Dan Hilton 2013-02-12 00:59:25
ASA Legislative Update A New Year, A New Congress – Unfinished Business For now, LIFO repeal and S corporations have been spared a direct assault The House and Senate recently returned to clean up the mess that was left behind in 2012. In large part, this unfinished business is a result of partisan differences, campaigning for re-election and a general lack of urgency. While Congress continues its ways, one major factor in governing cannot be overlooked; the president has no more elections to run and enjoys support to pursue his agenda without fear of the ballot box. For more than a year, we have been talking about the “fiscal cliff,” where tax rates would rise for all Americans and billions of dollars were scheduled to be pulled from the economy. Passing the December 31 deadline, both sides dug in their heels, wanting either more in tax revenue or more in spending reductions. The final agreement resulted in freezing tax rates for those making under $400,000 ($450,000 for households). Taxes on capital gains and dividends also are set to rise on the same households, up to 20% (23.8% with the Affordable Care Act increases). For now, LIFO repeal and S corporations have been spared a direct assault. It is widely reported, however, that the fiscal cliff deal was a down payment on deficit reduction with more to come in 2013. Toward the end of 2012, a number of CEOs from the country’s largest multinationals came out in favor of Congress and the administration coming together on a deal. Many viewed this as advocating for tax increases in hopes of achieving corporate tax reform in 2013 at the expense of individual tax reform. This is what small business needs more of. Throughout 2013, ASA will work closely with a number of business groups to advocate for a common sense tax policy that doesn’t harm small businesses. Here is where it gets interesting. During 2012 fiscal cliff negotiations with the president, House Speaker John Boehner offered nearly $1 trillion in tax revenue by cleaning up the tax code and removing a number of exemptions and deductions. With a number of these provisions remaining untouched, it is believed the White House may use this as a potential starting point for Round 2 of negotiations. ASA once again will fight any effort to repeal LIFO and remove provisions favorable to small businesses, especially S corporations.However, now that tax rates are permanent, a degree of certainty should comfort many business owners. For better or worse, tax reform is expected in 2013. Regulatory Forecast With the departure of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, the president will need mighty big feet to fill those shoes. Most would agree Jackson’s legacy will be her firm grip on industry and her pursuit of a strong, pro-environmental agenda on the president’s behalf and at industry’s expense; while the NLRB has allowed its allies in labor to flourish the past four years. Some of the EPA’s agenda items include: restricting natural gas development through the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), the controversial Boiler MACT rule and its aggressive interpretation of the Clean Air Act. What is ironic is some in Washington have said the EPA was so aggressive in its first term, it may have to spend its second term cleaning up a number of regulations still under review or challenge. Among some of the regulatory and legislative issues ASA will be pursuing are the implementation of the Lead in Plumbing Act and the Metal Theft Prevention Act of 2013. As most know by January 2014, manufacturers and distributors will have to comply with changes in law that require no more than 0.25% maximum lead content – measured through a weighted average calculation – mandated on all pipes, fixtures and fittings sold in U.S. for installations delivering water for human consumption. Throughout the year, ASA will be working closely with other industry leaders to ensure members are educated on this law and how they should prepare to comply. In addition, we’ll be working with Congress and the EPA on ensuring a reasonable implementation. Also this year, ASA will be leading the way to see that legislation cracking down on metal theft is signed into law. With the bipartisan introduction of the Metal Theft Prevention Act of 2013 which ASA helped draft with senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)And Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), we will aggressively pursue support in the House and Senate for this commonsense legislation. The President’s Second Term Agenda and its Political Prospects We began by mentioning that second-term presidents enjoy the luxury of not having to ask for their job back. In addition, they have a bit of political capital to spend. But that political capital has its limits, especially when taking into account the 2014 elections. Historically, the party of the president tends to lose seats in the following election and the odds are favorable (once again) that they will in the Senate.The reason for that is the large number of senators that came to power on the president’s coattails in 2008 and are now up for re-election in 2014. In 2014, there will be 21 Democrats up for re-election, in “red” states such as Louisiana, Arkansas, Alaska and North Carolina and already they are measuring their comfort level of aligning with the president on issues such as immigration reform, climate change and gun control. It remains to be seen how much political capital the president is prepared to use on these issues and risk a number of senate seats in red states. While 21 Democrats are up in 2014 as opposed to only 14 Republicans, that page flips in 2016 when 24 Republicans and 10 Democrats are up for re-election. In future issues, we will address the Affordable Care Act, one of the president’s biggest legacies. Some of its most important provisions will come more into focus in the coming year. For more information on ASA’s efforts in Washington,D. C., visit the Advocacy section of www.asa.net or contact Dan Hilton at email@example.com or 703/328-5234 ASA Members’ View of 2013 – More of the Same A survey of American Supply