Small Business Programs
NARI has had success in lobbying certain requirements that affect small business. For example, 1099 expanded reporting, which was part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, placed an undue burden on small business owners. NARI along with every other small business group successfully lobbied for the elimination of this requirement.
Another success story for the industry is the Merkley Amendment, an amendment added at the eleventh hour to the Senate’s version of the health-care bill. This amendment, which was ultimately dropped from the final Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act because of pressure from a variety of organizations, would have forced businesses in the construction industry to provide health insurance to employees if they have more than five employees. Meanwhile the minimum threshold for all other industries is more than 50 employees. NARI is monitoring other legislation to make sure this amendment doesn’t resurface somewhere else.
NARI members are consumer advocates who do what is best for their clients and the public good. NARI works to educate consumers about the remodeling process and how they can avoid unscrupulous contractors. LRRP is a good example of this. NARI’s position has consistently been that its members want to create a healthy environment for its clients. NARI will continue to advocate that position on any additional regulations that may arise.
NARI’s focus on green remodeling has helped its members assist their clients to take advantage of energy-efficient tax rebates. NARI advocates for programs that are inclusive to all industry certifications in green remodeling practices.
Last year, NARI closely monitored Home Star legislation when the Senate and House explored energy tax credits. NARI and a small group of industry associations sent a letter on July 19, 2010, to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) with copies to other members of the Senate committees on Finance and Energy and Natural Resources. The letter expressed concern that Home Star’s potential rebates were not intended to be given directly to homeowners and that having only one accredited energy-efficient training organization greatly restricts the opportunity for highly trained individuals to qualify for the type of work required.
This year, NARI expects Home Star will come up in the context of the Clean Energy Standard that President Obama and some Senate leaders view as a priority. NARI will continue to educate senators about the importance of resolving the rebate and training accreditation issues in a way that helps the remodeling industry.
As small business entities, NARI members and their employees enjoy a close relationship. As such, NARI advocates for employment and labor practices that reflect the difference between small construction firms and large businesses. It also works to further policies that provide flexibility in the employer/employee relationship. NARI is working to form a close relationship with OSHA to further this agenda item and make sure that its members are aware of any new workplace safety initiatives coming out of that agency.
During the past year, NARI leaders have met with several Congressional staffers to introduce them to NARI members as remodeling-industry professionals and small business owners. For example, I met with Maria Doa, director of the EPA’s National Program Chemicals Division, to discuss concerns about the implementation of LRRP, lack of consumer education about the rule, lack of enforcement, and differences between the OSHA and EPA requirements regarding lead and RRP. Doa was open to receiving feedback about the discrepancies between OSHA and EPA requirements, which the NARI working group will push forward with suggested solutions once they have been identified. NARI continues to press its request for enforcement of the rule, most recently through a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. View the letter at xx.