Capitol Connection – April 6, 2018
This week at the legislature – Colorado State Budget
Over the past two weeks, legislators have been debating the “long bill,” otherwise known as the budget, to fund state government operations. Colorado law requires legislators to balance their budget every year. This year, lawmakers had a $1.3 billion surplus to allocate for the general fund spending priorities and discretionary legislation from introduced bills. According to the state economist, the extra available funding is a result of both a strong Colorado economy and the federal tax reform package passed in 2017 because Colorado is one of the states that ties our state income tax to the federal income tax.
On Thursday, after a two-day debate, the Senate passed the $28.9 billion state budget on a 26-8 vote. The bill heads next to the Joint Budget Committee who acts as the conference committee to resolve differences between the two chambers’ proposed budgets.
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate highlighted transportation, K-12 school funding, rural broadband, and Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) funding as key issues in this year’s budget process. Both chambers also agreed to allocate $35 million towards school security grants. Interestingly, the Senate allotted $5 million for affordable housing grants for the Department of Local Affairs, whereas the House had only set aside $1 million in addition of the recommended amount for the same project in their initial review of the budget.
After the lengthy discussions in the two chambers, a total of 55 amendments were approved. Several fiscally conservative legislators criticized their fellow lawmakers for earmarking significant funds for special interest funding. Some of the hot-button issues they debated centered on funding for film industry incentives and school safety funding. We will now see the legislative calendar intensify in the last remaining month of session as several bills that were waiting in appropriations will now move. Stay tuned as CAR works on several legislative priorities before adjournment on May 9th.
NAR Update: 2018 Flood Insurance Rates
On April 1, 2018, National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) premium rates are set to rise an average of 8%. This increase is slightly more than last year but consistent with the annual 5-10% increases prior to the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act, which made significant reforms to the NFIP. Under 2014 Flood Insurance Affordability amendments, individual property owners could see a rate increase up to 18% for newer properties and 25% for older ones. With these April 1 changes, FEMA is also continuing to implement the next round of increases and other technical changes for the newly mapped and preferred risk properties.
NAR Update: Passage of FY 2018 Spending Bill Critical Step for Affordable Housing Funding and Flood Reauthorization
U.S. House and Senate voted to fund the federal government through September 30, 2018. The 2,232-page bill contains important provisions related to housing that REALTORS® have been fighting for, including alleviating the weakening of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) from the new tax law, extending the EB5 program, extending the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until July 31st, doubling flood map funding to $263 million, up from $177 million in the previous year, and maintaining funding for the flood mitigation, proofing and elevation of properties ($175 million), as well as the Office of the Flood Insurance Consumer Advocate ($5 million) to assist homeowners with concerns over flood mapping and/or insurance ratings.
CALLING ALL RPAC MAJOR INVESTORS! Enter to win a $500 Southwest Airlines Gift Card!
If you invest at least $300 or 30% of your 2018 Major Investment by April 13th with a pledge to complete your 2018 Major Investment by CAR’s Fall Forum, you will be entered to win a $500 Southwest Airlines Gift Card! The winner will be announced during RPAC Drinking for Diamonds at CAR’s Spring Summit on April 25th! You do not have to be present to win. The Major Investor levels start at $1,000 a year! Investing in RPAC is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your business!
Reminder: To be entered, you must invest at least $300 of your Major Investment by April 13th and pledge to complete your Major Investment before CAR’s Fall Forum. To make a one-time investment, click here! To set up a recurring payment plan, click here! Please share this drawing with any potential RPAC Major Investors! If you have already made your 2018 Major Investment, thank you! You are already entered in the drawing! Please contact Cameron (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions.
Upcoming Events: NAR Midyear Legislative Meetings (May 14-19, 2018)
The REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo is where NAR members take an active role to advance the real estate industry, public policy, and the association. REALTORS® come to Washington, DC, for special issues forums, committee meetings, legislative activities, and the industry trade show. Registration is now open. Click here for more information.
This year, NAR has held the REALTOR® Legislative Meetings schedule from 2:00PM to 4:30PM on Wednesday, May 16th to allow time for Capitol Hill Visits. For Colorado, we have 9 Members of Congress visits to complete on Capitol Hill. While we will try to schedule as many meetings as possible during this NAR designated time frame, we will not be able to fit all of these meetings into this window. As we approach May, CAR Staff will be in contact with attendees regarding our hill visits meeting schedule for your constituent meetings with your Members of Congress.
Sign up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts
More than 50,000 REALTORS® from across the country have already signed up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts – have you? Text CO REALTORS to 30644 to stay up to date on REALTOR® issues! You’ll be among the first to know about NAR Calls for Action and more! Click here for more information.
Invest in RPAC
The purpose of RPAC is to support candidates that support REALTORS®. Our goal is to elect pro-REALTOR® candidates at the local, state, and federal levels – candidates that share our support for homeownership, protect property rights, and who will listen to our concerns. Investing in RPAC is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your business. Our goal in 2018 is to raise $630,000 to continue to support Colorado’s REALTOR® champions and ensure we achieve the policy outcomes necessary to protect property rights. Click here to invest today!
Colorado Project Wildfire
Developed by the Colorado Association of REALTORS®, Project Wildfire is designed to help reduce the destruction of land, property, and lives. Working in partnership with other like-minded fire prevention organizations across the state, local REALTOR® associations are bringing education and awareness, as well as access to resources, directly to residents in their local communities. To learn more about Colorado Project Wildfire, click here.