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National Multi Housing Council | AIMS Update
National Multi Housing Council | AIMS Update
September 12, 2012
NAA/NMHC Take Pro-Apartment Message to Republican and Democratic Conventions
As part of NAA/NMHC’s stepped-up public relations initiatives, we ran two of our pro-apartment ads in the influential publications Politico and National Journal at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. The ads were seen by all convention attendees on the morning of each party’s presidential nomination speech—the most important day of each convention.

The ads are part of a six-advertisement portfolio showing not only that apartments create jobs but also that changing demographics and lifestyle preferences strongly favor rental housing. The ads are just one element in a suite of new advertising tools that also includes a new brochure promoting apartments as the building blocks of the economy, local communities and quality lifestyles. Member firms and local apartment associations are encouraged to use the ads for their own public relations efforts. The ads and the brochure are available here.
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Real Estate Policy in Focus at National Political Conventions
NAA/NMHC, along with other real estate industry partners, hosted a two-event series of real estate forums and receptions at both the Republican and Democratic conventions. The events, titled “A Strong Real Estate Market is Vital for a Robust Economic Recovery,” were nationally webcast live policy discussions featuring key policymakers. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), co-chair of the Senate Real Estate Caucus, and Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), co-chair of the House Real Estate Caucus, participated in the event at the Republican convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 28. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) participated in the event at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 5.

Representing the interests of the apartment industry in the policy discussions were Jerry Wilkinson, chairman of The Wilkinson Companies and 2012 NAA Chairman of the Board, and Alex Jackiw, managing director, residential client services at McKinley Associates, 2013 NAA Chair-elect and a NMHC Board member. Their remarks touched on the effects of potential tax reform in 2013 and the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, among other issues. NAA/NMHC members are encouraged to watch the forums on replay by clicking here.
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Federal Appeals Court Set to Review National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) “Poster Rule”
On Sept. 11, a federal appeals court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in a legal challenge to NLRB’s “poster rule,” which requires most employers to display union organizing information in the workplace. Following two voluntary postponements by NLRB, the regulation was scheduled to take effect on April 30; however, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia enjoined the rule pending an outcome in the litigation. On March 2, the District Court upheld the poster requirement but invalidated some of its penalty provisions.
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Support Grows for Federal Building Energy Efficiency Policy

Although Congress has been unable to pass a comprehensive energy bill, both chambers remain actively engaged in legislation that includes building energy efficiency, making it a key agenda item for the next Congress. In July, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on a modified version of the Smart Energy Act (H.R. 4017). Although the bill’s focus is on energy efficiency in federally owned buildings, it also promotes best practices for advanced utility metering and energy management and data collection that would serve as important models for the private sector. However, the modified bill backed off support of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) building retrofit financing program in light of DOE’s controversial loan guarantee program, which funded the failed Solyndra company.

In the Senate, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011 (S. 1000), which includes measures to increase DOE’s role in the development of building energy codes, was offered as an amendment to a much-supported bill on cybersecurity. While the amendment ultimately failed, this action shows members’ determination to have the Senate consider the issue. In addition, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing in June to review non-federal financing programs for energy efficient building retrofits.
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NAA/NMHC Express Concern Regarding Proposed Changes to Fair Market Rents (FMRs) for Section 8 Program

On Sept. 8, NAA/NMHC joined other real estate groups in submitting a letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regarding its proposed changes to the FMR data used in conjunction with the Section 8 housing voucher program. While the coalition acknowledged some potential improvements resulting from the new methodology, it remains concerned that changes will result in significant declines in FMRs in some areas, triggering a number of adverse results. In addition, the industry coalition highlighted issues with HUD’s small area FMRs and asked for additional data to support their use. To read the letter, go here.
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Senate Banking Committee Considers Section 8 Program Reform
On Aug. 1, the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on “Streamlining and Strengthening HUD’s Rental Housing Assistance Programs.” NAA/NMHC, along with a coalition of real estate groups, urged the Senate to pass legislation already contained in the discussion draft of the Affordable Housing and Self-sufficiency Improvement Act of 2012, approved by the House Financial Services Housing Subcommittee earlier this year. The House bill will improve the voucher program by streamlining it. Reforming the Section 8 program is necessary to remove duplicative regulatory requirements so that the cost of renting to voucher-holding residents is comparable to the cost of serving unsubsidized residents. Copies of the coalition letter and the NAA/NMHC letter are available here.
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Spending, Taxes Top Lawmakers’ Agendas as Congress Reconvenes

With Congress back in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 10 for an abbreviated work period before the November elections, legislators face a long list of issues significant to the multifamily industry that must see action prior to the end of 2012:

Government funding. Given that FY 2013 begins on Oct. 1, Congress must act to fund the government, including appropriated housing programs, and avert a potential shutdown. Congressional leaders have agreed in principle on a six-month stopgap spending bill that would keep the federal government funded through March 2013.

Bush-era tax cuts. The Bush-era tax cuts are once again set to expire on Dec. 31. If left to expire, tax rates on ordinary income, capital gains and dividends, as well as the estate tax, are set to rise dramatically. Senate Democrats have approved a one-year extension of the Bush tax cuts, with the exception of the estate tax. Likewise, House Republicans have approved a one-year extension of the Bush tax cuts for all taxpayers regardless of income. Debate over this issue will continue in the fall, with no final tax legislation likely to be enacted until after the November elections.

The “fiscal cliff.” Certain spending cuts and tax policies set to either expire or go into effect at the end of the year could jeopardize the economy’s fledgling recovery. These include the automatic, across-the-board cuts to spending programs; the expiration of certain unemployment benefits; the sunset of the payroll tax holiday; and the “doc-fix” needed to ensure Medicare’s viability.

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Nominations Due for the Apartment Industry’s Member Advocate of the Year Award

If you advocate with your members of Congress, you could become the first Apartment Industry Mobilization Service (AIMS) Member Advocate of the Year. This new award will recognize an outstanding individual who exemplifies the qualities of true grassroots advocacy and inspires other industry members to promote apartment-friendly policies with their elected officials.

The award covers advocacy leadership from Jan. 1 to Sept. 17, 2012, which is the nominations deadline.

The AIMS Member Advocate of the Year will be recognized at the Assembly of Delegates meeting in November and featured in an upcoming issue of units magazine.

For details and the nomination form, go here. For more information, contact Kathleen Gamble at [email protected] or 703-797-0633.
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AIMS is the apartment industry’s grassroots network operating under NAA and NMHC’s Joint Legislative Program. AIMS represents more than 58,000 multifamily housing advocates.

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