With Ohio’s REALTOR community in the midst of one of its most challenging political efforts in recent history–opposing Gov. John Kasich’s plan to impose a sales tax on real estate and other professional services–the timing of the organization’s annual Spring Legislative Conference could not have been better.
Hundreds of industry professionals were able to converge upon the Capitol City, meet with their state lawmaker and discuss why the sales tax proposal is bad for Ohio property owners, bad for real estate and bad for business.
It makes me proud to be part of a profession where so many peers are willing to volunteer two of their most valuable commodities–their time and their talent–to work toward creating a better climate for the industry, as well as on behalf of current and future property owners.
More than 300 REALTORS from across the Buckeye State gathered across the street from the Ohio State House, from April 29 to May 1, to deliberate on the issues confronting our industry, gain insight on trends and work on advancing our profession.
Lest you think it was all work…we, being REALTORS and all, were able to mix in some fun as well, such as a wonderful reception in the State House Atrium. I’d like to share with you some of the highlights from the Conference:
1. Leadership from the Ohio Senate and Ohio House of Representatives offered an overview of the issues facing the 130th General Assembly. Topping the discussion was the ongoing debate concerning Gov. Kasich’s budget plan and the proposed tax revisions, including the expansion of a statewide sales tax to professional services. Senate President Keith Faber and Speaker Pro Tempore Matt Huffman talked taxes, jobs and more during their session.
2. Our Conference attracted former Congressman Steve LaTourette, who represented Northeast Ohio for 18 years. Mr. LaTourette offered a candid look at the state of affairs on Capitol Hill, recalling how things have changed and what we can expect moving forward.
3. Thomas Zaino, one of the nation’s leading tax experts, conducted a comprehensive overview of Ohio’s current tax structure, as well as spotlighting what passage of Gov. Kasich’s tax plan would mean for the real estate profession and Ohio’s property owners.
4. Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) gave one of the keynote addresses, giving us a first-hand report on what’s taking place in Washington, D.C. and the important role real estate plays in the nation’s economy.
5. The leadership of Ohio’s Democratic and Republican parties conducted a lively session on the electoral process–offering a look-back at 2012 and previewing what voters can expect this year. Republican Party Chair Matthew Borges and Rep. Chris Redfern, Democratic Party Chair, shared their thoughts and insights on the Buckeye State’s political scene.
6. An insightful session on the rewrite of Ohio’s Household Sewage Treatment System rules featured Rebecca Fugitt, program manager for the Ohio Department of Health, and Chris Schraff, an attorney and partner at PorterWright, who is assisting OAR during the ongoing deliberations.
7. Scott Williams, OAR’s Director of Governmental Affairs, provided us with the latest details from Capitol Square and what it means for Ohio’s real estate industry.
8. Our Professional Development Committee agreed to partner with the NAR program “Employer Assisted Housing” and the associated NAR grant program.
As you can see, it was a highly productive Spring Legislative Conference. I appreciate the opportunity you have given me to represent your interests at OAR.
By the way…mark your calendars for Sept. 8-10 and make plans to attend OAR’s 103rd Annual Convention at the Hyatt Regency Columbus. You’ll be glad you did!