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November Election Could See a Historic Switch in House and Senate Majorities

Originally published on April 17, 2024, by Eric Schmutz for NAIOP.

With national and swing state polls indicating support between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump is fairly even, casual political observers could be forgiven for not realizing that House and Senate races are also tight; there could be a historic switch in the House and Senate majorities this November. 

In the Senate, where Democrats currently hold a two-seat majority at 51-49, Republicans are projected to pick up the West Virginia seat from retiring Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, which would make it a 50-50 Senate, with the next vice president casting the deciding vote. Adding to their challenges, two Democratic senators in states projected to go for Trump (Ohio and Montana) are likely to face serious challenges in their reelection efforts.

In Ohio, three-term Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown will face Republican businessman Bernie Moreno. Polls taken before the primary favored
Brown; however, Biden lost the state in 2020, and has trailed in state polling by more than 10 percentage points. 

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President Joe Biden’s Opening Shot in 2025 Tax Fight

Originally published on April 3, 2024, by Aquiles Suarez for NAIOP.

On March 11, President Joe Biden submitted his FY 2025 Proposed Budget to Congress. Like the budget he proposed last year around this time, it contains a number of tax policy changes that, if enacted, would have an outsized negative impact on the commercial real estate industry. But unlike last year’s proposal, this is an election-year proposal intended as the administration’s statement on the economic agenda Biden will pursue if re-elected this November.

That does not mean, however, that this budget proposal should be seen as simply a rhetorical document with little chance in a Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Unlike prior year budget proposals, this one is a setup for an unavoidable tax debate in 2025, when many of the tax provisions enacted during the Trump administration in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 will expire. As a result, many lower and middle-income Americans, not just businesses, will face tax increases if Congress fails to renew a number of provisions. Democrats and Republicans will be forced to negotiate and pass tax legislation because both sides of the political aisle will need it.

If reelected, Biden will of course claim that the voters agree with his economic vision, and he will have enormous negotiating leverage in the tax debate because of the scheduled tax increases that will go into effect.

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Congress Passes Spending Bill; Challenges Ahead for House Speaker

Originally published on March 26, 2024, by NAIOP.

Six months into the 2024 fiscal year, Congress passed a final $1.2 trillion funding agreement and President Joe Biden signed it into law. The package was approved by the House (286-134) and Senate (74-24) before going to the White House on Saturday. It will keep the federal government operating until Sept. 30, 2024.

On the eve of the spring Congressional recess, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) officially resigned from the House and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) announced that his resignation will be effective April 19. These developments will leave House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) with a slim 217-213 majority, but that may not be the worst of his problems, as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) filed a motion to “vacate the chair” (remove the speaker) just before she left town. If the Democratic minority supports Greene’s motion, Johnson will have to secure unanimous opposition from the rest of the Republican Conference to save his leadership role.

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RECAP: 2024 Chapter Leadership & Legislative Retreat

Another successful trip to DC for the NAIOP chapter leadership and legislative retreat. Delegates from all three NAIOP NC chapters spent the week learning about NAIOP’s 2024 strategic plan and then went to work on Capitol Hill today and advocated to our Representatives in Congress about the importance and impact of CRE and the need for pro-development policies such as Adaptive Reuse. 

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Congress’ Full Plate and Election-year Politics Will Make 2024 a Busy Year

Originally published on January 17, 2024, by Eric Schmutz for NAIOP.

Iowa Republicans held their 2024 presidential caucus on Jan. 15, and as expected, former President Donald Trump won with 51% of the votes cast. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis placed second with 21.2% and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley placed third with 19.1%. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, after receiving 7.7% of the votes, suspended his campaign and promptly endorsed Trump. Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson received less than 200 votes and also suspended his campaign, but has yet to endorse another candidate. 

The current delegate totals among the candidates stand at Trump with 20 delegates, DeSantis with 8, Haley with 7, and Ramaswamy with 3. A candidate needs 1,215 delegates to win the party’s nomination. The action now moves to New Hampshire where Republicans will hold their first presidential primary on Jan. 23, and then to South Carolina where the first Democratic primary will be on Feb. 3 and the Republican primary will be on Feb. 24.

Unless a major shakeup occurs, we will likely see a repeat of the 2020 race between President Joe Biden and Trump. If so, it will be the first time a former president has run as his party’s nominee for a non-consecutive presidential term since 1892, when former President Grover Cleveland (D) defeated incumbent President Benjamin Harrison (R) in a rematch.

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State Elections Are Important to Commercial Development

Originally published on January 3, 2024, by Toby Burke for NAIOP.

