On May 24, over 100 HARDI members participated in the HARDI Congressional Fly-In. These members took time from their busy schedules to come to Washington and meet with more than 200 offices, in addition to a Q&A session with White House personnel, and meet with key Congressional Committee staff.
Anyone who has walked past a television in the past few months would believe that political tensions would be at an all-time high. And that still may be the case for some. However, I was heartened to hear reports from our members that many of our issues were able to crack partisan walls and that there appeared to be a more collaborative spirit between Republicans and Democrats (on certain issues).
Perhaps no bill was more well received than our efforts to improve career and technical education by advocating for the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. As we discussed, the looming HVACR workforce shortage is a real concern and Capitol Hill is beginning to understand that. Unfortunately, there is only so much that Washington can do and it is vital that our entire industry unites to address these challenges on a state and local level.
Another issue that we received favorable feedback on is our efforts to accelerate expensing on HVAC systems/units in a commercial setting. The current schedule calls for a write-down period of 39-years, which everyone agrees is too long. Accelerating this schedule will allow building owners to more easily invest in new and more efficient technology, which is attractive to both Republicans and Democrats.
One issue that we continue to see partisan positioning on is the repeal of the estate tax. By and large most Republicans support it and most Democrats oppose it. Much of the opposition is the belief that few people are actually impacted by the tax and thus it shouldn’t be repealed. I will say that I was pleased that some offices who oppose full-repeal of the estate tax were receptive to two talking points.
1.) Inventory-heavy businesses, like HVACR distributors, are disproportionately impacted by the estate tax.
2.) The amount of money people must spend in order to avoid the estate tax is significant, and it is money being taken away from investing in businesses.
I certainly came away from this year’s event rejuvenated and excited that our members are so effective on Capitol Hill and willing to participate and that – despite the gloom and doom reports – there are opportunities to get (a few) things done.
To view the full list of HARDI Legislative priorities, click here.