About Jon Broadbooks

Jon Broadbooks is Vice President/Communications for Illinois REALTORS®. He serves as editor of online and print content for the association’s communications including the Illinois REALTOR® magazine and e-newsletters. He conducts spokesperson training seminars and oversees website development for the Association.

Urgent: Take part in critical Call for Action on tax reform

Call For Action - It is Not Too Late to Influence Congress on Tax Reform

NAR just issued a second Call for Action on tax reform as U.S. Senate and House negotiators are working to reconcile differing versions of tax bills which will hurt many Illinois property owners as drafted.

The Call for Action was issued late Monday. More than 35 percent of Illinois REALTORS® took part in an initial Call for Action issued earlier this fall.

Both the House and Senate versions of the tax bill contain measures which would water down the Mortgage Interest Deduction and possibly eliminate state and local tax deductions.

Learn more about how this tax bill could hurt homeowners.

And look for the email or text alert urging you to take part in making your voice heard in the nation’s capital.

Illinois REALTORS help kick off state’s Bicentennial 

Illinois REALTORS® took part in the official kick-off of the state’s Bicentennial commemorations on Sunday, attending events in Chicago and Springfield. 

Illinois officially became a state Dec. 3, 1818, so the event Sunday marked Illinois’ 199th birthday. The state has a Bicentennial Commission which is overseeing the celebration lasting through 2018, and Illinois REALTOR® Jim Kinney is a member of the panel.  

The two events were:  

  • A ceremony in Springfield at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. Illinois REALTORS Treasurer Ed Neaves attended on behalf of the association, along with Illinois REALTORS Bicentennial Task Force chair Vicky Turner and vice chair Sheryl Grider Whitehurst.
  • A second event was held at Navy Pier in Chicago where attendees heard from Gov. Bruce Rauner and had a chance to attend Fifth Third Bank’s Winter Wonderfest in Festival Hall. Illinois REALTORS® President Matt Difanis, President-elect Dan Wagner and Immediate Past President Doug Carpenter attended.  

Also Sunday, the 100 winners of a Bicentennial video content were able to attend a performance of Hamilton at CIBC Theater in Chicago.  

In Springfield, Mayor Jim Langfelder recognized Illinois REALTORS® for its work creating Bicentennial Plaza – A REALTOR® Community Partnership.  The plaza is under construction just north of the association’s headquarters. 

The association was recognized for its work at the Chicago event as well.

“Hearing the mayor talk about Bicentennial Plaza was a proud moment,” said Illinois REALTORS® Bicentennial Task Force Chair Vicky Turner, of Dixon, at the event.  

The association has been planning for nearly two years how it would mark the anniversary. Local REALTOR® associations are playing a role by taking on projects to help the state’s historic sites, and the state association is sponsoring a Bicentennial Essay Contest 

The kickoff continued Monday with a planned Bicentennial flag raising ceremony at sites across Illinois, including at the Old State Capitol in Springfield.


Read more about how tax proposals could hurt your real estate clients

Before you turn off your computer and head home this week with visions of turkey and sweet potatoes, make sure you keep up the battle to urge Congress to do no harm to the real estate industry and millions of homeowners who rely on it.

The House and Senate versions of tax reform are now on the table, and both have frightening ramifications for consumers.

If you haven’t responded the latest Call for Action, do it here.

And if you aren’t up on the details of the tax plans, here are some articles that will get you up to speed. (Spoiler alert: It isn’t pretty).

  • Study: Many homes would not gain advantage by claiming Mortgage Interest Deduction. Forbes.
  • Possible consequence of tax bill could lower home ownership rates, affordable housing crisis. New York Magazine.
  • The big differences between the House and Senate tax plans. Washington Post.
  • The losers under the tax proposal? Many with health insurance, those in high-tax (Illinois, anyone?) states. Chicago Tribune.
  • Impact of bill could be vast, long-lasting. Vanity Fair.
  • NAR’s tax reform page with all sorts of resources is here, along with a detailed side-by-side comparison of the U.S. House and Senate plans.

Other tax changes could eliminate the ability to deduct moving expenses and home equity loans. Not being able to deduct student loan interest will hurt generations of young buyers looking for homes.

The loss of deductions for state and local taxes (SALT) would especially hit hard in a high-tax state such as Illinois, and would lead to consumers getting hit with double taxation.


Updated: Association plans $10,000 donation to assist with recovery in Virgin Islands

Illinois REALTORS® leadership has approved a $10,000 donation to help those affected by hurricanes which ravaged the U.S. Virgin Islands in September.

In all, Illinois REALTORS® has donated $135,000 this year to assist with recovery from hurricanes Irma, Maria and Harvey.

The association has a long history of pitching in to help colleagues and residents in disaster areas. Its members donated heavily in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and after the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

In addition to responding to the hurricanes, Illinois REALTORS® has distributed nearly $79,000 for flood victims through its disaster relief foundation, Illinois REALTORS® Relief.

Updated: Illinois REALTOR® takes fight over tax reform to Capitol Hill today


REALTOR® Mike Drews meets with U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren in Washington, D.C., to discuss tax reform proposals which could hurt Illinois property owners.

Illinois REALTORS® past president Mike Drews is in Washington, D.C., today to press the case for responsible tax reform.

Drews is visiting the Hill as part of an effort to make sure Illinois lawmakers know that the current House version of a tax code overhaul would unfairly hurt property owners in Illinois by eliminating tax deductions and ultimately lowering home prices by as much as 10 percent.

Drews is a Federal Political Coordinator for U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren. FPC’s, as they are called, serve as a valuable conduit for information between REALTORS® and federal officials.

Drews said Hultgren was interested in the data REALTORS® provided. “We gave him a lot of information,” Drews said of the Tuesday morning meeting.

The visit is part of a nationwide push on the part of REALTORS® to make sure the message gets through to the House members who could vote later this week on a package of reforms.

Nearly 30 percent of Illinois REALTORS® have responded to a Call for Action urging lawmakers to proceed with care when reforming the tax code. (Take part here).

REALTORS® are not against tax reform, but are concerned about protecting the Mortgage Interest Deduction and deductions for state and local taxes. As drafted, the proposal now would:

  • Increase the standard deduction on  tax returns, which could put home ownership incentives beyond the reach of many families.
  • Limit capital gains from the sale of a primary residence. Homeowners would have to live in a property five of eight years, rather than the current two of five years to realize this benefit.
  • Important deductions disappear, most notably the state and local tax deduction, which would unfairly hit a high-tax state such as Illinois. The loss of deductions ranging from interest on student loans to medical expenses to even moving expenses further chips away at home ownership.