Portage County Association of Realtors believes that it is our responsibility, regardless of political party affiliation, to inform the public of the potential consequences to homeownership of the proposed federal tax legislation. We represent the Realtor Party. If this tax reform proposal is allowed to take effect in its current state, it will likely lead to a loss in home values and could lead to a decline of home ownership overall. A decline in property ownership will also lead to a decline in property taxes collected which could snowball into creating a problem for funding of schools, libraries, police and fire services, roads, etc. causing municipalities to find ways to recoup the loss.

Homeownership also contributes to employees and business owners staying in the communities (rather than moving — and renting — more frequently) thereby helping to maintain stability in the community's workforce and economy. Anything that is negative for home ownership overall will negatively affect the entire community as was so vividly displayed in the economy of 2009-2012.

Accompanying this column is the calculation of the potential effect of the tax reform proposal to Ohio Citizens as interpreted from the National Association of Realtors with data from the IRS. If mortgage interest and real estate tax deductions are to be eliminated, home prices expect to fall from 10 percent to 15 percent. A decline in value as projected could mean a loss in home value of $13,700 to $20,550 for the typical Ohio homeowner. Our hope is that the combined house and senate version of this bill will address this homeownership impact in order to maintain the current robust real estate market.

Contact your senator or congressman with your opinion. Time is of the essence!

Portage County Association of Realtors is "Helping our Neighbors and Protecting the American Dream."

Carol Foote is the president of the Portage County Association of Realtors.