Dan Hilton 0000-00-00 00:00:00
As the new year and a new Congress kicks into high gear, old legislative battles linger. That age-old American tradition of healthy dissention of our elected offi cials was tragically altered following the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona. Immediately, calls for a more civil discourse rang out, and there was a renewed realization that in order to work together, we must learn to disagree without being disagreeable. The 112th Congress ushers in a new era of divided government — one which may be remembered not for its legislative achievements, but its exercise of its oversight responsibilities. As we refl ect on one of the more aggressive legislative periods in modern history, the time should come for the Republican House to recognize its limitations with a Democratic majority in the Senate and a President intent on preserving his legislative accomplishments. The challenge remains for legislators young and old to decide how they intend to use their authority. For every member of Congress who declares it their goal to work with the other side, there will be just as many who view their job as to fi ght hard for what their constituents sent them to Washington to do. Without question, passion in our debate will remain. It will be up to our elected leaders to fi nd common ground and identify issues that they can work on together. To be sure, there will be issues that neither side will come to agreement on, but there are others that will leave them with no choice but to fi nd common ground. Some of these pieces of legislation that Congress cannot ignore are the annual appropriation bills, which fund the federal government for the current fi scal year. Currently, the government is operating under a Short-term law, known as a Continuing Resolution, which is set to expire on March 4, 2011. Armed with the mandate to dramatically reduce spending, Republicans have openly shown their desire to bring us back to 2008 spending levels. Now comes the diffi cult task of choosing winners and losers in the budgetary process. In addition to must-pass funding measures, Congress is also expected to tackle the controversial issue of raising America’s debt ceiling. According to the Heritage Foundation, America’s gross federal debt has reached $14 trillion. Ongoing defi cit spending (projected at $1.4 trillion for 2011) means the ceiling of $14.29 trillion will initially be reached by the middle of March. The Treasury Department’s traditional fi nancial toolbox and revenue surges in April and June should delay the fi nal moment of reckoning to May and possibly as late as July1. Nonetheless, without a statutory increase, America’s credit-worthiness is at risk; this will undoubtedly test new members of Congress who campaigned aggressively on reducing our national debt.Once again, members will be challenged with the need to work together, or to stand fast on their principles. Across the country, businesses are united behind their opposition to a revenue raiser included in the Affordable Care Act requiring an IRS form 1099 be fi led for every transaction above $600. Members of the House and Senate from both sides of the aisle have introduced legislation that would do away with this requirement. However, one major obstacle is that its repeal would erase the $17 billion it was projected to raise in order to help pay for the law. Finding other sources of revenue, other than the painful step of increasing taxes, will be required. While that and other legislative fi xes are addressed, the Department of Health and Human Services will continue implementing this law. As we have learned, the arrival of the new year brought changes in our laws.Those with children can now keep them on your health plans until age 26 and the use of tax-favored health savings accounts now requires a doctor’s prescription. We can no longer purchase items like contact lens solution or cold-and-fl u medication over the counter with the convenience of these cards. As President Obama declared during his State of the Union address, he is open to constructive changes in this law, but it remains uncertain where the House and Senate can fi nd common ground. Other laws passed in the 111th Congress will begin implementation through the rule-making phase by the regulators charged with drafting them. The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, commonly known as Dodd-Frank, will be issuing draft rules as well.According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the 2,300-page bill contains 259 mandated rulemakings, another 188 suggested rulemakings, 63 reports, and 59 studies2. What concerns many is the possible unintended consequences of this law and the potential increases in the cost of capital, thus stifl ing growth and a return to prosperity. What both laws have in common is that to make any substantive changes requires action by Congress. Absent congressional action, the input of stakeholders is critical, like those who provide healthcare or rely on capital markets to make investments. The 259 mandatory rules identifi ed by the Chamber of Commerce should not be written without the input of stakeholders. It is critical for impacted parties to inform the regulators of how these changes will impact their businesses.Like the healthy dissention challenging our members of Congress, our regulatory system also has in place a forum to encourage stakeholders to exercise their views on changes in regulations. Finally, fi xing any number of our long-term issues such as entitlement reform or simplifying the tax code will continue to be areas that can both divide and unite lawmakers. In his State of the Union address, President Obama agreed with millions of business owners that America’s corporate tax rate ranks among the highest in the world and stands in the way of our competitiveness. Along with smart tax reform, there are many issues important to the PHCP and PVF industry which ASA will continue to work towards, such as a reasonable OSHA and the authorization and full funding of WaterSense. In addition, we will continue to oppose repeal of LIFO and strive to preserve a coherent manager-employee relationship by opposing an overly aggressive Department of Labor. To make these and other changes, however, Americans are expecting Congress to work together to ensure our recovery continues and the tools of our economy are in working order. A robust economy is reliant on free enterprise and the tempered application of our rule of law, but it is also needlessly hindered when these same levers of power work against our interests. Balancing the two is an unending struggle, one that cannot be ignored and demands the participation of every stakeholder. For more information on ASA’s advocacy efforts and what you can do to promote positive change in Washington, D.C., visit the Advocacy section of www.asa.net or contact Dan Hilton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703. 