Special interests have seen a great deal of criticism in recent years–and this backlash may intensify as we approach the election–but the fact remains: an industry or group that doesn’t commit great amounts of time and resources (i.e., $) to “making its voice heard” will be drowned out by competing voices. It should be no surprise that the commercial real estate world has joined other industries and special interests on the “dark side”–political lobbying.
Its board of directors includes some of the industry’s bigwigs, with executives from financial giants like Citigroup (NYSE: C), Lincoln Property Company, and CalPERS, as well as publicly traded REITs like Ventas (NYSE: VTR) and Taubman Centers (NYSE: TCO).While industry heavyweights are well represented, the Roundtable emphasizes the inclusiveness of its political goals, and has members from pretty much every CRE sector, as well as non-profits (click below to see the breakdown).
By identifying, analyzing and coordinating policy positions, The Roundtable’s business and trade association leaders seek to ensure a cohesive industry voice is heard by government officials and the public about real estate and its important role in the global economy.
- The Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). While legislation concerning retirement savings wouldn’t seem like a pressing issue for our industry, think about the importance of pension funds in today’s CRE industry. Less investment in retirement funds equals less capital deployed to real estate ventures.
- FIRPTA Reform: the Roundtable is unequivocally in support of reforming FIRPTA regulations for greater foreign investment in U.S. real estate. However, while both the House and Senate seem to support such revisions, there’s a lot of political stickiness involved when it comes to the American public. Politicians are wary of any legislation the public would perceive as a “deregulation” or “tax break” for Big Business. This may not go forward until after the election.
- Support for sustainability and retrofits. While LEED-certified, Class A buildings in key markets are generating strong revenue, older buildings in neglected markets continue to underperform. The Roundtable is lobbying for regulation that would make it easier to finance green retrofits, which would not only help owners and operators, but the many workers who would gain employment this way.
- Government investment in transportation infrastructure. The accessibility of urban areas has a great deal to do with the performance of their CRE markets.
In general, this organization seems to be fighting for the same issues any business lobbying group does: regulatory reforms (for or against), lower taxes, and government stimulus to help their industry. The organization won’t likely get its way on every issue. However, with it’s high-profile membership and financial clout, there’s no question they have the government’s ear.