News & Issues

(May 2, 2019) HB 3427-A Passes in the House- Download the HB 3427-A Fact Sheet

 

(May 1, 2019) Business Tax Passes Key Committee, Heads to House Floor OAR secured amendment that lessens impact for real estate brokerages, but the legislation still has wide-ranging impacts for our industry and Oregon’s economy. 

You may have seen in the news that the legislature’s Joint Committee on Student Success passed a sweeping business tax and education funding package (HB 3427) on Monday evening.  The package now goes to the House Floor for a vote today. The bill is a modified version of a gross receipts tax – a tax on gross revenues rather than profits. The propose tax is similar to Measure 97 (2016), but also different in a few ways. Most notably, the proposed legislation applies to all business types (Measure 97 only applied to “C-corps”). And, rather than a 2.5% tax, HB 3427’s rate is.57 percent and includes some deductions. This session, the very public goal for legislative leadership has been to increase taxes for education by roughly $2 billion (about a 10% increase in the General Fund), focusing on Pre K-12 education. Critics, however, say that without substantial reform to the state’s pension system (PERS), most of the new tax dollars will be absorbed by PERS obligations over time. 

HB 3427 SIMPLIFIED 

Additional Legislative Updates:

Land Supply for Housing: HB 2001 is currently in Ways and Means. Work will like resume after the May Revenue Forecast (mid-May). The bill has been modified substantially. Additional amendments are needed. But, the legislation could eventually be a vehicle for polices that will increase Oregon’s buildable lands inventory for housing stock. 

Independent Contractors: Many our REALTOR®members have contacted our GA team regarding HB 2498. Early in the session we were promised amendments, should the bill move, to explicitly exempt real estate brokers licensed in brokers from alternative definitions of “independent contractors.” Currently the bill is in House Rules. While technically still active this session, the path the bill has taken so far is an illustration of the difficulty the sponsors will have to pass the bill. With, or without our amendments. 

Mortgage Interest Deduction: HB 3349 has moved to the House Revenue Committee. A hearing was held on April 15, where we testified against the legislation. Did you know, across income levels, 52% of Oregonians own their home outright? Oregon’s tax system has a rate that increased as earnings exceed $125,000 single, or $250,000 joint. While most consider a progressive income tax “fair,” why should any Oregonian ever pay an increased tax rate only because they have a mortgage loan? 

Are you interested in helping advocate for homeownership? Text “REALTORS” to 30644! 

 

(March 8, 2019) Oregon’s Mortgage Interest Deduction is Under Attack!

On Monday March 11, 2019 at 1 pm,  HB 3349 will be up for a hearing in the House Human Services & Housing Committee. The bill would effectively eliminate the mortgage interest deduction for many Oregonians throughout the state. Oregonians at all income levels rely on the mortgage interest deduction to afford their homes. The bill would also eliminate the ability for Oregonians to deduct interest on homes as they transition from one home to another and are carrying overlapping mortgages.

 

(February 26, 2019) Summary of Senate Bill 608

Senate Bill 608 passed in the Senate and is due to pass in the House this week. The statewide rent control bill has an “emergency clause” and thus will become effective upon passage and signature by Governor Brown. We anticipate this could be as early as March 1, 2019. We know there will be many questions, please see a Summary of SB 608 and Frequently Asked Questions for your reference. 

 

(February 1, 2019) OAR Seeks to Increase Investments for Individual Development Accounts; Home Ownership

OAR is joining forces with Neighborhood Partnerships to increase investments and accelerate home ownership savings though the Oregon’s individual Development Account program. Read More.

(January 29, 2019) Senate Bill 608

We’re less than a month into the 2019 Legislaive Session and one of the most controversial bills introduced has been scheduled for a public hearing and work session. While Senate Bill 608 appears to take a new approach to historical rent control programs, it has the potential to cause the same unintended consequences that ultimately harm tenants. See document attached for more information on the topic. 

 

(January 24, 2019) 2019 Legislative Priorities 

The 2019 Legislative session began on Tuesday and Housing is sure to be a hot topic. Check out this video update from OAR's Government Affairs Director, Shawn Cleave. Shawn mentions two bills that are already being proposed, Senate Bill 608 (Rent Control) and House Bill 2001 (Single Family Zoning Changes.) Both of these bills are controversial. We are tracking them closely and ready to advocate on behalf of REALTORS®. We also need your help. Legislators respond to their constituents and from time to time we may ask you to reach out to your House or Senate Representative and let them know where you stand on an issue. To make this process seamless, please sign up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts. You will recieve real-time notifications on issues and calls to action. Simply text the word "REALTORS" to 30644 or register online at https://realtorparty.realtor/member-consumer/rpma. 

 

(November 27, 2018) First Time Home Buyer Savings Accounts

During the short 2018 Legislative Session, the Oregon Legislature took a significant step toward addressing the state’s affordable housing crisis by passing House Bill 4007, establishing a First-Time Home Buyer Savings Account program statewide. The program will allow Oregonians to take a state tax deduction for saving money towards a down payment and other related costs associated with the purchase of their first home. Polling indicated that 86 percent of Oregonians viewed saving enough for a down payment and closing costs as a significant obstacle to buying a home, prompting the Oregon Association of REALTORS® (OAR), among other prominent housing and related industry groups, to support the legislation. 

