CRE Market Conditions, Tax Proposals, and Energy Policy Focus of Roundtable Annual Meeting
House Republicans Advance Tax Package, Biden Administration Proposes Rules for Energy Tax Credits
Economic Pressures on CRE a Top Concern of Federal Regulators
Roundtable Weekly
June 16, 2023
CRE Market Conditions, Tax Proposals, and Energy Policy Focus of Roundtable Annual Meeting

The Real Estate Roundtable’s 2023 Annual Meeting this week included policy discussions with national lawmakers on issues affecting commercial real estate, including market conditions and pressures on the office sector, tax policy, sustainability issues, and evolving security threats. Additionally, a special industry tax panel focused on incentives for property repurposing, community revitalization, and housing.

Speakers & Policy Issues 

Roundtable Chairman John Fish, left, with Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer

Roundtable Chair John Fish (Chairman and CEO, SUFFOLK), left, and Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer, right, launched the meeting, which included the following speakers:

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ)

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ)
Member, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs

Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and Geordy Johnson, CEO, The Johnson Group

Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN)left 
Member, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
and Roundtable Board Member Geordy Johnson (CEO, The Johnson Group)

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO)

Jason Smith (R-MO), Chairman
House Ways and Means Committee

House Ways and Means Committee Member Brad Schneider (D-IL)

 Brad Schneider (D-IL), Member
House Ways and Means Committee

Rep. Andrew Gabarino (R-NY)

Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), Chairman
House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection

David Crane and Tony Malkin

David Crane, left, Department of Energy Under Secretary for Infrastructure, and 
Roundtable Board Member Tony Malkin (Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Empire State Realty Trust, Inc.)

Alejandra Nunez

Alejandra Nunez
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation

Thomas Barthold

Thomas Barthold
 Chief of Staff, Joint Committee on Tax

Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi

Mark Zandi, Chief Economist, Moody's Analytics  

Roundtable Policy Advisory Committees 

Real Estate Roundtable 2023 Annual Meeting wide shot

The Roundtable's policy advisory committees also met on June 13-14 to analyze policy issues
with industry experts, policymakers, and their staff, including:

  • Joint RECPAC-Research Committee Meeting 
RECPAC Research panel Annual 2023

The Roundtable’s joint RECPAC and Research Committee meeting included a real estate capital market panel with CRE leaders. [Left to right in photo: panel moderator Mike Lowe (Co-CEO, Lowe); Sarah Hawkins (CEO, East Region, Hines); Christoph Donner (Chief Executive Officer, America, PIMCO Prime Real Estate LLC); David Mei (Vice President, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts); Gregg Gerken (Head of Commercial Real Estate, TD Bank); and Kathy Farrell (Head of Commercial Real Estate, Truist).

A separate presentation on the economy and CRE conditions was given by CBRE's Christopher R. Ludeman, Global President, Capital Markets and Spencer Levy, Global Client Strategist & Senior Economic Advisor.

  • Tax Policy Advisory Committee (TPAC) 
TPAC panel with Downey speaking

Speakers at the TPAC meeting included key House tax policy leaders (see photos in previous story section) and a panel on "Debt Workouts / Tax Incentives for Property Repurposing, Community Revitalization, and Housing." [Left to right in photo above: Adam Feuerstein (Real Estate Tax Technical Leader, PwC); David Downey (President & CEO, International Downtown Association); Victoria Honard (Legislative Director, Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA); and Phuc Tran (Vice President, Asset Management, Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners)]

An additional panel on the "Tax Legislative Outlook and Agenda with Senior Republican Tax Staff" featured a discussion with Payson Peabody (Tax Counsel, House Ways and Means Committee Majority Staff) and Michael Gould (IRS Detailee, Senate Finance Committee) that was moderated by Russ Sullivan (Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck).

  • Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC) 
SPAC meeting at 2023 Annual

SPAC members heard from featured speakers David Crane and Alejandra Nunez (see photos in previous section above), along with updates from EPA senior staff on agency projects affecting CRE assets, and a presentation of an online marketplace for Inflation Reduction Act energy tax credits. (SPAC meeting agenda)

  • Homeland Security Task Force (HSTF) 
Roundtable's Homeland Security Task Force

A joint session of The Roundtable’s HSTF and Risk Management Working Group met with Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) and were briefed by officials from the Department of Homeland Security on efforts to enhance information sharing with the CRE industry. 

Next on The Roundtable's FY2023 meeting calendar is the Fall Meeting on October 16-17 in Washington, DC. This meeting is restricted to Roundtable-level members only. 