The political battle over the presidency and the control of both chambers on Capitol Hill is expected to garner most of the attention of the national media this year. While the outcome of these campaigns will have significant implications on policy debates at the national level, they should not overshadow or minimize the important political races for control of state legislatures and gubernatorial offices across the country. The outcome of these more grassroots races in comparison to control of state capitols may be more reflective of the policies of importance to the American people.

Republican governors currently hold a 27 to 23 advantage over Democrats heading into 11 gubernatorial elections later this year. The 11 states holding gubernatorial races in the fall are Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia. Except for Montana, North Dakota (to be determined), Utah, and Vermont, the incumbents are either term-limited, not seeking re-election or seeking another elected office. North Carolina is expected to be one of the most competitive this year because Democrat Rory Cooper is unable to seek reelection based on term limits and the recent Republican successes for statewide and presidential offices.

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Steadfast Advocacy Remains Critical in a Difficult Congress

Originally published on December 20, 2023, by Aquiles Suarez for NAIOP.

As 2023 comes to a close and we look ahead to the challenges facing commercial real estate in 2024, it is clear that persistent advocacy on the public policy front will be more important than ever to ensure that the interests of NAIOP members are protected. This is true of course at the state and local level, but it is at the federal level, where government gridlock has been most on display, that maintaining our strong advocacy will be critical.

As some media reports have already noted, this Congress will be one of the most unproductive since the Great Depression. Just 20 pieces of legislation have been signed into law. Narrow partisan majorities in the House and Senate, and continued dysfunction in the House Republican conference in particular, have made advancing legislation in this Congress an even bigger challenge than usual. For three weeks, Congress lost valuable time while the drama surrounding Speaker Kevin McCarthy unfolded, with Republicans finally settling on the fourth candidate to vie for the spot. While the House did manage to pass debt-ceiling increases and government funding measures that were “must-pass” bills, the only other bills that Congress seemed able to digest were those renaming post offices and those with no opposition at all.

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2024 Candidate Filing is Complete - Primary Election to be Held March 5th - Here is the Complete List

The list is complete!  Candidates who filed are competing for important seats on the County Commissions, the State Legislature, and the U.S. Congress.  Click the links below to familiarize yourself with the candidates:

Federal Grants May Result in More Rail Options for North Carolina

This is big news when it comes to the impact on growth and real estate development strategies.  According to a recent article, featured in Axios Charlotte, North Carolina is receiving a 1.09 billion dollar federal grant, the largest ever received by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), toward the S-Line, a passenger rail line from Raleigh to Virginia.  Additional dollars will be allocated to plan and develop rail corridors between other cities, including "high-speed" rail linking Charlotte and Atlanta.  Other corridors to be studied and planned are those between the following cities:

  • Charlotte and Kings Mountain
  • Fayetteville and Raleigh
  • Wilmington and Raleigh
  • Winston-Salem and Raleigh
  • Salisbury and Asheville

For additional details, read the full article here: 


Mega federal investments will revolutionize
passenger rail out of Charlotte

Candidate Filing for 2024 Has Begun and Continues Until Noon on Friday

Your future leaders are coming into view!  Candidate filing for elected office opened at noon on Monday, December 4th and remains so until noon on Friday, December 15th.  Candidates who decide to run will be competing in 2024 contests for positions from County Commissioner, to State Legislator, U.S. Congress, and all the way up to U.S. President.  Click the links below to see who has filed so far and begin to familiarize yourself with the candidates:
Mecklenburg County Board of Elections - Candidate List
Iredell County Board of Elections - Candidate List
Cabarrus Board of Elections - Candidate List

Gaston County Board of Elections - Candidate List

Union County Board of Elections - Candidate List

Thoughts on the Run - Heads you Lose. Tails, You Also Lose

Originally published on November 20, 2023, by Rob Nanfelt for REBIC.

A coin toss is a reasonable way to determine who will receive first possession of the ball in overtime during a football game. It’s been the standard and accepted practice for years at every level of the sport. Now we’re learning that the outcome of elections can be determined in a similar manner. The outcome means someone wins and someone loses. But our low voter turnout this season means we are all losing!

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New House Speaker Johnson Faces Many Challenges

Originally published on November 1, 2023, by Eric Schmutz for NAIOP.

Following three weeks of negotiations and squabbling, House Republicans elected Louisiana Representative Mike Johnson to serve as the 56th Speaker of the House. Unlike his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who went 15 rounds before becoming speaker in January, Johnson was the first Republican to receive unanimous support from all Republicans voting, prevailing over House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) in a 220 to 209 vote.

This was a difficult time for House Republicans, who struggled to find a new speaker after eight of their members joined all House Democrats to abruptly oust McCarthy on Oct. 3. During the ensuing chaos, House Republicans nominated three candidates for speaker — Majority Leader Steve Scalise (LA), Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (OH) and Republican Whip Tom Emmer (MN) — but all three failed to achieve the 217 votes needed to win the speaker’s gavel.

