ACAR Legislative Wrap Up

It’s already more than half way through the year and ACAR has been working on a number community involvement and public policy programs.

ACAR led a campaign to support the passage a bond for the West Ada School District that brought $96 million in needed funds to build 4 new schools and renovate a high school.  After failing last summer the supermajority bond passed with 71% approval, relieving overcrowding in elementary, middle and high schools throughout Ada County.

ACAR has been meeting with the College of Western Idaho on their plans on expansion in Ada County and downtown Boise (we were also very pleased to have CWI Trustee and former IR CEO Mark Dunham present at our 59 Minute meeting).  In 2007, we were very supportive of the original bond campaign to create the college and which has seen remarkable growth to over 20,000 students (more than any community college in the history of community colleges).   REALTORS recognize education is vital to ensure a healthy environment for education and business.

This year ACAR has worked with the city of Meridian on downtown redevelopment and planning through a placemaking project that was highlighted by NAR .  Additionally, we are working on several other community projects that add value to homes and that improves communities we live and work.  Our work as a whole received national attention by NAR, as we were awarded the 1st ever Community Outreach Award.

The Idaho Legislature adjourned on April 10th (with a special one-day session on May 18th).   There were several impactful issues on the table including additional funding for transportation and education.   Funding in education included increases in teacher pay to make salaries more competitive in addition to ensuring adequate broadband/internet connectivity to students throughout Idaho.   Overall, public schools received a 7.4% increase, colleges and universities received a 3% increase, and professional-technical education received a 5.9% increase.

In addition, the Legislature addressed growing concerns about the condition of roads and bridges by increasing funding through registration fees ($21) and fuel tax (7 cents). These funds are utilized through a 60-40 split between the State Highway Account and local units of government and provides for about $136 million of the $540 million dollar annual shortfall.

Some of the issues concerning REALTORS and real estate include:

Several pieces of legislation passed by the Idaho Real Estate Commission, including cleaning up real estate statute (spelling, errors), changing the certification period for education providers, and clarifying an agent must be the owner of an LLC if they want to be paid through an LLC.

In response to ongoing debate over Urban Renewal Agencies, an Urban Renewal Study Committee was authorized to study urban renewal plans and issues and addressing concerns such as more sideboards and transparency.  ACAR works with a number of Urban Renewal Agencies on economic development, so this issue is important related to economic development.

There were several land use planning bills, but only one passed which prohibits the use of eminent domain by local government for obtaining land for greenbelts and trails, preferring the use of eminent domain for roadways.

There was a rule change by the Idaho Tax Commission clarifying the Homeowners Exemption as follows;

Part Year Ownership. For qualifying taxpayers who claimed the homeowner’s exemption on an eligible property, the homestead that qualified on January 1 of the current tax year shall continue to receive the exemption, provided however, the assessor may remove that property’s exemption if, by April 15 of the tax year, the taxpayer owns a different homestead and requests that the exemption be transferred to the second homestead.

For additional details on passed legislation download the Idaho REALTORS 2015 Session Wrap Up.

It has been a very productive year for real estate and real estate issues, we will continue to protect your business, enhance the communities we live and improve opportunities for home ownership

Ada County REALTORS Support West Ada School District Bond

West Ada School District BoundariesWhat: The West Ada School District proposal is for a $96 million dollar bond to pay for:

✔$30 million for a new middle school south of I-84, reducing overcrowding at Lake Hazel Middle School

✔$30 million for a new middle school in Star, reducing overcrowding at Eagle Middle School

✔$10 million for a new elementary school south of I-84

✔$24 million to complete expansion of Meridian High School, reducing overcrowding at Mountain View High School and Rocky Mountain High School

✔$2 million for a future high school

✔And ZERO increase to property tax rates!  Rates can stay the same because of new construction and increased property values.

Why: REALTORS® support strong communities.  Schools like Eagle Middle School, Heritage Middle School, Lake Hazel Middle School and our elementary schools are overcrowded and over capacity. Our kids need to be able to go to schools that can give them the best education possible.

Do you live in the West Ada School District?

Election Day is next Tuesday, March 10th, polls are open from 8am to 8pm at your regular polling location.   To find out where to vote:

Early voting open now through March 6, 2015

Ada County Elections Office, located at 400 N. Benjamin Ln. Suite 100, Boise, Idaho Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

New House Leadership in Washington DC

There has been some major shifts in DC  following the loss by Majority Leader Cantor; a new Majority Leader and Majority Whip were elected by secret ballot yesterday.   Please find below a few articles which lay out the tenor of the leadership race, and who the new team is.   NAR has solid relationships with both Congressman McCarthy and Congressman Scalise, so our issues remain at the forefront within the leadership team.

Flood Insurance Could Sink Your Sales – Take Action!

The Problem: Congress provided a 5-year reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), but severe implementation problems threaten to undermine real estate transactions where flood insurance is required to obtain a mortgage.

  • New NFIP rate structures have caused serious confusion and hardship for property owners.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to delay and miss deadlines.
  • The legally required transition to true risk rates has plagued consumers with increases in rates beyond what anyone imagined possible

The Solution: A four-year time-out. Congress has legislation in the House, H.R. 3370 and Senate, S. 1610, to delay changes to the NFIP. These bills would:

  • prudently defer rate increases until FEMA completes the affordability study mandated by law
  • create a system for targeted rate relief
  • establish an office of the Advocate for flood insurance rate and mapping concerns.

Please Take Action today and tell your Member of Congress and Senators that NAR supports the “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act.”

Find Out More (pdf)

Close Call on City Council Elections

It looks like a lot of people will be voting this year in local elections. The races will be close your vote will make a tremendous difference. Candidates that receive support from RPAC are not selected based on their political party or ideology, but solely on their support of real estate issues. Issues on the federal,state and local level include;

  • Preventing 20-30% down payment requirements
  • Assuring the continuation of the mortgage interest deduction
  • 5-year flood insurance re authorization; creating certainty to thousands of transactions in Idaho
  • Extending Mortgage Cancellation Relief for an additional year
  • Stopping tax on cloud applications, like the MLS services
  • Preventing undue fees and taxes on local homes to keep prices stable

REALTORS® must be politically active. If not, who will take on the responsibility of protecting the values and rights we hold dear? Be assured that someone will—someone who may not value wise business planning and could threaten property owners and property rights.

So, next Tuesday, can we count on you to be one of the first in line to vote?

Or request an absentee ballot and vote early.