Dec 5, 2012 10:54 AM, By Jennifer Duell Popovec, Contributing Writer
As the nation teeters on the edge of the fiscal cliff, a handful of commercial real estate organizations have reached out to our elected officials to encourage them to do something—anything—to prevent the freefall. The approach is a departure from previous lobbying efforts, according to Joseph Markling, chair and chief elected officer of BOMA International, an association that represents building owners and managers.
“While we’re still focused on lobbying Congress on specific issues that impact the industry such as leasehold depreciation and capital gains, we have a global message that we’re sharing: a lack of certainty kills all growth, and the fiscal cliff is a big uncertainty,” Markling says. “We’re now operating at two different altitudes when it comes to our lobbying.”
Cindy Chetti, senior vice president of government affairs for the National Multi Housing Council (NMHC), says her organization and its members are “taking every opportunity” to talk with members of Congress to stress the importance of making a decision. “Many of our members were frustrated to watch what happened in August, and they’re using their influence,” she notes, adding that NMHC also signed a letter in conjunction with the S Corporation Association.
Even private companies are getting in on the action. CORFAC International, for example, sent a letter to President Barack Obama and leading members of both parties of Congress urging them to “compromise in running the government and growing the economy”.
CORFAC is a full-service commercial real estate services provider with 54 affiliate companies across the nation. The letter was signed by 32 of CORFAC’s 53 affiliates.
“We’re a bunch of entrepreneurial firms, and we typically don’t take a political position because we’re all over the map—we’re Democrats, Republications and Independents,” says Doug Marshall, president of CORFAC International and principal of The Klabin Company/CORFAC International in Los Angeles, Calif.
However, CORFAC decided to act after realizing how strongly its members felt about the lack of leadership in Washington, D.C., Marshall explains, adding that CORFAC’s intensions were to pressure leaders to act on the fiscal cliff, not to act on any particular tax issue.
“We don’t want to dictate and tell these people how to do it…we just want to encourage them to strike a deal,” Marshall explains. “The business community suffers without effective leadership – it creates uncertainty, and that uncertainty prevents people from acting.”
He adds: “I believe our collective voice sent a much stronger message than several individual letters. We’ve stepped up, and we hope other companies will do so.”