02 July 2006
Those directors currently in the first year of a two year term include: Mike Brassard, Todd Brisco, Carol Chen, John Ellis, Clive Graham, Cheri Kelley, Bob Luskin, Bill Pendleton, John Pratt, Allen Wood, Kurt Wood, Sylvia Zamora. These terms will expire December 2007.
At the July Board meeting, the 2007 officers will be selected. The new president will tap committee chairs and four presidential board appointments who will serve an initial term of one year.
The 2007 committees will include education, government affairs (local, state and federal), membership, product service council (PSC) and management service council (MSC). Lorrie Baldwin from LA Hydro-Jet will chair the PSC and George Pabst from Pabst Kinney & associates will chair the MSC.
As you know, the Board changed the bylaws to allow the incoming officers to get a head start on their priorities for the association. This also allows for officer orientation, committee preparation, and initiative research and structure. In essence, we believe that this process will streamline the association and allow for better member programs.
Supreme Court Victory On Wetlands
NMHC and real estate owners secured a tremendous victory on June 19, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) exceeded its authority under the Clean Water Act when it denied two Michigan developers permits to build on isolated wetlands that are only linked to larger bodies of water through man-made drainage ditches. (Rapanos v. United States, U.S., No. 04-1034, 6/19/06, and Carabell v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S., No. 04-1034, 6/19/06.) By a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that a simple hydrological connection between a wetland and navigable water does not justify federal jurisdiction. NMHC and a coalition filed a "friend of the court" brief in the case that asserted that there is simply no basis in science and law for extending federal jurisdiction to these isolated wetlands. Other signatories include NAREIT, the Real Estate Roundtable, Associated General Contractors, International Council of Shopping Centers, National Association of Industrial and Office Properties and American Resort Development Association.
NMHC/NAA-Favored Estate Tax Reform Moves Forward
The estate tax debate took an unexpected and promising turn at the end of June as lawmakers abandoned efforts to pass full repeal and instead passed a compromise reform bill favored by NMHC/NAA. The move comes after the Senate earlier this month again failed to secure the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster and bring a full repeal bill to the floor. After that vote, Senate leaders persuaded the House, which has passed full repeal legislation several times, to cooperate and approve a reform bill. This is a noteworthy concession by Republican leaders that full repeal is unlikely to pass.
As part of the new reform strategy, on June 22, the House of Representatives passed a bill (H.R. 5638) that would increase the estate and gift tax exemption amount to $5 million per person effective January 1, 2010 and lower the tax rate on estates valued between $5 million and $25 million to the capital gains rate-currently 15 percent. Estates over $25 million would be taxed at twice the capital gains rate. Most significantly, H.R. 5638 would preserve the "stepped-up" basis for inherited property by repealing the modified carryover basis rules that are scheduled to go into effect in 2010. The Senate is scheduled to consider the bill before the July 4th recess, where a 60-vote super majority is still required to overcome an expected filibuster. While the Senate outcome is too close to call, if it does pass, President Bush is expected to sign it. You are reminded that unless Congress acts, the estate tax will be repealed in 2010, but in 2011 it will revert to pre-2001 levels-a $1 million exemption and a 55-percent rate.