Presidential Candidate Issue Guide

With primary season in full swing, understanding where each candidate stands on the issues is critical to the real estate industry and making an informed decision when casting your vote. Below is a side-by-side summary of the Democratic candidates’ positions on issues impacting commercial real estate, along with the policy positions of President Donald Trump.

Infrastructure: While President Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Senator Bernie Sanders all support increased investments in infrastructure, they vary immensely on how to pay for these programs.

Taxes: The Democratic candidates and Trump also vary widely in their tax policy positions; both Democratic candidates propose rolling back some of the Trump administration’s tax cuts.

Affordable Housing: Both Biden and Sanders support increased funding for federal affordable housing programs, while Trump’s proposed 2021 budget calls for cuts to these programs. The Trump administration is addressing affordable housing by considering regulatory barriers to production. Sanders supports a national rent control cap, while Trump opposes rent control and Biden does not support rent control.

Sustainability: Both Biden and Sanders offer robust sustainability platforms in contrast to Trump’s regulatory rollback agenda and removal of the United States from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.


Candidate Positions on Issues Impacting Commercial Real Estate

Infrastructure

Joe Biden
  • Proposes $1.3 trillion over 10 years with $50 billion in the first year to road/ bridge repairs and $10 billion over 10 years for transit in high-need areas
  • Proposes direct transportation funding to cities and bypassing the state
  • Proposes increase to funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by $2.5 billion annually
  • Proposes paying for investments through a tax increase on the wealthy and corporations, closing tax code loopholes, and ending subsidies to fossil fuel industry
Bernie Sanders
  • Proposes a Green New Deal to build out high speed rail, electric vehicles and public transit to reduce emissions, costing $16 trillion and creating $20 million jobs
  • Proposes $300 billion in public transit
  • Proposes $607 billion in regional high-speed rail system
  • Proposes $500 billion in research to decarbonize the shipping and aviation industries
  • Proposes paying for this with taxation/fees on the fossil fuel industry, reductions in defense spending, increase in corporate taxes and revenue from wholesale of energy from Power Marketing Administrations
Donald Trump
  • Proposes $1 trillion/10-year infrastructure plan in his proposed 2021 budget
  • $810 billion/10-year in surface transportation
  • $190 billion for non-surface transportation projects in direct federal dollars
  • $13 billion to maintain public transit systems
  • Proposes streamlining and consolidating program to improve efficiency

Taxes

Joe Biden
  • Supports raising the corporate rate to 28%
  • Supports increasing existing taxes on wealthy Americans
  • Supports increasing the capital gains tax rate for individuals with incomes over $1 million
  • Proposes a raise to the top individual tax rate from 37% to 39.6%
  • Proposes the expansion of deductions for energy technology upgrades, smart metering systems, and other emissions-reducing investments in commercial buildings
Bernie Sanders
  • Supports returning the corporate income tax rate to 35%
  • Supports creation of a special wealth tax
  • Supports increasing the capital gains tax rate for individuals with incomes over $250,000
  • Proposes raising the 35% income tax bracket to 40% and the 37% bracket to 45%.
  • Supports 0.1% tax on financial trades
Donald Trump
  • Proposes a further 10% tax cut for middle income taxpayers
  • Lowered the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
  • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created the Opportunity Zone program
  • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created the section 199A deduction for pass-through businesses
  • Retained the 1031 exchange for real estate in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Affordable Housing

Joe Biden
  • Does not support rent control
  • Supports encouraging cities to change exclusionary zoning rules
  • Supports increased funding for programs that incentivize states, localities, and private developers to build affordable housing, including a $20 billion increase for the national Housing Trust Fund
  • Supports a $5 billion annual tax credit for renters if rent and utilities exceed 30% of their income
  • Propose the expansion of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit with a $10 billion investment
Bernie Sanders
  • Supports a national rent control cap of 3% annually or 1.5% the Consumer Price Index
  • Supports encouraging cities to change exclusionary zoning rules
  • Supports increased funding for programs that incentivize states, localities, and private developers to build affordable housing, including $1.5 trillion in funding over 10 years for the national Housing Trust Fund
  • Supports a tax credit for renters if it is paired with rent control
Donald Trump

Sustainability

Joe Biden
  • Supports ensuring a 100% clean energy economy with net-zero emissions by 2050
  • Supports infrastructure investments for buildings, water, transportation and energy to withstand impacts of climate change
  • Proposes a $1.7 trillion investment over 10 years for clean energy
  • Proposes paying for this by reversing tax cuts of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and ending fossil fuel subsidies
Bernie Sanders
  • Supports reaching 100% renewable energy for electricity and transportation by 2030
  • Green New Deal to build out high speed rail, electric vehicles and public transit to reduce emissions, with price estimates of $16 trillion creating $20 million jobs
  • Proposes paying for this with taxation/fees on the fossil fuel industry, reductions in defense spending, increase in corporate taxes and revenue from wholesale of energy from Power Marketing Administrations
Donald Trump
  • Removed United States from the 2015 Paris Agreement
  • Has cut environmental regulations; has taken nearly eight deregulatory actions for each new significant regulatory action