Johnson was first elected to Congress in 2016 after two years as a state representative. He represents the 4th Congressional District of Louisiana which includes 16 parishes (counties) in the northwest and western regions of the state. He is a 1995 graduate of Louisiana State University (LSU), earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration, and a 1998 graduate of LSU Law School. Johnson was born and raised in the Shreveport-Bossier area of Louisiana and still lives there today with his wife and children.

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Huntersville Mayoral Candidates Forum to be Held October 20th


The Charlotte Observer along with Neighborhood TV and WSOC will be hosting a Huntersville mayoral forum on Friday, Oct. 20th.  This year Huntersville will elect a new mayor in November to guide the town in the coming years. Incumbent Mayor Melinda Bales is not running for reelection, leaving an opening for newcomer candidates Dan Boone, Christy Clark and Derek Partee.  Hear all three talk about issues facing Huntersville and answer questions at a forum discussion on Friday, Oct. 20 at 11 a.m. at Red Rocks Cafe in Birkdale Village, 8712 Lindholm Dr, Huntersville, NC 28078.

The forum will be moderated by the Observer’s local government editor Josh Bergeron and WSOC’s Joe Bruno.  Submit any questions you think should be asked by sending an email to [email protected] with “Huntersville mayor” in the subject line.

No Guarantees for Year-end Tax Legislation

Originally published on September 20, 2023, by Aquiles Suarez for NAIOP.

Usually, at this time of year, members of Congress and advocates for industry are strategizing on how best to position their tax priorities for inclusion in a year-end tax package. In many instances, success has depended on a tax title becoming part of a massive, must-pass omnibus spending bill that comes together in December, when senators and representatives desperately want to get home for the holidays.

But this time could be different. While fighting in Congress over spending bills is nothing new, the heated politics surrounding this year’s federal government funding battle, and the resulting animosity if a government shutdown does materialize, could linger well beyond October and make reaching an agreement on a tax bill all the more challenging.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which was passed in 2017 during the Trump administration, added various tax credits and deductions and made changes to depreciation, expensing, and other tax provisions that affect businesses. Many of these provisions have expired or are expiring in the coming years, or are being gradually phased down. Businesses would like to see them extended. Others are tax provisions that the business community wants to change. Tax provisions expiring in 2024 or 2025 are less likely to be dealt with this year, but House Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) has introduced legislation restoring and extending provisions that have expired this year and revising some unexpired provisions based on industry input.

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Swirling Political Forces Could Derail Passage of Federal Continuing Resolution

Originally published on September 6, 2023, by Eric Schmutz for NAIOP.

Welcome to September! With temperatures starting to cool down, kids heading back to school, and football season kicking off, it’s easy to forget that the federal fiscal year ends at the end of the month. That means that there are only 11 days when both the House and the Senate are scheduled to be in session before the current federal funding authorization expires. Moreover, only one of the annual appropriations bills has passed the House and none have passed the Senate.

In most years, the House and Senate leadership would simply agree to a continuing resolution (CR) that maintains existing federal policy and holds funding at current levels for a certain period to prevent a government shutdown before Oct. 1. Leadership would then negotiate an omnibus package that includes all 12 of the annual appropriations bills, and just when congressional members are desperate to get home for the winter recess, pass it late at night and leave town. 

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Swirling Political Forces Could Derail Passage of Federal Continuing Resolution

Originally published on September 6, 2023 by Eric Schmutz for NAIOP.

Welcome to September! With temperatures starting to cool down, kids heading back to school, and football season kicking off, it’s easy to forget that the federal fiscal year ends at the end of the month. That means that there are only 11 days when both the House and the Senate are scheduled to be in session before the current federal funding authorization expires. Moreover, only one of the annual appropriations bills has passed the House and none have passed the Senate.

In most years, the House and Senate leadership would simply agree to a continuing resolution (CR) that maintains existing federal policy and holds funding at current levels for a certain period to prevent a government shutdown before Oct. 1. Leadership would then negotiate an omnibus package that includes all 12 of the annual appropriations bills, and just when congressional members are desperate to get home for the winter recess, pass it late at night and leave town. 

This year, however, is not following Congress’ standard operating procedure, and is reminiscent of the years when congressional leaders were powerless to rein in the political forces that led to government shutdowns. Republicans hold a slim five-vote majority in the House while Democrats hold a mere one-seat majority in the Senate. Adding to the partisan pressure, President Joe Biden is up for reelection in just over 14 months; former President Donald Trump, the current Republican front-runner, faces multiple indictments on the federal and state levels; and two congressional committees are investigating Biden’s son Hunter’s business relationships with foreign entities to see whether those contracts involved the president. 

