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D.C. Hotline: Home Star still glimmering

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Home Star has finally been introduced in both houses of Congress after many months of industry input. Both the House version (H.R. 5019) and the Senate version (S. 3177) have bipartisan support. As exciting as the prospect of this industry stimulus may be, the question remains: Does this have any chance of passing?

For the uninitiated, Home Star would provide point-of-sale rebates to consumers who purchase and install energy-efficient products. The bill authorizes $6 billion, and many building material dealers should be able to participate as they already provide installed services for these products. The rules may change, of course, but a potential challenge for the smaller dealers lies in the inherent difficulty of floating potentially thousands of dollars in rebates, while waiting on Uncle Sam for reimbursement.

Funding the program will also prove difficult and, probably contentious, as both political parties are squabbling on the price tag and where the money should come from. Most here on Capitol Hill seem to think that if neither bill is brought to their respective floors before the August recess then we’ll have to wait until next Congress to try it again.

Jeremy Stine is manager of government and public affairs for the NLBMDA (dealer.org).

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Trex posts Q1 loss

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Winchester, Va.-based Trex has announced a first-quarter net loss of $4.6 million, compared with a net loss of $3.1 million in the year-ago period.

Net sales for the quarter ended March 31 totaled $66.3 million, down 2% from net sales of $67.7 million for the 2009 first quarter.

“We are investing in our game-changing new product offering with the goal of further expanding our leading market share,” said president and CEO Ronald W. Kaplan. “Due to the widespread demand and expanded manufacturing capacity for Trex Transcend, we expect a solid second quarter with sales of $110 million. This would bring total first-half-2010 sales to $176 million, as compared with $159 million in the first six months of 2009.”

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Lawnmower manufacturers settle in class action suit

BY HBSDEALER Staff

More than 20 lawnmower brands, including motor manufacturers, have agreed to a settlement in a class action lawsuit over falsely advertised horsepower, according to an article on consumeraffiars.com

The lawsuit, filed May 2009 in a federal court in Wisconsin, said that the manufacturers “significantly overstated” the horsepower of the subject lawnmowers, “failing to disclose…[their] true, significantly lower horsepower.”

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