NAIOP chapters are playing a critical role in advancing the interests of commercial real estate before policymakers. Our legislative days at the state capitol in particular are providing NAIOP members with an important opportunity to build relationships and educate state lawmakers on the important issues facing the industry. Because of these efforts, NAIOP is making a difference on legislation within state capitols.
Recently in the state of Florida, for example, NAIOP chapters teamed up to visit lawmakers in Tallahassee. They met with legislative leaders and regulatory officials, delivering the message that commercial real estate relies on timely decisions and sensible tax policy.
NAIOP of Florida is currently leading efforts for the passage of the FAST Act, a key NAIOP legislative priority. The act models similar legislation that our Georgia chapter is spearheading. If Florida enacts the FAST Act, local governments would be incentivized to meet the permitting deadlines that they themselves have set. If they miss a deadline, the permit fee would be reduced periodically over time until the permit is issued. This should help deliver clarity to the CRE permitting process. Because of NAIOP’s efforts, the Florida House Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee recently passed the FAST Act (HB 1139) on a vote of 12-2.
NAIOP of Florida has also joined a coalition of other Florida real estate groups in supporting the continued gradual reduction of the business rent tax that will ultimately lead to its elimination. Florida is the only state in the country with such a tax, which reduces its economic competitiveness in attracting businesses. Following successful reductions over the last several years, the Senate Commerce and Tourism committee recently passed SB 1112 to slice another 1.5 percent off the business rent tax.
NAIOP’s legislative efforts in state capitols span the United States. Our two chapters in Nevada recently came together for a legislative day in Carson City in order to build relationships and meet with state leaders on public policies that drive economic growth and improve the quality of life. They focused on:
- Supporting incentives and programs that will increase demand for commercial real estate by creating jobs and encouraging businesses to remain and expand within the state and/or relocate from other markets.
- Advocating and lobbying for the reduction of business property taxes.
- Improving Nevada’s tax structure in a manner that will keep Nevada competitive in the western United States.
- Implementing policies and improvements that will increase the overall transportation system resulting in efficiency of moving goods into and out of Nevada including expanding the capacity of the highways that serve the area.
Following 24 meetings, 14 of which were with leadership from both the majority and minority parties, members returned home having educated Nevadan lawmakers on the important role of NAIOP and commercial real estate in driving economic growth. While control of the state government shifted following the 2018 election, NAIOP’s presence and profile remains strong at the state level as members continue to build relationships with the leadership.
Bad legislation abounds, whether that means an effort to increase the property tax burden on CRE in California, to apply an excise tax on real estate transactions in Washington state, or to end tax increment finance in Wisconsin. Because of this, NAIOP members and their representatives are walking the halls, advocating for the interests of commercial real estate. NAIOP members in California, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin are traveling to state capitols in 2019.
Days at the state capitol are not the only way to educate state lawmakers. It’s also possible to engage them at home or through local chapter events. For example, chapters such as Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey and Utah invite policymakers to speak at chapter events or attend board dinners. These events, which often include one-on-one conversations, provide important opportunities to build lines of communication and educate state lawmakers on the legislative priorities for NAIOP and the commercial real estate industry.
NAIOP chapters are making a difference. The key is to be engaged, develop relationships and establish trust to gain a seat at the table in the policy debate. NAIOP Corporate is prepared to help you and the chapter to organize a successful day at the state capitol as part of a comprehensive legislative strategy to impact public policy.
Toby Burke is the Senior Director of State and Local Affairs for NAIOP.