The program takes applies to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2019. On November 27, 2018 the Oregon Department of Revenue received comments on the proposed administrative rules. The rules provide the responsibilities for banks and credit unions to provide annual statements to account owners who have made qualifying deposits. Qualified savings would be held in a special account opened at any Oregon bank or credit union. Deposits into the account would be tax deductible up to $5,000 a year for individual filers and $10,000 a year for joint filers, with a maximum contribution of $50,000 over 10 years; interest earned on the account also would be tax free. Funds in the account must be used for a down payment or other closing costs associated with the purchase of an existing home or construction of a new home, of any type, and could only be used by people who have never owned a home or who have not owned a home in the last three years. 

HB 4007 (2018) can be found here, and the administrative rules can be found here. For more digestible information, the Oregon Department of Revenue has an excellent FAQ page.

The Oregon Association of REALTORS will be providing information to our members and future homebuyers as lenders provide offer the accounts to their customers.   

https://www.flickr.com/photos/oregongovbrown/41582295264/in/album-72157697162399505/

 

Politics Without Party+

(February 16, 2018)

OAR Government Affairs Director Shawn Cleave provides his take on the political climate in the Oregon State Capitol during the current Legislative Session, and specifically the issues facing the fate of our First-Time Home Buyer savings Account bill.

Click on this PDF for Shawn's post, which also includes a link to the bill.

News Rules & Funding Sources for Woodsmoke & Septic System Compliance+

(February 9, 2018) 

During recent sessions, the Oregon Legislature enacted laws that address the environmental impacts of solid-fuel (wood burning) smoke and on-site septic systems.

This legislation established financial resources to help homeowners and business owners pay for the repair, replacement and/or abatement of non-compliant systems.

Why it Matters: The new laws can affect the property value and/or transactional terms of real property. Oregon REALTORS® can play an important role by guiding their clients to better understand the new laws and access financial assistance, as needed.

To learn more and help your clients, please refer to the sections below.

Low-Interest Loans for On-Site Septic Systems+

In 2016, Senate Bill 1563 created a low-interest loan program to help homeowners and businesses fix or replace failed septic systems.

The bill initially placed $250,000 with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to fund the loan program; DEQ then partnered with a third party to administer and issue loans. In 2017, DEQ received budget approval for an additional $1.5 million to fund the program.

The REALTORS® Role:

  • Get familiar with the sections regarding Sewer & Septic Systems in the Buyer and Seller Advisories here, the language of the original Senate bill, and an early 2017 report on successful loans made by the program in support of additional funding by the legislature that year.
  • Get educated about the low-interest loan program by visiting the Oregon DEQ’s Septic Smart web portal, where you and your clients can find DEQ-approved septic system professionals and tips for real estate buyers and sellers. Also visit the loan administrator’s website to understand the terms of these low-interest loans.
  • Get ahead of the issue by recognizing properties with on-site septic systems and the proper paperwork for real estate transactions to reduce your risk and that of your clients.

septic_cleanout

Grants to Reduce Woodsmoke Emissions+

The smoke produced by uncertified solid-fuel (and especially wood) burning appliances can reduce visibility, affect human health, and damage crops, property and the environment. Certified wood stoves reduce fine particle emissions by 70%; pellet stoves and oil or gas furnaces/stoves produce even fewer pollutants.

In 2017, House Bill 2748 modified the existing law to:

  • Allow private donations to help fund the Modified Residential Solid Fuel Heating Air Quality Improvement Fund, in addition to its original public funding.
  • Enable the ability to offer and issue rebates, addition to grants, loans, and other subsidies, to help pay for compliance.
  • Direct DEQ to design a program that reduces the emission of air contaminants by providing grants, loans, rebates, or other subsidies to make dry wood or cleaner fuel available to communities or individuals

The original 2009 law and the recent modifications above give DEQ a broad scope in developing programs to reduce woodsmoke emissions. Such programs are likely to be utilized by a community (city or county) applying for a grant to create a local program that would then help individual homeowners get their solid-fuel appliances into compliance.

For instance, Washington County, Ore., west of Portland, maintains a woodstove exchange program and is accepting donations to provide rebates of $1,500-$3,500 to replace old wood stoves for cleaner heating devices.

The REALTORS® Role:

  • Get familiar with the sections regarding Woodstoves in the Buyer and Seller Advisories here.
  • Get educated about the effects of CO2 emissions by visiting the Oregon DEQ’s online Heat Smart Program page regarding the sale or purchase of a home with a wood stove or fireplace insert, and its general Residential Wood Stoves page.
  • Get ahead of the issue by recognizing properties with older, likely uncertified solid-fuel (and especially wood) burning appliances and the proper paperwork for real estate transactions to reduce your risk and that of your clients.
  • Get active by considering a donation to help fund the Washington County Wood Stove Exchange Program.

woodsmoke