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Not opposing Trump now: real estate executives who'll benefit from tax revisions

I wrote in January how real estate developer Bruce Ratner joined celebrities urging Congress to "vigorously oppose” (then) President-elect Donald Trump’s “racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, anti-worker, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-environmental policies.”

I credited Ratner for sticking his neck out, expressing sentiments that surely many others in his field share but are unwilling to admit publicly. However, I wrote, his firm (now Forest City New York) and parent Forest City Realty Trust must pursue value for shareholders.

So, I wrote, if that means lobbying--with Republican Al D'Amato, a Trump ally--in Washington and making deals with the Republican administration, well, don't be surprised.

Now, as the New York Times reported 12/5/17, Tax Plan Crowns a Big Winner: Trump’s Industry:
House and Senate Republicans, in their divergent bills, both offered steeply reduced rates to corporate giants, partnerships and family-owned firms across the board. But when it came time to eliminate special breaks or impose tighter standards, real estate was generally excused from the room.
...The real estate industry ended up with an even more generous depreciation timetable, allowing owners to shelter more income.
...Real estate investment trusts, known as REITs, have extra cause for celebration. They are companies that make money by owning, financing and operating real estate. Both the Trump Organization and Kushner Companies, the family real estate firm partly owned by Mr. Kushner, have important deals with such trusts.
And Forest City Enterprises became Forest City Realty Trust in early 2016.

As the Times notes, such REITs "pay no separate business tax and instead are required to pass along virtually all of their taxable income to shareholders, who pay the tax when they file individual returns." And that tax rate would decline sharply, from 39.6% at peak to 29.6% or 25%.

I'm not expecting Bruce Ratner or his colleagues to argue against their business interests.

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