Roundtable Condemns Violence; Urges Humanitarian Aid
House GOP Turmoil Continues; Roundtable Leaders Address Issues Facing CRE
Supreme Court Case Challenges Federal Taxation of Unrealized Income
Roundtable Weekly
October 13, 2023
Roundtable Condemns Violence; Urges Humanitarian Aid

The Real Estate Roundtable today issued the following statement:

"The Real Estate Roundtable strongly condemns last weekend’s violent, murderous attack on Israel and its citizens. Long standing regional conflicts cannot justify this abhorrent behavior. We urge all civilized people and organizations to stand in opposition to it, and to provide assistance to mitigate the rapidly growing humanitarian crisis."

House GOP Turmoil Continues; Roundtable Leaders Address Issues Facing CRE

House Republicans continued their divided struggle this week to identify a new Speaker after removing Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) last week. Meanwhile, Congress faces increasing pressure to pass foreign aid for Israel and Ukraine, followed by a spending bill to avoid a partial government shutdown on Nov. 17. When House GOP leadership is eventually elected, pending real estate-related tax proposals in the lower chamber may depend on whether policymakers are able and willing to expand the scope of negotiations over a bill to fund the government. (Roundtable Weekly, Oct. 5)

Speaker Search

  • The House has been unable to pass legislation without a Speaker since Oct. 5. Today, House Republicans nominated Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) for Speaker, although he will need to be elected with 217 votes from all Representatives, included the divided GOP caucus. (The Hill, Oct. 13)

  • Also today, four centrist Democrats offered to give Acting Speaker Patrick McHenry (R-NC) “temporary, expanded authorities” to bring urgent funding bills to the House floor for votes. The letter, led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), is an offer to Republicans who may also support empowering McHenry to act on spending bills. (Politico and Democrats’ letter to McHenry, Oct. 13)

  • The letter proposes authorities for the Speaker Pro Tempore to introduce legislation on the following:
    • Foreign aid emergency supplemental funding for Ukraine and Israel;
    • Extending current continuing resolution through January 11, 2024, to prevent a
    • looming government shutdown; and,
    • Committee and floor consideration of remaining FY24 appropriations bills.

CRE Issues

Aerial View Of Industrial Commerce Office Buildings.
  • Recent media interviews featured Roundtable leadership discussing industry challenges that will also be addressed by RER members, lawmakers and regulators during The Roundtable Fall Meeting in Washington next week.

  • On Oct. 6, Roundtable Chair John Fish (Chairman & CEO, SUFFOLK) talked about developments in remote work, housing costs, interest rates, and construction supply on Bloomberg’s The Tape podcast. (Scroll to 30:00 to begin Fish interview)

  • Roundtable Board Member Kathleen McCarthy (Blackstone Global Co-Head of Real Estate) appeared on CNBC’s Halftime Report 28 to discuss sector variation in commercial real estate, creating value in a dislocated environment, and more. "Different sectors are traveling at different speeds," said McCarthy, who addressed activity in data centers, logistics, and student housing.

Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer discussed a range of policy issues facing the industry on Sept. 26 as part of a Marcus & Millichap webcast, “A Conversation with Lloyd Blankfein, Former Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, on the Economy and Commercial Real Estate with Insights from Industry Leaders.” Marcus & Millichap President and CEO Hessam Nadji and former Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein led the webcast discussion on economic issues, including Federal Reserve policy impacting the commercial real estate market. CRE industry leaders Tom McGee, President and CEO of ICSC and Sharon Wilson Géno, President of NMHC also joined the conversation.

Supreme Court Case Challenges Federal Taxation of Unrealized Income
The Supreme Court

This week, the Supreme Court announced it will hear oral arguments on Dec. 5 in a case—Moore v. United States—challenging the federal government’s right to tax unrealized gains. (PoliticoPro, Oct. 12)

Moore Consequences

  • The question raised by the petitioners in Moore, and granted certiorari by the Supreme Court in June, is whether the 16th Amendment authorizes Congress to tax unrealized sums without apportionment among the states.

  • Specifically, the case involves a Washington state couple with an interest in an India-based corporation who are challenging a 2017 mandatory repatriation tax on foreign earnings as an unconstitutional levy on unrealized gains.

  • Outside legal and tax commentary and analysis have suggested the case could have far-reaching consequences for both the existing tax code and pending legislative proposals, depending on how the decision is drafted. 

  • A recent report from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center report estimates that a ruling in favor of the petitioners could result in tax revenue losses exceeding $100 billion annually. Estimates of revenue losses from the Tax Foundation range as low as $3.5 billion and as high as $5.7 trillion in the unlikely event the Supreme Court were to strike down taxes on all undistributed business earnings, whether earned domestically or from foreign sources.

Policy Ramifications

  • A Supreme Court decision in favor of the petitioners could also undercut President Biden’s proposal to tax the unrealized real estate and other gains of wealthy taxpayers. The President and influential lawmakers such as Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) have proposed new mark-to-market taxes on assets based on annual changes in asset values rather than specific realization events. (Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 19, 2019)

  • The Real Estate Roundtable has consistently opposed the proposals to tax unrealized gains since they first emerged in 2019 (Sen. Wyden, Treat Wealth Like Wages, 2019).

JCT Memo

Joint Committee on Taxation logo
  • On Oct. 3, in a letter to House Ways and Means Ranking Democrat Richie Neal (D-MA), the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) provided an analysis of how a ruling for the petitioners in Moore could impact the tax code.

  • JCT informed Rep. Neal that partnership taxes, taxation of shareholders of S corporations, and taxes on mark-to-market valuations also could be implicated in the outcome. The income of real estate mortgage investment conduits, or REMICs, also may be affected, according to JCT’s memo.

Alternatively, notes JCT, the Court could rule that the mandatory repatriation tax is a tax on realized income, in which case it could “leave unanswered the question of whether the Constitution imposes a realization requirement.” (JCT memo, p. 2)