Slide Show: Dealers on Capitol Hill
Pro Dealers in Washington, D.C., press the issues.
Washington, D.C. – A delegate from Texas orchestrated 14 individual meetings with legislative offices on Capitol Hill during the 2019 National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association Legislative Conference. A dealer from South Dakota saw all three of that state’s legislators. And dealers from New York say their freshman class of representatives in Washington were polite and eager to listen.
The talking points were emphasized and rehearsed at a breakfast presentation. There were four issue briefs in the leave-behind packet:
- Taxation of qualified improvement property — This issue seeks to correct a drafting error in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and allow interior improvements to commercial buildings (Qualified Improvement Property) to be eligible for 100% bonus depreciation, saving businesses from an unnecessarily higher tax burden.
- Repeal of the health insurance tax — The objective here is to delay or repeal the annual HIT (health insurance tax) on plans offered by small and medium-sized businesses. Along these lines, the NLBMDA seeks support for the Health Insurance Tax Relief Act.
- Strengthen the low-income housing tax credit — Addressing the shortage of affordable housing, the NLBMDA supports the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) to incentivize the private sector into building affordable homes.
- Renewal of the U.S.-Canada softwood lumber agreement — There hasn’t been an agreement since 2015, and in its place have come countervailing duties and antidumping duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports. No agreement means no stability in pricing.
Dealers sought out their representatives in the House and Senate to talk about things back home, and to press on the issues. Several dealers said the strengthening of the low-income housing tax credit seemed to be the best received proposal
Jon Hallgren, retired executive from Balston Spa, N.Y.-based Curtis Lumber and who continues to be involved with the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association, told HBSDealer the meetings on the Hill were positive – moreso than some previous years.
“We had really good meetings both with the legislators and in some cases their aides,” he said. “I left feeling energized.”
The Legislative Conference drew to a close on April 3. The NLBMDA’s next major event is the 2019 ProDealer Industry Summit, slated for Colorado Springs, Colo., Oct. 8-10.
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