Header Image

May 17, 2019

TAX AND ENERGY POLICY
Senate Finance Committee Announces Tax “Extenders” Task Forces; House Ways & Means Committee Examines Climate Change

FOREIGN INVESTMENT, JOBS & ECONOMIC GROWTH
Rural-Urban Coalition Proposes EB-5 Reforms

ECONOMIC SENTIMENT INDEX
Q2 Economic Sentiment: Commercial Real Estate Executives See Disciplined Markets, Healthy Economy


TAX AND ENERGY POLICY

Senate Finance Committee Announces Tax “Extenders” Task Forces; House Ways & Means Committee Examines Climate Change  

U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) yesterday announced the formation of several bipartisan taskforces to examine and help permanently resolve the fate of 42 expired and expiring tax provisions.  (Senate Finance Committee Announcement, May 16)

 Grassley floor x200 crop

U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), above, and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) yesterday announced the formation of several bipartisan taskforces to examine and help permanently resolve the fate of 42 expired and expiring tax provisions.  (Senate Finance Committee Announcement and Video of Grassley statement, May 16)

  • Among the expired provisions are a deduction for energy efficient commercial buildings (sec. 179D), the new markets tax credit, and the exclusion of income for debt forgiveness on a principal home. The committee members assigned to each task force are detailed in a committee news release.  

  • In conjunction with the announcement, the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) issued a report yesterday on the tax provisions that expired in 2017 and 2018, as well as those set to expire this year.  The taskforces are expected to complete their work by the end of June.  (Grassley statement, May 16)

  • "We'll ask the taskforces to work with stakeholders, other Senate offices, and interested parties to consider the original purpose of the policy and whether the need for the provision continues today," said Chairman Grassley.  "If so, we'll ask the taskforce to identify possible solutions that would provide long-term certainty in these areas." (Video of Grassley statement, May 16)

  • Legislation supported by The Roundtable is currently pending to fix a technical error from the Tax Cut and Jobs Act regarding depreciation of interior building improvements, known as Qualified Improvement Property ("QIP").  (Roundtable WeeklyMarch 15 and QIP Policy Comment LetterApril 26

  • In the House, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) has suggesting tax extenders should be part of a more comprehensive tax package.  (CQ, March 16)

  • This week, a Ways and Means hearing focused on "The Economic and Health Consequences of Climate Change."  In his opening statement, Chairman Neal said, "Climate change is real. The business community understands this, and savvy companies are planning accordingly."  He added, "… it's time for Congress to get on board. We cannot rely solely on the business community to solve this problem for us. The federal government has a significant role to play in creating real pathways for meaningful, long-term economic growth that creates solutions to reduce carbon emissions."  (Chairman Neal's Opening Statement, May 15)

  • The Real Estate Roundtable and a broad coalition of real estate and environmental organizations last week urged Senate and House tax writers to establish an accelerated depreciation schedule for a new category of Energy Efficient Qualified Improvement Property installed in buildings – or "E-QUIP."  (Coalition E-QUIP Letter, May 8)

  • Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer said, "The purpose of establishing a new E-QUIP category in the tax code is to stimulate productive, capital investment on a national level that modernizes our nation's building infrastructure while helping to lower greenhouse gas emissions.  As Congress considers potential tax, infrastructure, and climate legislation, the E-QUIP proposal should have bipartisan appeal on a range of important policies prioritized by Republicans and Democrats."  (Roundtable Weekly, May 10) 

E-QUIP and tax extenders will be among several tax policy issues discussed during The Roundtable's June 11-12 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

# # #

Return to Top

FOREIGN INVESTMENT, JOBS & ECONOMIC GROWTH

Rural-Urban Coalition Proposes EB-5 Reforms  

A broad coalition representing rural and urban stakeholder groups submitted principles today to the Senate and House Judiciary committees on strengthening and reforming the EB-5 investment visa program, which is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2019.  (EB-5 coalition letter)

2019-05-17 EB-5 cover image x200

A broad coalition representing rural and urban stakeholder groups submitted principles today to the Senate and House Judiciary committees on strengthening and reforming the EB-5 investment visa program, which is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2019. (EB-5 coalition letter

  • The coalition also recommends in the May 17 letter that a comprehensive reform package for the EB-5 Regional Center program accompany a six-year reauthorization term.

  • The letter marks the first set of reform principles that have broad, unified support across the EB-5 industry and national real estate organizations.  Signatories to the letter include the EB-5 Investment Coalition, Invest in the USA (IIUSA), Rural Alliance, The Real Estate Roundtable, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

  • The coalition's recommendations to modernize the EB-5 program "…would achieve the vital goals of safeguarding our national security and deterring investor fraud while ensuring that foreign direct investment obtained through the EB-5 program continues to drive economic growth and job creation in the U.S."  (EB-5 coalition letter)

  • A recent report estimates that the regional center program brought a total of $10.98 billion into the country (accounting for roughly 2% of all foreign direct investment net flows into the U.S.), and created more than 355,000 U.S. jobs (representing roughly 6% of private sector job growth), from FY 2014 – FY 2015.

  • Among the principles detailed in the letter, the coalition proposes steps to benefit Targeted Employment Area (TEA) projects in rural communities and distressed urban census tracts designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as "Opportunity Zones." Both geographic designations are census tract-based and share the common objective to channel investment capital to the nation's distressed communities. 

The coalition recommends a set-aside of visas to spur EB-5 investments in Rural and Urban Distressed communities.  It also urges Congress to take action to reduce the overwhelming backlog of pending investor petitions that are choking the program and blocking inbound foreign investment capital into the U.S.

# # #

Return to Top

ECONOMIC SENTIMENT INDEX

Q2 Economic Sentiment: Commercial Real Estate Executives See Disciplined Markets, Healthy Economy   

Commercial real estate executives expressed increased optimism about real estate markets and overall economic conditions, according to this week's Real Estate Roundtable 2019 Q2 Sentiment Index.  (Download the full survey report)

 Q2 2019 chart x200 Sentiment Index

Commercial real estate executives expressed increased optimism about real estate markets and overall economic conditions, according to this week's Real Estate Roundtable 2019 Q2 Sentiment Index

  • The Q2 Sentiment Index registered 51 – a six point increase from the previous quarter. The Index has registered between 50 and 55 every quarter since Q1 2017 – except Q1 2019.  (Topline Findings, Q2 Sentiment Index)

  • "The increase in our Q2 Sentiment Index can be largely attributed to a calming of the late 2018 capital market volatility and interest rate concerns," said Real Estate Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer.  "This positive situation has positioned the commercial real estate industry on solid footing to respond to a continuing growing economy, or to mitigate the impact of a natural slowdown in the current historically long economic cycle," DeBoer added. (Connect Media, May 16) 

The Roundtable's Q2 2019 Sentiment Index's score of 51 reflects a positive trend for the overall economy and real estate market conditions.  [The Overall Index is scored on a scale of 1 to 100 by averaging Current and Future Indices; any score over 50 is viewed as positive.]  Both the Current-Conditions Index of 53 and Future-Conditions Index of 48 for this quarter increased six points from Q1.   (Q2 News Release and Full Report)

# # #

Return to Top
For questions about Roundtable Weekly, please contact The Roundtable's Scott Sherwood at rweekly@rer.org or (202) 639-8400.

 imgAdFoundation      CBCommunities_footer_image        imgAdRealEstate  

© Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved.
The Real Estate Roundtable, Market Square West, 801 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Suite 720, Washington, DC 20004
Tel: 202.639.8400      Fax: 202.639.8442     info@rer.org | Privacy Policy