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Government Affairs Monthly Report


Routt and Eagle County Democrats Set to Meet to Pick Interim State Legislator
State Representative Diane Mitsch Bush is resigning from her state legislative seat to run against Congressman Scott Tifton, and Democratic party officials have announced a structure to find her replacement.

They’ll meet in Yampa on October 28th to interview people interested in running for the seat. The Representative’s decision kicks off another political process as the Democratic Party's House District 26 Vacancy Committee prepares to choose a replacement who would fill out the balance of Mitsch Bush’s current term through 2018.

The vacancy committee is asking people interested in the legislative appointment to e-mail a letter of intent, professional resume and a completed candidate information form to h26vcancy@gmail.com no later than 5 p.m. Oct. 20.

Local Election Forum Set for October 11th
Together with the Routt County Democrats, Routt County Republicans and the newspaper, the Steamboat Springs Board of REALTORS® is proud to sponsor the annual election forum focusing on candidates and issues important in this November’s election. The event will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at The Steamboat Grand.

The forum will feature Steamboat school board and city council candidates as well as local ballot initiatives. The event will begin with appetizers and a meet and greet from 5:30 to 6 p.m. followed by the forum from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open the community.

In advance of the forum, Editor Lisa Schlichtman, who will serve as forum moderator, will accept questions from the public to be asked during the forum. If you have questions for the candidate or about one of the ballot initiatives, email them to lschlichtman@SteamboatToday.com.

CAR Proposes Public Policy Statements for 2018
At its statewide convention in early October, the Colorado Association of REALTORS® will be considering formal public policy statements to guide legislative activity in 2018. Nothing is final until these statements pass the Board of Directors, but these proposed guidelines outline REALTOR® priorities for the coming year:

REALTORS® will consider legislation to improve economic vitality and business competitiveness, which includes:
  • Legislation that addresses economic development, including the reduction or elimination of the business personal property tax.
  • Improvements to our transportation and transit infrastructure.
  • Oppose the imposition of any real estate transfer tax.
  • Oppose any restriction on, or taxation or fee on, broker commissions or licenses.
  • Protect against any undue attempts to amend legislation concerning the ability of real estate brokers to file liens for unpaid commissions.
  • Engage on property tax assessment issues related to natural disasters.
  • Engage in independent contractor regulation and definition relevant to REALTORS®.

REALTORS® will consider measures that increase jobs and expand housing opportunities, such as:
  • Maintaining a robust environment for small business.
  • Maintaining a healthy employment market.
  • Viable affordable housing solutions.
  • Protect against any undue attempts to amend HB17-1279 or undo construction litigation reform legislation.
  • Encourage first-time homebuyers to enter the housing market by providing tax incentives when saving for a down payment and settlement statement costs.

REALTORS® recognize that one of the most important elements of our quality of life is the protection of the environment, including:
  • Water
  • Air quality
  • Open space and Parks
  • Healthy Forests

REALTORS® will consider measures to improve real estate practices and transactions. A strong economy depends on preserving the investment people have made in their property and improvements. REALTORS® strongly believe in protecting property owners’ rights to own, use, and transfer real estate, such as:
  • Measures that protect private property rights.
  • Legislation regarding land use planning, growth management issues, and transaction disclosures and mandates.
  • Prudent regulations or legislation concerning foreclosure and mortgage loan reforms.
  • Regulatory issues including: Function changes within DORA, DRE, the Real Estate Commission and other licensing agencies issues.
  • Legislation that prevents fraudulent transfer of property.
  • Targeted and reasonable policy solutions that provide resources for homeowners to better prepare for and mitigate wildfire risks
  • Opposing any legislation that mandates point-of-sale mitigation or increased property tax assessments for property owners that live in certain rural areas.

REALTORS® will consider measures to improve the infrastructure (roads, bridges, highways, light and heavy railways, water, and sewer) which supports and sustains our quality of life by providing the framework for accommodating residential, commercial and industrial growth and facilitating economic development.

Tax Reform Plans in Washington Could be Problematic for Nation’s Homeowners
The following is from a press release from the National Association of REALTORS® on the possibility of tax reform in Washington DC:

In late September, a group of legislators and administration leaders known as the “Big 6” released an outline for comprehensive tax reform that if enacted, according to the National Association of Realtors®, could lead to a tax on homeownership for millions.

According to the Big 6’s framework for tax reform, changes to the current tax code would eliminate important provisions, such as the state and local tax deduction, while nearly doubling the standard deduction and eliminating personal and dependency exemptions. NAR believes the result would all but nullify the incentive to purchase a home for most, amounting to a de facto tax increase on homeowners, putting home values across the country at risk and ensuring that only the top 5 percent of Americans have the opportunity to benefit from the mortgage interest deduction.

NAR President William E. Brown, a second-generation Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties said that the proposal reaffirms Realtors®’ concerns from earlier in the year and urged lawmakers to keep homeowners in mind as they proceed with comprehensive tax reform with the following statement:

“We have always said that tax reform – a worthy endeavor – should first do no harm to homeowners. The tax framework released by the Big 6 today missed that goal.

“This proposal recommends a backdoor elimination of the mortgage interest deduction for all but the top 5 percent who would still itemize their deductions.

“When combined with the elimination of the state and local tax deduction, these efforts represent a tax increase on millions of middle-class homeowners. That tax increase flies in the face of a reform effort ostensibly aimed at lowering the tax burden for Americans. At the same time, the lost incentive to purchase a home could cause home values to fall.

“Plummeting home values are a poor housewarming gift for recent homebuyers and a tremendous blow to older Americans who depend on their home to provide a nest egg for retirement.

“Congress can still score a win for American families by promoting lower rates and comprehensive reform that doesn’t single out homeowners for a tax hike, while also preserving important investment incentives like 1031 like-kind exchanges. We look forward to continuing the discussion in the weeks and months ahead.”