AHMA survey delves into supercommittee’s failure
A survey of members of the American Hardware Manufacturers Association (AHMA) showed skepticism that progress can be made to reduce the budget before elections.
The survey also showed that members feel both parties are to blame for the failure of the so-called supercommittee to draft a compromise to cut costs.
The results of the survey were released as part of the AHMA’s Home Improvement Industry Confidence Index, which improved in November.
The first of two survey questions was: “The congressional committee charged with finding $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions announced on Nov. 21 that it has failed to reach an agreement. Some analysts now say that nothing will be accomplished until after next year’s elections. Do you think progress can still be made on reducing the deficit before the elections?” The survey showed 31% responded “Yes,” 15% responded “Not Sure,” and 54% responded “No.”
The second question was: “Who is most to blame for the deficit supercommittee’s failure?” The response was 27% Democrats and 73% both Republicans and Democrats.
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Major churn in cement industry
After a failed attempt at a merger, Martin Marietta Materials has launched a hostile $4.8 billion offer for its rival Vulcan Materials Co., according to the Wall Street Journal. The deal combines the two largest suppliers of construction aggregates — one of the chief ingredients of concrete — in the nation.
Discussions about a possible merger occurred last year between the chief executives of Marietta Materials and Vulcan, according to regulatory filings. But the two CEOs could not agree on issues such as the executive management positions and shareholder premiums.
The all-stock offer arrived on Vulcan’s doorstep on Dec. 11 from the smaller of the two firms, Martin Marietta. The Raleigh, N.C.-based company is offering half a share for each Vulcan share, a 9% premium based on Vulcan’s Nov. 9 closing prices.
Vulcan, based in Birmingham, Ala., said in a prepared statement that its board is "carefully" reviewing the offer and will make a recommendation within 10 business days. It advised its shareholders not to sell their stakes before that time.
Martin Marietta’s offer would combine the directors from both companies to serve on one board. Donald James, chairman and CEO of Vulcan, would serve as chairman; but C. Howard Nye, president and CEO of Martin Marietta Materials, would hold the post of president and CEO.
Martin Marietta is the second-largest supplier of crushes stoned, sand and aggregates in the United States. It also sells asphalt and concrete in certain geographic regions.
Vulcan is the country’s largest producer of construction aggregates and a major producer of other construction materials, including asphalt and ready-mixed concrete and a leading producer of cement in Florida.
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Paint as protest: Illinois businessman makes a statement
A Fairview Heights, Ill., businessman, protesting what he described as the city’s excessive development regulations and lack of financial help, decided to make a statement by visiting the local Lowe’s and asking for the five brightest colors the store had in stock, according to an article in the Belleville News Democrat.
Sales associates chose a palette of primary colors typically used in children’s room. Steve Campo, who wants to replace a vacant building with a newly built Snow Cone stand and parking lot, finished the paint job in three hours. He says the brightly striped building represents the obstacles small businesses face in today’s economic and regulatory climate.
The loud color scheme does not violate any city codes. But adhering to all the city’s requirements for the proposed Tropical Sno project will double the cost of the project to $75,000, he said.
According to Campo, the city first asked for additional landscaping, concrete curbing and premium fencing. Then he was told to put in a water irrigation system for the landscaping — another $10,000.
That pushed Campo over the edge. He has run a car wash business next door for 26 years. “Can’t we water our own plants?” he asked.
Tropical Sno would be located in the city’s Lincoln Trail tax increment financing district, which contains a number of vacant stores and abandoned buildings. To bring his new building up to code, Campo applied for financial help from the Lincoln Trail’s “Facade Improvement Program.” That’s when he learned that the Lincoln Trail Redevelopment Plan, which has assets of $955,913 as of April 2011, has remained untouched since its creation.
The Fairview Heights City Administrator told the newspaper that the city is embroiled in several lawsuits with school districts and fire departments over the fund and it would be a “bad business practice” to disperse any money from it until these are settled.
If that businessman was
If that businessman was trying to make a statement, that 5 coloured building would definitely count as a loud statement. It is hard for businesses like his to survive if there were so many strict and costly regulations to adhere to. They need to be able to screen who needs to pay those charges, and who can be exempted. Christopher - Stoett