Kim Shindle

Last Updated: November 30, 2017 | View all posts by Kim Shindle

Sen. Bob Casey heard Realtors®’ concerns about the Senate’s proposed tax reform bill last night and he supports efforts to maintain the mortgage interest deduction for homeowners. Pennsylvania Realtors® joined a conference call to express their frustration with the tax reform proposals that attack homeownership.

“I have deep concerns with the tax reform bill. It’s disturbing and perplexing that both the House and the Senate proposals have eliminated or reduced the state and local tax deductions. It’s a bad idea and it’s reckless and destructive,” Casey said.

“Homeownership is a pathway to the middle class and means economic security for millions of families in Pennsylvania and throughout our nation,” Casey said. “Unfortunately, this bill makes homeownership more difficult. Helping more Americans achieve the dream of homeownership has to continue to be a priority for those in both parties.”

He added, “Homeownership means economic stability for many families and I think it should be a priority. This a real concern. I thank you all for what you do and appreciate what you all are doing to help stop this bill.”

PAR President Kathy McQuilkin said, “Sen. Casey has been a champion for Realtor® issues and we appreciate him taking the time to talk with us yesterday. The proposed tax reform plans are a direct threat to homeownership, to middle-class families and to our businesses. Sixty percent of the more than 3.3 million Pennsylvania homeowners have a mortgage and 3.1 percent of owners paid more than $10,000 for real estate taxes. Millions of homeowners will not benefit from the proposal and MANY will get a tax increase.”

PAR President-elect Todd Umbenhauer said, “Middle-class homeowners in Pennsylvania will face tax hikes as high as $1,645 with the loss of state and local tax deductions. Three Pennsylvania districts will see tax hikes on homeowners across more than half of their zip codes. For example, a married couple with two children in Congressional District 7 could see their taxes increase as high as $1,645, with the loss of state and local tax deductions. In addition, that couple could see a loss in home value of up to $29,000 with the proposed Senate tax reform bill.”

“The State Treasurer recently wrote an op-ed for the Philadelphia Inquirer stating that Pennsylvania ranks No. 1 in student loan debt,” said Mark Mohn, PAR Legislative Committee chair. “With the elimination of student debt tax deductions, proposals to tax graduate student tuition waivers, in addition to the loss of mortgage interest and property tax deductions, we have a real concern for first-time homebuyers in Pennsylvania. We’ve seen an increase in younger buyers in Pennsylvania, however, this tax plan will crush the hopes of future young buyers.”

NAR is opposed to the tax reform plan released by the Senate Finance Committee. Research shows that many homeowners could lose substantial equity from the more than 10 percent drop in home values likely to result if the bill is enacted, while corporations will get a huge tax break.

Other aspects of the legislation include:

  • Limits the exemption on Capital Gains Tax from the sale of a primary residence. New rules would require homeowners to live in their home for five of eight years before a sale to qualify for the exemption versus just two of previous five years today.
  • Eliminates the interest deduction on all Home Equity Loans.
  • Eliminates the deduction for ALL state and local taxes (including property taxes).
  • Eliminates the deduction for moving expenses with an exemption for military families.
  • Requires a Presidential Declaration of Disaster to use the deduction for personal casualty losses.

Realtors® who have not responded to NAR’s Call-for-Action on tax reform should do so today.