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How ACCA Upped The Ante On Capitol Hill And The 2018 Policital Outlook

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Washington, D.C. – The morning of December 22, looked like just another brisk winter morning in our Nation’s Capital from ACCA’s offices, nestled on the other side of the Potomac River in Arlington, VA. Outside, on I-95 there was just a trickle of traffic as we headed into the long weekend of Christmas break. Just a handful of folks inside the White House were aware President Trump had decided to hurry up and sign into law without any fanfare, a Tax Reform Bill Congress had just passed. A bill many are saying is the most historic victory for small business owners in more than a generation.

With the signing of that legislation, ACCA ended 2017 with a historic victory for America’s HVACR Contractors. In the closing days of the year, the investments ACCA had been making in getting the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act through Congress, resulted in a final bill that included many of our top priorities.

✓ HEAT Act passed= Immediate expensing of HVAC equipment for business owners
✓ Better tax rates for your businesses
✓ Reforms to the estate tax
✓ Opened the door for making changes to Obamacare (Association Health Plans)

By the time you read this article ACCA will have held our 50th Annual Conference, with the theme of “Up The Ante,” and celebrated the remarkable year we had transforming several of ACCA’s, and those of the entire HVACR Industry’s, top legislative and regulatory goals into achievements. Celebrating our Golden Anniversary along the banks of the Potomac River in our Nation’s Capital, where ACCA played an instrumental role in not only making tax reform a reality, but creating an entirely new tax incentive specific to selling HVAC equipment seems fitting.

It also seems fitting we would be joined for this celebration by our first ever Cabinet Secretary, Alex Acosta, from the U.S. Department of Labor. Secretary Acosta’s participation signals our understanding that, to tackle monumental issues impacting our industry, like workforce, we must make more investments with the decision makers.

As we move into 2018, our work on taxes will continue, but with the passage of tax reform we will be able ramp up our focus on advancing our workforce priorities.

Issue: The HVACR industry has a considerable shortage of skilled workers, and the problem is accelerating due to constraints within the training pipeline. Skilled labor is vital to promulgate proper installation and maintenance of cutting-edge energy efficient equipment.

Solution: The federal government must prioritize technical education support, especially in high schools, that highlight the benefits of employment careers in the skilled trades while promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. Additionally, the Veterans Administration should support reforms that encourages all states to promote veteran apprenticeship programs with small businesses that have a record of success. Such reforms should highlight the skilled trades and facilitate speedy approval of small business apprenticeship programs. Continued and expanded support will yield long-term benefits to the HVACR industry and the millions of customers our members serve.

Congress needs, and wants, to get a lot done before the inevitable slow-down that will occur as early as late spring in advance of the 2018 mid-term elections. Top on their list are: Healthcare Reform, Infrastructure Funding, Immigration & Entitlement Reform, and of course passing a budget. Each of these items on their To Do List provides us a vehicle to advance more of our priorities.

With 49 opens seats in play in the House and with the swearing in of Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) the Republican majority in the Senate has narrowed to fifty-one seats. Already, last year, Vice President Pence had to cast more tie breaking votes than any Vice President in the last 145 years.
Additionally, Republicans may also have to account for the absence of Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who is fighting brain cancer, as well as few other aging members dealing with health issues, so having an issue like workforce that is viewed as politically neutral could provide just the opportunity to make changes that could transform our industry.

As is always the case, ever-changing circumstances will determine which issues advance, and those are difficult to predict now. However, because of imposed deadlines we know for certain issues must be dealt with and that will result in an exciting 2018.
Thank you for your continued support and membership in ACCA.

Barton James

Posted In: Government

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