We had an excellent meeting with Congressman David Young last Monday at the HBAI office – a very interesting dialogue and very much on track. From the right counterclockwise – Congressman David Young, BUILDPAC Trustee Rich Fitch, Des Moines HBA Executive Officer Dan Knoup, Des Moines Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Lance Henning, Past HBAI President Keith Butz, and Iowa Prison Industries Director Dan Clark.
Capital Improvements and Home Equity Loans
In a victory for remodelers, the IRS issued a letter yesterday clarifying changes to home equity loans and lines of credit to confirm that households may take a tax deduction when these loans are used for home improvements.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, enacted Dec. 22, suspends from 2018 until 2026 the deduction for interest paid on home equity loans and lines of credit, unless they are used to buy, build or substantially improve the taxpayer’s home that secures the loan, the letter said. “This is a major victory for remodelers and for home owners who want to invest in their homes,” said NAHB chairman Randy Noel.
Total Housing Permits for 2017 Just In
- Total national single-family permits for 2017 were 817,300, up 10% from 2016.
- Iowa single-family permits for 2017 were 8,743, up 6% from 2016.
Siders Appointed to DNR Mitigation Advisory Team
HBAI Past President and Legislative Chair Glenn Siders was appointed to an Iowa DNR Mitigation Advisory Team and will participate in his first meeting with the group today. They will be investigating the feasibility of an in-lieu fee compensatory mitigation program (ILF program) to serve the needs of USACE permittees for stream mitigation work in Iowa.
Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) Courses in Iowa City
The CAPS 1 Marketing and Communications Strategies for Aging and Accessibility will be held March 20 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and the CAPS II Design / Build Solutions for Aging and Accessibility class will beMarch 21 from 9 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Click here for the brochure.
Health Care Solutions Move Forward
SF2349 allows the creation of Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements, also known as MEWAs. The bill will remove the current time restrictions found in Iowa code, which will allow the creation of MEWAs under current federal laws and regulations. Additionally, the bill will require the Commissioner of Insurance to adopt rules to allow the creation of a more flexible type of MEWA which will be allowed once proposed U.S. Department of Labor regulations become final.
Another bill SF2329 would allow certain agricultural organizations to offer health benefit plans. Under this bill, these plans would not be considered insurance under state or federal law, taking these plans out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements. Previously, Iowa had tried the stopgap measure to fix the problem for Iowans who can’t afford health insurance under the ACA, but that proposal was ultimately withdrawn. This option is for Iowans who should not have to pay $40,000 a year for health insurance. Passing this bill will let certain associations to offer health benefit plans to their members in need of this product.
Many of our members are looking for options due to the collapse of Iowa’s individual health insurance market. These bills will provide two options for all Iowans, including our small businesses and sole proprietors who are in desperate need for solutions.
Canadian Softwood Lumber and US Exports
As punitive duties averaging more than 20% were imposed on Canadian softwood lumber imports in 2017, domestic producers responded by shipping record amounts of lumber overseas. U.S. exports overseas climbed 9% in 2017, compared to a modest 1% increase in 2016 and a sharp 16% drop in 2015. Exports to China, the largest U.S. offshore customer, were up 21% from 2016. Producers of southern yellow pine exported 41% more to China in 2017 than they did in 2016.
At the same time that domestic lumber producers claimed they were being harmed by Canadian imports, they were sending record amounts of softwood lumber overseas because they could charge a higher premium to foreign nations. Meanwhile, the tariffs are harming housing affordability, causing extreme price volatility and incentivizing foreign nations to boost lumber exports to the U.S. because of record-high prices.
Lumber imports posted their fifth consecutive yearly gain in 2017. However, unlike the previous four years, the increase was accompanied by a decline in imports from Canada-the first such decline in six years. Roughly one-third of the lumber used in the U.S. last year was imported. Even with rising imports from other nations, the bulk of imported lumber – more than 95% – came from Canada.
It is imperative that the U.S. and Canada find an equitable long-term solution in lumber trade that provides a steady supply of lumber at a reasonable price. At the same time, we are calling on domestic producers to curb their timber exports when there is a gaping need at home.
The Iowa Truss Manufacturers Association held it’s annual legislative day yesterday morning. HBAI is in step with their priorities and vision, so we participate in the event. Next Wednesday, the HBAI Board of Directors will hold our hill visit day and meeting at the Capitol.