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A Full Fall Schedule Looms Over Congress’ Summer Break

Originally published on August 2, 2023, by Aquiles Suarez for NAIOP.

August has arrived, which for Capitol Hill means that Congress is in recess until sometime in September. Senators, congressional representatives and staff members scatter across the world on congressional delegation trips (so-called “codels”), and back to their home districts to meet with constituents, host fundraisers and boast about their legislative achievements. Well, perhaps all of those things are true with the exception of the last bit. 

The reality is that Congress left town last Friday with little agreement on a path forward for must-pass appropriations bills to keep the federal government operating past the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1. While congressional Democrats have been given their talking points on the economy by the White House, House Republicans had hoped to be much further along on their agenda to limit government spending by the time of the August recess. But only one of 12 appropriations bills that need to be passed and signed into law by the start of the new fiscal year has advanced in the House. And disagreement among Republicans on a proposed tax package has clouded the outlook for any tax legislation made into law this year.

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GOP Tax Package is Just the Beginning

Originally published on June 21, 2023, by Aquiles Suarez for NAIOP.

Last week, House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) kicked off what is expected to be months-long congressional negotiations over tax legislation. After a markup session that lasted nearly 10 hours, the tax committee passed three pieces of legislation that will be packaged together to comprise the American Families and Jobs Act. The bills passed on a purely partisan basis, with no Democrats on the committee voting in support, and with little chance that the combined bill would pass the Democratic-controlled Senate in its current form. As such, the committee’s action is seen as House Republicans’ first step on the road to talks with their Democratic Senate counterparts, possibly culminating in a year-end, bipartisan tax package.

The three bills passed by the Ways and Means Committee are:

  • The Tax Cuts for Working Families Act (H.R. 3936);
  • The Small Business Jobs Act (H.R 3937); and
  • The Build It in America Act (H.R. 3938).
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NAIOP Commends Supreme Court Ruling in Sackett v. EPA

Originally published on May 25, 2023, by Marc Selvitelli, CAE for NAIOP.

Today the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Sackett v. EPA, a case involving the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act and the definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS), and an issue on which NAIOP has been active on behalf of commercial real estate.  In a victory for NAIOP members and the CRE industry, the Court ruled that the Clean Water Act extends only to wetlands that are “as a practical matter indistinguishable from waters of the United States” and that have a continuous surface connection with that water.

For many years, NAIOP has advocated for commonsense regulation to protect our nation’s wetlands that is clear, increases predictability and consistency in EPA and Army Corps of Engineers wetlands decision-making, and reduces unnecessary permitting delays. Our most recent comments on the Biden administration’s WOTUS rule reflected this approach. Today’s Supreme Court decision finally clarifies the legal test needed to determine whether a federal wetlands permit is required for a development project. This will go a long way to reducing the uncertainty and added costs of delay that were the result of the legal ambiguity that existed.

The Biden WOTUS rule had been suspended in 26 states as a result of legal challenges. Today’s Supreme Court ruling will most likely force changes to the Biden administration’s regulation to ensure its application is consistent with the decision. NAIOP members should rest assured that we will continue to work with federal policymakers as regulations governing our industry are developed.

As always, please feel free to ask any questions about this or any of our advocacy positions.

NAIOP of North Carolina Day at the State Capitol Advances Interests of Commercial Real Estate

Members from NAIOP’s three chapters are in Raleigh today to advance the priorities of the commercial real estate development industry in meetings with state lawmakers. The 2023 Legislative Priorities focus on economic development initiatives, tax measures, and regulatory reforms that meet the current and future growth within the state.

A top priority for NAIOP of North Carolina this year is local permit reform legislation that reduces inefficiencies and brings more accountability, consistency, and transparency to the process. The passage of HB 332/SB 275I will achieve this by establishing a 21-day period for a local entity to review an application. If the local permitting entity is unable to meet this timeframe, the applicant may seek approval from a third-party (engineer) or the Department of Insurance. Other elements of the bill include:

  • During the 21 days, the local entity shall resolve issues associated with the application and may seek additional information from the applicant.
  • If additional information is needed or the application must be resubmitted, the permitting entity has 15 days from receipt of the additional information to issue a permit.
  • Upon acceptance of a certified approval of an application, the local government shall have 72 hours to issue the permit and refund all applicable fees.
  • Upon permit issuance based on third-party certification, the local government and inspection department are released from any liabilities, responsibilities, or claims arising under this legislation.

NAIOP members are distributing a Permit Reform Flyer during meetings to ensure lawmakers are informed and educated on the significance of this legislation for the industry. The flyer reflects the importance of passing HB 332/SB275 now!

NAIOP’s Day at the State Capitol underscores the importance of NAIOP and its members remaining engaged at every level of government to ensure the interests of commercial real estate are considered during the policymaking process.