328.5234 at ASA’s Washington, D.C., office, or 312.464.0090, ext. 226 at ASA headquarters. Profit Planning – A Key to Performance Improvement ASA Operating Performance Report Now Accepting Participants Most companies today use ratio comparatives to discover strengths and weaknesses. However, these are only tools to measure performance, not remedies to fi nancial problems. It is the use to which you put these ratios that will determine their real value. In addition to the participation and cooperation on the part of the various managers who exercise control over their revenue or cost areas, the company’s annual budget process should give considerable attention to setting company norms that are at least equal to those prevailing in the industry. These standards are found in the annual ASA Operating Performance Report. Companies that participate in ASA’s Operating Performance Report receive details of survey results in primary business segments in all the PHCP and PVF industries. Within each segment, data is shown for all participating fi rms, as well as by sales volume size, and a special analysis that focuses on high profi t firms is included. Each report also includes a 20-year trend report for each business segment. Participation is now open for the 2010 ASA Operating Performance Report. Please contact Chris Murin at 312.464.0090 ext.204 or email@example.com for more information, and watch your email for an invitation to participate. ASA Welcomes New Members The following companies joined ASA and will enjoy all the networking, benchmarking, advocacy and educational programs that make ASA membership an unmatchable value to distributors and vendors in the PHCP and PVF industry. Blackman Plumbing Supply Bayport, NY www.blackman.com M & M Supply Co. Oklahoma City, OK www.mmsupply.com Raritan Group New Brunswick, NJ www.raritangroup.com Rothenberger USA LLC Rockford, IL www.rothenberger-usa.com For more information on how your company can become a member of ASA, please contact Chris Murin, ASA’s executive director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312.464.0090, ext. 204. ASA Young Executives Present 2011 ASA Spring Forum in Kohler, Wisconsin Herbert V. Kohler To Address Attendees ASA’s Young Executives (YE) Division is focused on developing the necessary skills and key relationships that are critical for the next generation of leadership to succeed throughout the industry. For many years, the YE Division has hosted this annual Forum for wholesalers, manufacturers, independent reps and others in the PHCP/PVF industry. This program is one of our industry’s best opportunities to learn new concepts and skills, cultivate profi table relationships with channel partners from across the country, and enjoy the wonderful camaraderie for which ASA events are widely known. INSPIRE AND DISCOVER Herbert V. Kohler, chairman and chief executive offi cer for Kohler Co., will host the reception and dinner on Monday evening, providing attendees personal insight into success from a leader for one of the industry’s premier manufacturers. As a veteran of the wholesale distribution industry with more than 30 years of executive management experience, Rick Johnson knows exactly what it takes to create leaders within a company and how to maximize every sale to its full potential. He will conduct the educational sessions of the program, focusing on Strategic Leadership During Economic Recovery. Leadership during the economic recovery only increases the challenges every employee and every leader in your company will face. The fi rst session will help participants understand how to create a culture that demands a sense of urgency that goes beyond the power principle of title, reexamines your commitment to employees, and builds mutual commitment to action. The second day will help participants determine how to inspire active involvement, innovation and creativity among employees with clearly defi ned missions, goals, passions and values. ENJOY Located one hour north of Milwaukee, the Village of Kohler is an amazing community of 1,900 people — a premier golf and spa destination and home to a leading American corporation. An optional golf outing will be held at the Meadow Valleys and River courses at Blackwolf Run. The courses were designed by renowned architect Pete Dye and are regularly ranked among the top 100 courses in North America by both Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. To register by the April 19, 2011 deadline, visit the “Upcoming Events” section of www.asa.net and download the complete program brochure. For more information, please contact Chris Murin at email@example.com or 312. 464.0090, ext. 204. SAFETY RESOURCES in the PHCP & PVF industry Toolbox Talks Path to Safety- Step 20: Machine/Equipment Safety and Guarding What Does it Mean to Have a Good Plan? While all plans within a company’s safety policy are important, it is the Machine/Equipment Safety and Guarding Plan that many safety coordinators will point to as an area where injuries, if incurred, are routinely severe. A bad incident with a chop saw or wire spooling equipment rarely ends well. It is for this reason that management tends to pay extra attention to this area of the policy. So what constitutes a good plan for machine/equipment safety and guarding? What things should it include? There are 10 components for designing a plan on machines and equipment. Each component serves a specifi c function to ensure that the plan is consistent, clear, effective, and supports the overall safety policy. To ignore one component is to underestimate the importance of the plan. Visit the Safety Resources section of www.asa.net to review the specifi c components of a good plan and fi nd a Toolbox Talk to use in educating your employees on this important topic.
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