#  #  #

House Republicans Advance Tax Package, Biden Administration Proposes Rules for Energy Tax Credits
Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee approved their proposed tax legislative package along party lines this week, including measures on business interest deductibility, bonus depreciation, and opportunity zones. (Tax Notes, June 14 | Ways and Means Committee, June 13 and Roundtable Weekly, June 9) Tax Measures and CRE Roundtable Chair John Fish with Jeffrey DeBoer and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO)
  • On Wednesday, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO), Committee Member Brad Schneider (D-IL), and Ways and Means staff spoke with Roundtable Members about the tax measures and other issues at The Roundtable’s all-member Annual Meeting in Washington, DC during the Tax Policy Advisory Committee (TPAC) session. [Photo left to right: Roundtable Chair John Fish (Chairman and CEO, SUFFOLK), Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer, and Committee Chairman Jason Smith]
  • The three tax bills sent to the House floor for a potential vote next week contain $237 billion in business and individual tax cuts, financed by the repeal or modification of several energy tax incentives enacted in last year’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). However, differences in the GOP caucus and requests from some Republicans to include a boost in the $10,000 deduction cap on state and local taxes (SALT) could push a vote until after the congressional July 4 recess. Any Republican tax package passing the House would face significant opposition in the Democrat-controlled Senate and the White House. (Tax Notes, June 16)
  • The committee’s proposals relevant to real estate include:
House Ways and Means Committee
    • Business interest deduction. The Build It in America Act would provide a 4-year extension (through 2025) of certain, taxpayer-favorable business interest deductibility rules that applied from 2018-2021. The proposal would allow more real estate businesses to operate under the general rules of section 163(j) and its preferable cost recovery schedules. (H.R. 3938 and summary)
    • Bonus depreciation.  H.R. 3938 also includes a 3-year extension (through 2025) of 100% bonus depreciation for qualifying capital investments, including equipment, machinery, and interior improvements to nonresidential property (“qualified improvement property”).  Bonus depreciation is 80% in 2023 and gradually phasing down. 
    • Opportunity Zones. The Small Business Jobs Act would establish special, favorable rules for investments in rural opportunity zones. It would also create a new and detailed information-reporting regime for all opportunity funds. (H.R. 3937 and summary)
Energy Tax Credits Transferability Chicago evening
  • The Biden administration this week proposed rules on transferring clean-energy tax credits under the IRA. Treasury’s proposed guidance released on June 14 seeks to clarify numerous issues, including which entities would be eligible for each credit monetization mechanism, laying out the process and timeline to claim and receive an elective payment, and transferring a credit. (Tax Notes, June 15 |The Wall Street Journal, June 14 | IRS news release)
  • Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen stated, “The Inflation Reduction Act’s new tools to access clean energy tax credits are a catalyst for meeting President Biden’s historic economic and climate goals. They will act as a force multiplier, bringing governments and nonprofits to the table.” (CNBC and Treasury news release, June 14)
  • The Roundtable’s Tax Policy Advisory Committee (TPAC) and Sustainability Tax Policy Committee (SPAC) will analyze the impact of the transferability rules on commercial real estate for potential comments on the proposed rulemaking. SPAC’s meeting on Wednesday during The Roundtable’s Annual Meeting included a presentation about an online marketplace for exchanging such tax credits.
Climate Disclosure RegsSEC logo - image
  • Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) expects to issue new climate disclosure rules by October, a year later than the original target date. The new date was included in a SEC rule-making agenda and schedule released on Tuesday.
  • Legislation to constrain future SEC disclosure requirements was reintroduced this week by Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and nine of his Senate colleagues. The bill includes language stating that an “issuer is only required to disclose information in response to disclosure obligation adopted by the Commission to the extent the issuer has determined that such information is important with respect to a voting or investment decision regarding such issuer.” Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) is sponsoring a version of the bill in the House. (Sen. Rounds news release and Politico Pro, June 15)
The Roundtable’s SPAC will continue to track any developments related to the SEC’s forthcoming rule on climate reporting, including its proposal for sweeping disclosures on Scope 3 GHG emissions affecting CRE. (Roundtable Weekly, March 10)  #  #  # 
Economic Pressures on CRE a Top Concern of Federal Regulators
Fed Chair Powell on CRE Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, above, commented on Wednesday about the economic pressures on banks that hold a significant concentration of commercial real estate loans. Powell said, “We of course, we're watching that situation very carefully. There's a substantial amount of commercial real estate in the banking system. A large part of it is in smaller banks.” He added, “those banks will experience larger losses” but since the loans are “well distributed,” the issue is not likely to “suddenly hit and work its way into systemic risk” to the overall economy. (Fed news conference transcript, page 24 and Fortune, June 14) Market Conditions
  • The Fed Chairman spoke after the Federal Open Market Committee declined to raise interest rates this week for the first time in 15 months, after the Fed funds rate jumped from zero to more than 5% in less than a year and a half—the sharpest spike in rate increases in nearly 40 years. (Axios, June 15)
  • Real Estate Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer stated during an April 7 Walker Webcast, “I don’t think anybody assumed a 12-year period of basically zero interest rates, followed by a steep 500bps increase in financing costs, immediately following a once-every-hundred-years pandemic that shut everything down and changed a lot of the ways the built environment would be used. I think all of this has to be allowed to settle through.” (Walker Webcast video and Connect CRE, April 5)
  • The Real Estate Roundtable continues to emphasize the need for federal regulators to allow more flexibility for lenders and borrowers to restructure commercial real estate loans facing potential default—as the Federal Reserve reported recently that CRE poses a potential risk to financial stability. (Fed’s Financial Stability Report, May 2023)
  • Today, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen presided over a meeting of the multi-agency Financial Stability Oversight Council, which will address financial stability vulnerabilities, developments in the commercial real estate market, and receive an update on the banking sector.
Maturing CRE Loans Willy Walker on CNBC The Roundtable’s joint RECPAC and Research Committee meeting this week included a real estate capital market panel with CRE leaders and a presentation by CBRE industry experts on the economy and CRE conditions. The session also included a discussion with Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Banking Committee. #  #  #