Weekly Update: November 9, 2017

  At the HBAI Board of Directors meeting yesterday, the group elected the following HBAI Executive Committee members.  From left to right:  Associate National Director Mike Farr (Cedar Rapids/Iowa City); Past President and National Director Tim Ruth (Iowa City); Secretary Jeff Bass (Quad Cities); Second Vice President Randy Dostal (Cedar Rapids); First Vice President Darrel Bullock (Sioux City); and President Scott Webster (Quad Cities).  Also serving are Treasurer Melissa Schooley (Cedar Rapids); State Representative Don Beal (Des Moines).  Congratulations and thanks so much for your service!

Going to Battle on Tax Reform

By the time this newsletter is released, this could change due to the Senate’s version of the tax plan, but for now it’s a major problem.  HBAI Executive Officer Jay Iverson will be flying into DC next week to meet with the Iowa delegation.  We need you to follow up with the same group.

It’s been a week now since the House Republican Tax Plan was released.  This plan is devastating to homeowners and the American middle-class. We need to let Congress know that we – do not support this plan.

We need a meaningful incentive for homeownership in our tax code; without it, this plan doesn’t work.  Reach out to your members of Congress and tell them this plan doesn’t work.

  • Without a meaningful tax incentive for homeownership, home values are at risk of declining
  • With the increased standard deduction and $500,000 cap, few homeowners will be able to now effectively use the Mortgage Interest Deduction
  • NAHB maintains our proposal of a Homeownership Tax Credit offers a benefit to more qualified taxpayers than a deduction and also more effectively targets this benefit to the middle-class.

Below are some actions you can take right now:

Save Local Business Act Passes House!

We were in strong support of H.R. 3441, the Save Local Business Act, which would restore a commonsense definition of joint employment to provide clarity to small businesses and entrepreneurs about their legal obligations. It passed the House this week.

The bipartisan Save Local Business Act affirms that a company may be considered a joint employer of a worker only if it “directly, actually, and immediately” exercises significant control over the primary elements of employment, such as hiring, firing, determining pay, or supervising workers on a routine basis. This legislation provides much-needed clarity in determining the identity of the employer, and will allow building firms and other construction businesses to operate with certainty in their labor and employment obligations under the law. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)’s 2015 decision in Browning-Ferris Industries vastly expanded the test for finding joint employer status beyond the traditional standard of “direct and immediate” control over workers. A company can now be considered a joint employer if it has an “indirect or potential” right to control or co-determine the essential terms of a worker’s employment.

Under this new test, builders could be found joint employers of another company’s workers by merely setting the work schedule of their subcontractors so they do not overlap on a project, or by requesting additional subcontractors to complete a job that is running behind schedule. These simple, responsible, everyday business acts expose builders to potential liability for the labor and employment practices of third-party vendors, suppliers, and contractors over which they have no direct control.

Recently, the Fourth Circuit Court ruled that two businesses that are “not completely disassociated” can be joint employers – a definition that is vastly broader than even the standard set forth in Browning-Ferris. Under this test, virtually any business-to-business relationship may trigger a finding of joint employment. The scope of liability will only continue to evolve as the courts explore and expand the limits of the standard.

hba iowa local business act passes

  Last Tuesday, we had 22 of our HBAI Board of Director members participate in a Leadership Symposium put on by the Iowa Society of Association Executives.  Topics included what it takes to be an effective board member; how to have the ideal board meeting; how to set mission driven priorities; why boards fail; legal responsibilities of board members; meeting member needs; budgeting for action, etc.  It seemed to be worthwhile and we thank our participants, who took time out of their busy schedules to devote a day.

Tim Ruth Wins NAHB Outstanding Industry Advisory Board Member Award!

Congratulations to HBAI 2017 President Tim Ruth, winner of the 2017 Outstanding Industry Advisory Board Member Award. He will be honored at IBS on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 and will be sponsored by NAHB to attend ACCE’s Industry Advisory Board Event in Tucson, AZ.

Tim Ruth has been an outstanding Industry Advisory Board member for the Construction Management program at Kirkwood Community College. Tim graduated from the Kirkwood program in 1993 and has continued his commitment to educating the next generation of homebuilders ever since.

Tim’s current positions include; President of the Industry Advisory Board for Construction Management at Kirkwood Community College. Member of the Eastern Iowa ACE Sector Board, member of the Vocational Training Council for the Greater Iowa City HBA and President for the Iowa HBA. While these titles are certainly impressive, what makes Tim stand out is his relentless passion for quality, accessible and relevant education opportunities.

There are countless ways Tim has demonstrated his commitment to improving the opportunities for students at Kirkwood as well as for students across the state of Iowa. In addition to the roles listed above, Tim has been an integral part of local events to engage area students in real world learning. His leadership is clearly evident in such projects as the Clear Creek Amana STEM Center design/construction project and the Sustainable Housing for Education Project (SHEP). Both of these projects demonstrate how engaged and adaptable Tim Ruth is in his pursuit to educate students.

Consumer Confidence

As Measured by the Conference Board, October consumer confidence came in at 125.9, the highest reading since 12/00. This elevated level is a result of rising equity and home prices and an unemployment rate of just 4.2%, its best level since 2/01. A similar measure put out by the University of Michigan is at its best level since early 2004, and Bloomberg’s Consumer Comfort index is near its post-recession high.  – Elliot F. Eisenberg, Ph.D.

hba iowa carbon monoxide detectors

  Carbon Monoxide Detectors – We need your input. The Iowa Public Safety Department provided a notice of intended action to adopt new Chapter 211, “Carbon Monoxide Alarms,” in the Iowa Administrative Code.  HBAI Executive Officer Jay Iverson represented our interests at a stakeholder meeting late last week.  It seems like somewhat of a benign issue –  something that you’re probably already doing fairly well, until you read it and start talking about it.  It will affect you and the way you build.  Please take the time to look at it by clicking here, and email Jay Iverson with any comments or concerns.

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