WCR President and Tax Reform
Mack: Hi, Mortgage Mack here and I’m here with Jo Ann Stevens, the National President of of WCR and a very longtime friend of mine.
Where are you from? Maybe a little bit about your family. And then what we’ll do is we’ll talk about WCR and your trip to Washington and what that meant to you and to the members of Women’s Council of Realtors. Where are you from? Let’s start with that.
WCR President and Tax Reform – Jo Ann has Dedicated Her Life to Service to WCR and NAR
Jo Ann: I’ve been in the business for over 30 years. I actually live in Richmond, Texas. My office is based out of Sugar Land. And I have worked this Houston market for, like I said, over 30 years. There’s just almost not a part of Houston I haven’t listed or sold in that period.
Mack: Long as I’ve known you, you’ve always been involved in volunteerism in our industry and WCR is one of those areas of volunteerism. You’ve done a lot of charity work as well. I think you recently had— were given, what, a U.S. flag. A flag was flown at the capitol on your behalf and I think— Could you tell us about your day? City of Sugar Land had joined Stevens Day. What day was that?
Jo Ann: Well, it’s actually Fort Bend County Day. Yes, it was Fort Bend County. And it was the day that I was actually installed as the national president for Women’s Council. So, it was November the 4th. And so, they flew the flag in Washington, D.C. on that day in my honor. You know, when I was installed as the state president, they had a Fort Bend County Day. They had Jo Ann Stevens Day in Fort Bend County, but that was in 1996.
Mack: So, you’ve been involved in WCR for the better part of what?
Jo Ann: 30 years. You know, I was licensed in 1978 and I joined Women’s Council in 1986. And that was actually when we founded a network out here in Fort Bend County.
Your President Goes to Washington to Lobby Home Owners
Mack: So you recently you were in Washington DC?
Jo Ann: I service what we call a Federal Political Coordinator for Pete Olson send who is a member of the House of Representative. NAR which is National Association of Realtors asked certain people to fly and to Washington DC to meet with their Members of Congress over this tax plan as most people have seen in the news The House actually passed their version of the tax reform and the Senate has now passed their version of the tax reform bill neither of which are very positive towards home ownership.
Mack: Can you go into detail about what aspects of this legislation is not advantageous to homeowners?
Jo Ann: Well the realtor community feels that tax reform is definitely needed and in streamlining tax reform what the Congress is doing away with that that would be something like our mortgage interest deduction that is something homeowners can deduct on their income tax report every year what they pay in the form of interest. There is also capital gains taxes that we pay on property and they’re considering lowering that amount of time you hold your property, so there’s just all kinds of different things in the bill that are really not very conducive to home ownership so the Realtors and the Mortgage Bankers Association actually have really been fighting this piece of legislation, so we flew into Washington DC and met with several Members of Congress, mine being Pete Olson, but Kevin Brady, who is out of The Woodlands is actually the Chairman of the House Ways and Means committee so probably the most interesting meeting we had was with cabin and Kevin who basically said to us, neither of these bills are going to get through in their present form. There’s going to be a lot of talk and negotiation back and forth before we have a final product. And what I found to be very encouraging as he said to the realtor community, “Tell us what you can live with.” “Tell us what you can’t live with.” “Where what are your priorities for this bill and we will certainly take that into consideration”, and so I’m hopeful he will do so. I think we all know that Paul Ryan is behind the bill and I think there are certain things that he will compromise on but I think there are other things he will not. Home ownership is the backbone of the American economy.
Mack: I appreciate your time today and thank you for inviting me into your home.
Jo Ann: You financed it!
Mack: I did yes I wish I would have been your mortgage banker for 25 years haven’t I.
Jo Ann: I think the last 3 houses that we purchased.
Mack: I think so and we go back to gosh I would think about 1994 is when we met.
Jo Ann: Somewhere in that. I’m trying to remember.
Mack: Yeah! My memory’s going just like you know the the hearing in the seeing is going as well so but. I really do I really do appreciate that and thank you for your time today. Thank you.