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Major national policy issues at a glance

Here is a quick snap-shot of some major national policy issues and real estate industry's goals:

Capital Gains: The goal is to continue lobbying for further reduction in the taxation of capital gains. The industry argues that the tax on capital gains is solely based on dollar values, which includes both real and inflationary increases in the value of an asset. Capital gains constitute the difference between an asset's dollar value at purchase and the dollar value received at the time of sale.

Electric Utility Deregulation: Electricity remains one of the largest operating expenses for owners of commercial real estate. The industry supports a strong pro-competition legislation.

Endangered Species: The Endangered Species Act should be reformed to balance land use and economic development with species preservation. The listing process of endangered species of animal and plant life should be based on more focused scientific data with economic consequences taken under consideration.

Federal Communications Commission: Fight the Federal Communications Commission order that has granted apartment residents the right to install an individual satellite dish or antenna on their balconies without the approval of the building owner/manager.

Leasehold Improvements: Depreciation rules should be modified to recognize the true economic life of the buildings and leasehold, or tenant improvements. The industry wants to reduce the depreciation schedule for leasehold improvements to 10 years from 39 years.

REITs: Preserving the current flexibility and availability of the REIT vehicle in proposing future tax policy.

Superfund/Brownfields: Support reforms that expedite the environmental cleanup process, liability exemptions, and full deductibility of brownfields cleanup costs.

Tax Credits for Low-Income Housing: Keeping the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program a permanent part of the tax code, and increasing the state per-capita tax credit allocation.

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