Legislative Day for Washington Realtors

first_imgSubmitted by Dan Martinez, Broker/Realtor, Keller Williams Realty South SoundThurston County REALTORS® and Affiliates preparing to see local representatives at the Capitol.On January 22, I had the privilege of representing  Washington Realtors® at Hill Day.  Hill Day is an opportunity to learn Washington Legislature priorities, meet with our representatives, and provide feedback regarding our recommendations and concerns in support of a healthy economy and access to home ownership.Washington REALTORS® are the only organized group who represent homeowners’ issues in the state legislature.  16,500 members across 28 associations strive continuously to keep home ownership affordable and accessible.  In 2013, Washington REALTORS® fought to prevent increased taxation on the B&O tax allowing small businesses to keep millions of dollars for investment and services.  Washington REALTORS® strive to be non-partisan focusing on the issues affecting small business, homeownership, and community lifestyle.  Here are a few other causes REALTORS® support.Supported 50% approval for education levies.Elected property rights friendly officials.Supported the national Income Tax Forgiveness Act, preventing taxation  on debt relief for homeowners.Established high ethical standards for REALTORS® ensuring your interest is always our priority.Ride for the Brand“Ride for the Brand” was the opening theme for the Washington Association of Realtors for 2015.  Referring to the 7th Code of the West in Cowboy Ethics, Washington REALTORS® were encouraged to continue making a positive difference for the REALTOR® brand.  400 Washington Realtors and affiliates from around Washington State gathered January 22 to learn about the current state of local government and meet with their representatives to educate them on the potential impacts of their decisions regarding home ownership and the economy.Jim McIntireTax Base OutdatedWashington State Treasurer, Jim McIntire, was the first guest speaker to address the Washington REALTORS®.  McIntire outlined the basic functions of the State Treasury which includes  the management of $400 Billion in transactions and issuance of $20billion in debt-to-finance challenging projects.  The treasury also invests $4-$5B at any given time.  Active management of the state funds has saved $1B in interest payments and keeps the cost per transaction well below the industry standard.Washington enjoys an overall growing economy, however the tax base has not been growing at the same rate shrinking from 7% to 4.5%.  McIntire proceeded to explain that the currenttax base was established with a focus on “retail sales” while our economy has shifted to “service” based.  Low income residents and business have become “overtaxed”.The challenge is creating a tax base which more proportionately grows with the economy.First, Do no HarmWashington REALTORS® support tax structure changes which are broad based and not targeted at specific groups.   Tax solutions must Do No Harm to Real Estate Transactions and Small Business.  Washington’s real estate industry is stable, but still fragile – especially outside of King County.  Rates of homeownership are at historically low levels and many homeowners have yet to recover home equity lost in the recession.Education, Transportation and Infrastructure Funding Changes NeededKim Wyman, Secretary of StateWashington REALTORS® recognizes that changes are required in the state taxing structure and supports revenue neutral reforms in the structure of state and local property tax levies to comply with the McCleary decision and achieve a more balanced and predictable method of funding basic education for all school districts.Additionally, REALTORS® support a statewide transportation funding package that includes gas tax revenues dedicated to priority transportation projects as well as reforms to improve the use of transportation funds.  Projects must promote economic growth and public health.Don’t Expect a Kiss on the First DateKim Wyman, Secretary of State, encouraged REALTORS® and affiliates to make civic engagement a priority.  To be most effective, REALTORS® should meet with legislators outside of the legislative sessions and tell personal stories about how proposed bills will impact our business, our customers and our communities.  There are 800 registered lobbyists in Washington State and getting their attention is challenging during short in-session meetings.Wyman also informed REALTORS® of the value and financing struggles for the state library, and the Microsoft Virtual IT Academy which offers over 400 free on-line classes.Thanks for ListeningSteve Francks, CEO of Washington REALTORS®The Thurston County REALTORS® appreciate the time to speak with 22nd District Representative Sam Hunt and 22nd District Senator Karen Fraser.  The precious minutes of face time are critical for REALTORS® expressed their concerns for taxation of services and capital gains tax on property while continuing to support changes to Education, Transportation, and Infrastructure.Washington Realtors Accept Superbowl ChallengeBesides taking on local issues, the Washington REALTORS® also took on a challenge from the Massachusetts REALTORS® for Super Bowl bragging rights, but with one small caveat……they use our ball pump!  Steve Francks, CEO of Washington REALTORS® led the  charge as hundreds of REALTORS® cheered “SEEEEEEEEEA”……..”HAAAAAAAAAWKS!”Thank a RealtorBesides their commitment to assisting you purchase and sell homes, your REALTOR® is fighting for your ability to own a home comfortably and securely.  Remember to thank a REALTOR® for all they do for you.Thanks to all of the affiliates who took time out of their busy schedules to support REALTORS® during Hill Day.  AXIA Home Loans, Prime Lending Group, Cameo Home Inspections,  Carr Insurance Agency, Hydro-Physics, Done Right Home Repair, Thurston County Title Facebook23Tweet0Pin0last_img

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