once said, “America is a Shiny City on a Hill.” Cities are the reflection of America, and today, our cities are strained. It has been predicted that by 2050, an estimated two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas, imposing even more pressure on the space, infrastructure, and resources of cities, leading to social disintegration and horrific urban poverty.
I recently attended the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Convention in Orlando, FL. Much discussion was lent to President-elect’s Barack Obama view on housing policy. NAR held a panel to discuss Obama’s views and their impact on OUR Industry. The panel consisted of NAR’s Chief Lobbyist Jerry Giovaniello and Gary Clayton, Association Executive for the Illinois Association of REALTORS® (IAR).
So is the President-elect in line with REALTORS® position on housing policy? The answer is: YES! What does that mean for Chicago beyond this simple answer?
Gladly there is a policy, a complex plan, that supports urban America in a serious way. The President-elect is creating a White House Office on Urban Policy that reports directly to the President and coordinates all federal urban programs, including Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Labor and Commerce.
The twelve-page document outlines policy positions that are thoughtful, strategic, and innovative, addressing issues of Poverty, Economic Prosperity, Housing, Crime and Law Enforcement and Education to name a few. The fabrics of the policy positions are intertwined. Without addressing (or rather, correcting) one issue, there cannot be success in another. On Housing specifically, one key item is the creation of a New Mortgage Interest Tax Credit for those who do not itemize. Many middle class Americans do not receive this benefit for lack of itemizing. There would be a 10 percent universal mortgage credit that gives tax relief to homeowners. This, along with three other key points, would help stabilize the housing market that our economy and American families depend on.
I believe American cities are where the exchange of ideas adds to American prosperity. It is more than being a “ Shiny City on a Hill;” it is becoming an Innovative City , a Diverse City , and a Livable City. Read the plan here and get excited for a new era of dynamism in a place I call home; my center of the universe— Chicago .