Tax Reform Report Post NAHB Meeting in D.C.

by George Cooper, Immediate Past 2nd Vice President

NAHB invited myself and Rusty Payton to come to Washington to meet with key Florida congressmen regarding the proposed income tax reforms.

On November 14th, we were joined by JP Delmore, the NAHB lobbyist for Florida, in meeting with the chief of staff for Senator Marco Rubio, an aid for Senator Bill Nelson, Representative Brian Mast and his chief of staff and the chief of staff for Representative Carlos Carbelo.

In each case, we allowed JP to present the NAHB position on how to preserve an incentive for home ownership in the tax code, preferably a homeowner tax credit. This preference is chosen as it will provide the broadest relief to low and middle income families.

After JP completed his technical presentation, I explained the core mission of NAHB was to keep new home construction affordable. An important base in this mission has been the mortgage interest tax deduction and I encouraged the congressmen to find a compromise that achieved this goal.

Secondly, I reminded the congressmen that the U.S. economy was largely dependent on new home construction. I asked them to be mindful of this situation and asked that whatever action is taken, that it be done in a way that does not shock the new home construction market, so as to not push the US economy into another national recession the like of 2009.

Rusty and myself last met with Representative Mast on June 15th. During that meeting, I had asked for support to reform the Water of the US (WOTUS) executive order. He was not comfortable with that request at that time. During our meeting on November 14th meeting, I requested his permission to allow me to present the case for WOTUS reform, and he allowed the request. I presented the case of how site engineering storm water plan approval in Florida already goes through a State water management district review, county review and various other local reviews. The WOTUS expanded jurisdiction would capture most of the Florida land area and require an initial review by the Army Corp of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency. I expressed my concern that this added review requirement was redundant and an example of over-reaching Federal government. He advised that he agreed and was opposed to duplicative regulation of any kind. It appeared that he had done some homework since our last meeting.

At the start of our day, Rusty advised JP that he hoped that we would do no harm. I am confident that we did much better than that and did some good for NAHB and its members.