing that this admistration used the same ideas of more spending that have destroyed the economy. Wakeup real estate professionals this is not just about you, it is about the future of this great country of ours and ultimately your future and you family. Use your vote to really be heard and vote for Mitt Romney!!

  17. Lucy B

    I read all the comments and agree with Dale and Linda Grad. I don’t want my dues to support GOP in any way. I’ve voted Republican in the past, but that party will never see my vote again. The GOP went so much right that it is no longer recognizable. I am in favor of keeping MID and in favor of all the very rich (including Romney) paying more in taxes. We have a clear choice this year- back to medieval social policies or forward.

  18. Sherry Anderson

    I find it interesting when a comment is “this is a joke, right, the GOP is responsible for the crash in the market and the economy”. History…look back. Clinton paved the way. Everyone has the right to their opinion and I’m neither Republican nor Democrat. I wish everyone just looked for the facts and not what media feeds them. God Bless America.