Saturday, March 3, 2012

#Occupy a Home // Maryland Realtors Launch Grassroots Effort to Protect Mortgage Interest Deduction

UPDATE: Examiner coverage of the Realtors' efforts notes that they "called 96 thousand Maryland households to notify them of the proposal and had 14 thousand emails sent to legislators before the rally got underway."

Maryland realtors have gone activist. Last week, numerous media outlets reported on a grassroots efforts launched by Maryland realtors to protect the mortgage interest deduction in Maryland. The Baltimore Sun reported:
Realtors have kicked off a campaign to keep legislators from approving a budget proposal that would reduce the amount of itemized deductions higher-income Marylanders could claim on their state taxes, a move they say would effectively cap the mortgage-interest deduction.

They're running ads, posting pieces online and organizing a rally in Annapolis Wednesday -- with transportation provided from locations across the state -- that they hope will draw homeowners as well as agents....

The Maryland Association of Realtors says this would effectively limit the mortgage-interest deduction, a big piece of what people typically itemize, as well as deductions for property taxes....

But Raquel Guillory, a spokeswoman for O'Malley, said 10 states -- including Pennsylvania and West Virginia -- have no itemized deductions for personal income taxes. Five others, plus D.C., limit them for some filers, she said.

"Under this plan, 8 out of 10 Marylanders will see no change in their deductions," she said in an email.

A taxpayer with an adjusted gross income of $150,000 and $24,000 in itemized deductions would pay $191 extra in Maryland taxes under the proposal, Guillory said. For the $275,000-income taxpayer with $33,000 in itemized deductions, it would come to $541 extra.
It is hard to tell if this would really have a negative impact on the housing market, if the numbers above are true. But Maryland Juice is no expert on such matters. Nevertheless, I have been stumbling upon this ad campaign online. See the Baltimore Sun banner ad below:

The website for the effort also contains action content and videos like the one below:

Maryland Juice has recently been poking around the MoCo real estate market, and there are actually other changes happening that will impact home sales (ie: changes to the FHA loan program). That being said, it definitely seems like things are picking up in the D.C. Metro region. But realtors turned activist? Very curious to see how this all works out....

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