IAR receives Springfield ‘Good as Gold’ award

Illinois REALTORS® – Be proud of your association!

Wednesday night, the Illinois Association of REALTORS® was named to the 2015 Springfield Good as Gold Business Honor Roll for supporting volunteerism, organizing service efforts and-or financially supporting efforts of non-profits and charitable organizations in the Springfield area.

IAR was one of eight small businesses honored at last evening’s ceremony on the University of Illinois-Springfield (UIS) campus.

The annual Good as Gold Ceremony was established in 2009 to recognize the spirit and achievements of local volunteers and nonprofit organizations. It is organized by the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center, the United Way of Central Illinois and the Junior League of Springfield. Sponsors include the UIS College of Business and Management and the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.

Award categories and their respective awards include:

  • Lifetime exceptional volunteer service (Distinguished Volunteer Award);
  • Annual volunteer service by individuals at each nonprofit area agency (Heart of Gold Award);
  • Nonprofit agency (Organization Agent of Service Award);
  • Volunteer younger than age 18 (Youth Volunteer award);
  • Staff or faculty members of UIS or Lincoln Land Community College (Star Faculty/Staff Award);
  • Current UIS or LLCC students (Star Student Award); and
  • Good as Gold Business Honor Roll.

REALTORS® and property owners score wins against Home Rule and transfer taxes

Illinois REALTORS® and private property owners were winners at the polls on Tuesday when voters defeated a number of local referenda initiatives that would have raised the cost of buying or selling a home and opened the door to increased local taxation and regulation. The Illinois Association of REALTORS® (IAR) and local REALTOR® associations successfully lobbied against a real estate transfer tax in Midlothian, four Home Rule initiatives and urged voters to support a sales tax in Crestwood.

Midlothian voters reject real estate transfer tax

Voters said NO to a real estate transfer tax on property sales that could have cost sellers $5 on every $1,000 that their home was worth. In other words, if a home sold for $100,000, the seller would owe the village $500 under the proposed tax. DEFEATED

Crestwood voters approve a sales tax to lower property taxes

IAR campaigned in support of a sales tax increase in Crestwood and residents there agreed, voting to approve a 1 percent sales tax increase that will bring in millions of dollars in new revenue and allow the village to provide property tax rebates to homeowners. APPROVED

Home Rule defeated in four Illinois communities

Voters in Broadview (Cook County), McLean (McLean County), Shiloh (St. Clair County), and New Baden (Clinton and St. Clair counties) overwhelmingly voted down Home Rule initiatives in their communities. IAR and local associations campaigned to inform voters about the potential for communities to layer on additional taxes and regulations — without voter approval — with Home Rule powers. DEFEATED

Morning Minute: Homebuilders wary of fire sprinkler mandates, other overly stringent codes

Photo: Big Stock

Single-family homebuilders are concerned about the increasing number of building codes — including the push for mandatory fire sprinklers in new residential construction —  being promoted for public policy reasons that can needlessly drive up building costs, according to a new survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

One area of concern? Fire sprinkler mandates, something that REALTORS® have lobbied against  in favor of homeowners instead getting to make the installation choice themselves. In the NAHB survey, 58 percent of builders said they are “extremely concerned about the cost implications of codes associated with fire sprinklers.” Read more from NAHB.

In other headlines:

B-N home sales improve in October – Pantagraph

British Editor Touts NAR as Best in World – Daily Real Estate News

Federal Housing Administration back in the black – CNBC

RVOICE efforts bring wins on home rule, sales tax questions in Illinois Primary

The Illinois Association of REALTORS® (IAR) used RVOICE funds to do voter outreach on three municipal referenda on the March 18 Primary Election ballot. IAR was successful in all three. Two were Home Rule referenda — in Rochester (Sangamon County) and Merrionette Park (Cook County) — and voters overwhelmingly rejected the question, agreeing with the IAR position.

  • Rochester Home Rule: 23% YES 77% NO
  • Merrionette Park Home Rule: 25% YES 75% NO

In the past, Home Rule units have enacted several ordinances on point-of-sale inspections and transfer fees/taxes, and a host of landlord regulations, just to name a few.

In Franklin Park (Cook County), voters approved a municipal sales tax. Since Franklin Park is not Home Rule, it must seek voter approval to enact a sales tax. Local REALTORS® supported the measure in order to help keep the property tax levy constant in future years and to fund the improvement of aging streets in the village.

  • Franklin Park Sales Tax 63% YES 37% NO

RVOICE sent direct mail and did automated phone calls to likely voters in these campaigns.


Heartland REALTOR® Organization and Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® team up to fight Fox Waterway Agency dissolution

By Conor Brown, IAR GAD representing Heartland REALTOR® Organization and Howard Handler, IAR GAD representing Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®. 

Conor Brown, IAR Local Government Affairs Director

IAR GAD Conor Brown

With more than 7,000 units of local government – more than anyother state in the union – it is hard to argue that greater efficiencies can be found in Illinois. Many local units of government could probably be dissolved and their mission be undertaken by another agency. For instance, the Illinois Association of REALTORS® (IAR) supported legislation allowing a referendum to determine if Evanston Township in Cook County should be dissolved and its responsibilities transferred to the city of Evanston.

The legislation, importantly, gave the voters the power to determine the future of the township. On the other hand, Senate Bill 2696 proposed this legislative session, seeks to abolish the Fox Waterway Agency (FWA) without voter approval. This is extra-troubling because the agency was created by voter approval.

Many of the lakes, channels and the Fox River, managed by the FWA, are just three to fivefeet deep. Dredging the silt and removal of fallen trees and other debris by the FWA has kept the waterway navigable. Additionally, the FWA has and continues to address flooding issues. The Fox River and the Chain O’ Lakes are one of the busiest inland waterways in the country and generates an estimated $60 million in commerce each year – the economics of the FWA should not be ignored.

IAR GAD Howard Handler

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) – the agency that would take over this responsibility if the legislation were to pass – likely could not focus on this particular waterway nearly as well as the FWA, and in fact, indications are that the IDNR does not want the added responsibility. Ultimately, this is taking away local control and putting powers and responsibilities into an underfunded state agency that has no capability of providing an adequate level of service.

For those reasons, the Heartland REALTOR® Organization and Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® (MORe) have formally opposed SB 2696. “We don’t oppose government consolidation, but we do oppose it without the informed consent of the community,” said Michael Lescher, a REALTOR® with RE/MAX Showcase and the MORe Lake County Government Affairs Committee chair.

“This isn’t a small little lake we’re talking about but rather a network of approximately 35 bodies of water and 45 miles of waterways that serve 3.5 million people annually, according to their website. This magnificent natural resource needs to be protected and maintained,” said Heartland’s CEO, Jim Haisler.