Association distributor members reveals a bleak outlook for a significant economic recovery in 2013. Most distributors view the 2013 national economy as being either flat or in recession; with just 25% seeing the economy in a growth mode. Many distributors feel their own sales will be up by as much as 5% to 10%, indicating a cannibalization of competitor sales.Those who anticipate an increase in sales don’t foresee any changes in their policy toward inventory. Their plan is to utilize just-in-time delivery and to increase reliance on master distributors. Many distributors are looking to expand through either acquisition of other firms or by the addition of new lines (i.e. expanding into more HVAC, commercial or energy sectors). Sixty percent of survey respondents believe their gross profits will be flat and that commodity prices will be up in 2013. Few distributors expect to add to their labor force or increase capital expenditures while relying on a lean labor force as they have over the past few years.More than 50% of distributors believe their customers’ businesses will be up in 2013; another 40% believe that they will be flat. While most distributors are expecting another lean year and had hoped for a change in administration in Washington, many are more optimistic that the economy will take an upward turn in 2014. They are beginning to look toward investing in training of their lean labor force to be in a stronger position when the economy pick pu With that being said, it is still a wait-and-see approach as to what will be coming out of Washington and how things such as and energy policy tax impact how they do business. Uncertainty is still the word of the day. ASA Plumbing Division Approves Launch of PB Outlook in April PB Outlook, a new quarterly publication of the American Supply Association’s Plumbing Division, targets key plumbing customer segments with critical information important to their businesses.From ASA’s quarterly commodity reports to monthly economic trends and updates of pending federal regulations to special editorial features from industry thought leaders, PB Outlook will provide information that is not available in any other publication. Backed by BNP Media, PB Outlook will debut in April 2013 and will be distributed free to an audience of more than 20,000 decision-makers in the following market segments: plumbing contractors, engineers, builders, developers and designers. PB Outlook will be a sister publication to the ASA Industrial Piping Division (IPD)’s PVF Outlook, which began publishing to very high acclaim in summer 2012. ASA Supplier Partnership Program The Return on Investment is the Growth of an Industry The ASA Supplier Partnership program, introduced in 2010 and enjoying exponential growth each year since, reflects a model of year-round recognition for its participants and provides a wealth of benefit for ASA distributor members. Among the many benefits to the participant is the ability to promote their company to more than 25,000 industry professionals on a regular basis. Getting their company name in front of customers and end users is definitely a motivating factor for the ASA Supplier Partner, but the real advantage of the program is in helping their distributor channel-partners grow their bottom lines. In regard to the program, Joe Poehling, president of First Supply stated: “When a company participates as an ASA Supplier Partner they are doing much more than supporting ASA.ASA Supplier Partners make a true long-term commitment.” ASA Supplier Partnerships provide year-round support to association initiatives, contributing to such programs as NetworkASA, the Young Executives Division’s Annual Spring Forum and informational tools such as the monthly Pulse Report (industry snapshot of sales performance), Materials Market Digest, Operating Performance Report, the weekly ASA Insights member e-newsletter and much more. “Quite simply, by acting in partnership with ASA, Supplier Partners dedicate themselves to growing the industry as a whole for generations to come,” Poehling added. ASA’s Supplier Partnership program offers participating companies significantly more than a typical “one and done” sponsorship. As a matter of fact, the program provides ASA the flexibility to allocate financial resources for use not only with current programs, but also in the development of new initiatives. “Companies that go above and beyond to support ASA’s activities are rewarded with year-round visibility and recognition, which is more in line with how the ASA Supplier Partnership program benefits ASA’s distributor members,” Coburn Supply president Don Maloney stated. Bottom line – ASA Supplier Partnerships strengthen the distribution channel for all involved. Please see ASA News each month for an updated list of partners. Global Harmonization System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) Free Webinar Series Highlighting Program Changes April 9 and 10 Are you aware of the changes that are coming and the effect the Global Harmonization System of Classification of Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) will soon have on your hazardous communications program? Even if you already have an effective and compliant hazardous communications program in place, it is about to become obsolete. This is because OSHA recently released the long-awaited Final Rule that aligns its Hazard Communication Standard with the United Nations Globally Harmonized System (GHS). ASA’s Safety Committee will be addressing these sweeping changes through a series of upcoming April webinars. Don’t miss the ASA Safety Committee’s two-part FREE WEBINAR series on the subject to be held Tuesday, April 9 and Wednesday, April 10 at 2 p.m. EST. The webinars will be presented by MSDSpro, the “Leader in MSDS & Chemical Management.” The April 9 webinar is geared toward distributors, while the April 10 webinar is aimed at manufacturers. For further details, click on the orange Safety Resources button at www.asa.net and follow the webinar registration links.
Published by SupplyHouseTimes. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.bnpmedia.com/article/ASA+News/1314063/146386/article.html.