Legislative Update February 16
SF2127 – Economic Development Authority and Eligible Housing Business – agreements with eligible housing businesses required the project or rehabilitation to be completed within two years of the date the eligible housing business began the building or rehabilitation. The bill allows an extension to be granted by the economic development authority, as approved by the economic development board, for up to one year from the date the extension is granted for the eligible housing business to complete its building or rehabilitation project. HBAI undecided
SF2182 – Association Health Plans – An Act relating to association health plans, a type of multiple employer welfare arrangement, established by bona fide associations of employers and including contingent effective provisions. The United States department of labor issued proposed rules in 83 Fed. Reg. 617 (January 5, 2018) that broaden the criteria under Title I of the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to allow more employers to form an association health plan to offer a group health plan to employees, former employees, family members, and other beneficiaries of the employer members of the association. HBAI in Favor
SF2236 – Mechanics Lien – (Successor to SSB3039) – Under current law, a lien statement may only be amended by leave of court in furtherance of justice or as to the amount demanded. The bill provides that a claimant may only amend a lien statement by leave of court in furtherance of justice or to decrease the amount demanded. An amendment to decrease the amount demanded must be accomplished through the mechanics’ notice and lien registry. The bill provides that amending a lien statement to decrease the amount demanded does not affect the priority of the lien statement. The bill also provides that a lien statement shall not be amended to increase the amount demanded. HBAI in Favor
SSB3093 – Public Utilities – (Companion to HSB595) – This chapter provides a means for the joint financing by public agencies of works or facilities useful and necessary for the collection, treatment, purification, and disposal in a sanitary manner of liquid and solid waste, sewage, and industrial waste, facilities used for the conversion of solid waste to energy, gasworks and facilities useful for the delivery of gas service, and also electric power facilities constructed within the state of Iowa, except that hydroelectric power facilities may also be located in the waters and on the dams of or on land adjacent to either side of the Mississippi or Missouri river bordering the state of Iowa, water supply systems, swimming pools or golf courses. This chapter applies to the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, ownership, operation, repair, extension, or improvement of such works or facilities, by a separate administrative or legal entity created pursuant to chapter 28E or chapter 389. When the legal entity created under this chapter is comprised solely of cities, counties, and sanitary districts established under chapter 358, or any combination thereof or any combination of the foregoing with other public agencies, the entity shall be both a corporation and a political subdivision with the name under which it was organized. The legal entity may sue and be sued, contract, acquire and hold real and personal property necessary for corporate purposes, adopt a corporate seal and alter the seal at pleasure, and execute all the powers conferred in this chapter. HBAI undecided
SF2237 – Rent Limitations – (Successor to SSB3037; Companion to HF2284) – This bill increases the five-year statute of limitation period that a person has to collect rent pursuant to a judgment in an action on a claim for rent to 10 years. HBAI in Favor
HF2316 – Home Improvement Fraud – The bill provides that a person, who is acting as a contractor, is guilty of home improvement fraud if the person enters, or offers to enter, into a home improvement contract, and intentionally does any of the following: uses or employs a false pretense or false promise to convey that there is a need to enter into a home improvement contract; knowingly creates or reinforces a consumer’s false impression or belief concerning the condition of a consumer’s dwelling or property that is the subject of the home improvement contract; makes a false statement or omits a material fact as to the terms of the home improvement contract or the condition of a person’s dwelling or property that is the subject of the home improvement contract; receives moneys for the purpose of paying for services, labor, materials, or equipment and fails to apply such moneys for such purpose by failing to substantially complete the home improvement for which the moneys were provided within specified time periods, failing to pay for the services, labor, materials or equipment provided incident to such home improvement, or diverting the moneys to a use other than for which the moneys were received; provides a false individual name or a false business name, address, or telephone number to a consumer; or enters into an unconscionable home improvement contract with a consumer. HBAI undecided, but this did not make the funnel.
HF2343 – Explicit Authorization – (Successor to HSB574, Companion to SSB3063) – Prohibits a state agency from implementing or enforcing any standard, requirement, or threshold, including any term or condition of a license issued by the agency, unless that standard, requirement, or threshold is explicitly required or explicitly permitted by a state statute, rule adopted pursuant to Code chapter 17A, or a federal statute or regulation. HBAI in Favor
Doug Mayo Memorial Golf Outing Registration Open
Let’s think about the nice weather that we’ll have next June 22 for the Fifth Annual Doug Mayo Memorial Golf Outing. It will be a great time, as it always is. The registration is open now, so gather up your foursome and sign up before it sells out. Once again it will be at Copper Creek Golf Course and begins with a 10:00 a.m. shotgun start. Click here to register. There are plenty of opportunities for hole, beverage, and prize sponsorship’s too – so get your company name in early for maximized exposure in our promotional materials.