The ten most dangerous words in the English language are “Hi, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” -President Ronald Reagan

As we enter into 2015, the legislative and regulatory landscape is tense.  Many municipalities and states are close to reaching balanced budgets and, for most, the hardest questions of budget cutting are behind them.  With little to no significant financial increases to haggle over or dole out, legislators and bureaucrats are leaning more toward more restrictive laws.  The recent mantra has been, “we’ve ignored these issues (blight, absentee landlords, community concerns) for too long, and it is time we acted!”  The concern of course is identifying the core problem and not just a symptom.  Second, is the issue of who’s rights are restricted with new laws that may or may not address the issues.

I like to refer to this time as the reign of the Squeaky Wheel.  Literally, without budget pressures pushing legislators, and as long as you are not asking for money – yes, asking for a tax break is the equivalent of asking for money, they are open to working on whatever issues arise.  From a national perspective this means we also need to be clear on our own needs as an industry.  In January, a legislative survey was given to members and broacast by Chapter leaders to help refine the legislative agenda of National REIA.  Those responses are being considered in terms of short and long term efforts as well as estimated for actual cost – financial and political.  While on the cruise, expect to be asked about finer points and work with National on messaging.

As we come in to March, National will be sharing our industry’s main concerns with legislators to raise our visibility and increase our “squeakiness”!  With tools that allow us to target state and federal elected officials through emails from their constituents we can make a true impact for the industry – one that really does impact the bottomline.

 

Charles Tassell
National REIA