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Realtors Fight for Mortgage Interest Deduction And Flood Insurance

The Hawaii Association of REALTORS is the largest professional trade organization in the State of Hawaii. Through its local affiliates like the Kauai Board of REALTORS, we take a stand for home ownership in ways that most people are never aware of.

A number of research studies have shown that home ownership provides social and societal benefits. Not only is home ownership one of the best ways to build long-term wealth, providing resources for a more comfortable retirement, but it also fosters an immeasurable sense of community and stability vital to growing families. The National Association of REALTORS “Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing” report reveals that home owners are happier and healthier. They tend to vote more, volunteer more and contribute more to their neighborhoods. Home owners do not move as frequently as renters, which encourages more neighborhood stability, and children of home owners are more likely to participate in organized activities and spend less time in front of the television.

There’s no question that we’re dealing with difficult issues when it comes to the future of our nation’s economy, but in the process, we must not lose sight of the values that helped make our country strong in the first place. Major changes to home ownership tax benefits like the mortgage interest deduction (MID) could adversely affect the wealth of middle and lower income families and make it harder for them to achieve their dreams of homeownership. Two-thirds of all families who take the MID earn less than $100,000. Reducing or eliminating this crucial benefit would mean a tax increase for American home owners, who already pay 80 to 90 percent of U.S. federal income tax.

Another behind-the-scenes political initiative is the fight to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is set to expire on September 30, 2011. With the hurricane season already underway in Hawaii and ramping up on the U.S. mainland, the importance of flood insurance is more serious than ever before. The NFIP enables property owners to protect their family and property against floods, which claimed more lives and property than any other U.S. natural disaster over the past century. Nationally, this program is the only source of flood-damage protection for 5.6 million home and business owners, as well as the builders, remodelers, movers, furnishers, real estate professionals, mortgage lenders, investors, insurance agents and other companies upon which they relied to buy or sell property. By ensuring access to affordable property insurance, NFIP saves taxpayers money. Insurance reduces the amount of post-disaster relief paid for by all taxpayers.

REALTORS are actively organizing to encourage Congress to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program and to protect the Mortgage Interest Deduction. If you’d like to help, please contact the Kauai Board of REALTORS or visit www.kauai-board.com.

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