Editorial: Getting In the Game

Every day there are decisions being made in Washington that matter to remodeling firms

October 13, 2010

One thing’s certain about the remodeling industry -- for the most part, we’re not big fans of government.
Without fail, any time one of our monthly surveys touch on government or tax issues, the vast majority of remodelers come down on the anti-goverment side. Even the stimulus package, which obviously included quite a bit of incentives for the remodeling industry in the form of window and other energy tax credits, was greeted by many remodelers with antipathy. (Our survey late last year found that almost half of remodelers felt the stimulus was a mistake and nearly a third thought it would make the economy worse.)
So it’s not really surprising that many remodelers have reacted negatively to health care reform, what with it’s addition of more paperwork, bureaucracy and the such. But however you feel about it, it’s probably time to accept it. Although many candidates (mostly Republicans) are making noise about rolling back those changes, history shows us that undoing large government programs is nearly impossible once they are approved. The constant campaign promises to undo Medicare prescription coverage and to eliminate the Department of Education are just two recent examples.
The direct effect on your business depends greatly on the number of employees at your company and how much you pay those employees, amongst other factors. But even if the health care portions of the new regulations don’t impact you directly, portions of the legislation, most notably a provision that requires increased issuance of 1099 forms could cause major headaches.
It’s an incredibly complex issue, but contributing editor Pat Curry does a great job of breaking it down this month in her article that starts on p. 30.
Like the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule that took effect earlier this year, health care reform shows the importance of being part of the conversation in our nation’s capital. Every day there are decisions being made in Washington (and at the state level as well) that matter to remodeling firms and other small businesses.
That’s what makes it such great news that NARI is getting in the game by hiring a D.C. lobbyist, Thomas Sullivan of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, a long-time small business advocate (see more on p. 13).
Of course, NAHB has long had a lobbying presence in Washington and has done a lot of work on issues such as the Home Star (aka “Cash for Caulkers”) legislation and the LRRP, but Sullivan gives the industry not only another voice in legislative affairs, but one that is focused exclusively on remodelers. That’s the difference between being proactive and reactive and a huge step for the industry.

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