The American Rental Association’s (ARA) 2013 Government Affairs Committee met in Chicago Nov. 14-15 to chart the course of ARA-supported policies through the 113th Congress.
Representing a diverse geographic area and inventory base, the 2013 committee consists of chairman Steve Anthony, American Event Rentals in Stockton, Calif.; Art Behnke, AirPac Rents, Front Royal Va.; Frank Bocci, Beehive Rental, Eugene, Ore.; Anthony Casale III, Casale Rent-All, Clifton Park, N.Y.; Jerry Kortesmaki, London Road Rental Center, Duluth, Minn.; Bob Nally, Apache Equipment Corp, Phoenix; and Kevin Reim, Redtail Equipment Rental, College Station, Texas. Also present were ARA President-Elect Mike Blaisdell, Bunce Rental, Tacoma, Wash., and ARA government affairs staff members.
“We have a good group of people committed and dedicated to the industry,” Anthony says. “These ARA members are willing to take time away from their businesses for the betterment of the association.”
Discussion throughout the meeting focused on post-election analysis and the national issues that continue to affect the equipment rental industry, including health care, taxes and “fiscal cliff” considerations.
“The Government Affairs Committee is the first committee to meet each year and the work they do is critical to rental business owners. With the high level of uncertainty in our economy, ARA members need to know how issues like tax policy and the implementation of the new health care law are going to affect their businesses,” said Blaisdell, who appoints members of the ARA committees for 2013.
As legislators prepare to proceed into the 113th session of Congress in January, the committee focused on how government issues may impact the equipment rental industry and ARA members nationwide, as well as how to communicate information necessary for ARA members to effectively manage their businesses.
“ARA needs to stay on top of the issues and continue to understand and pursue the policies that will benefit the equipment rental industry,” Anthony says. “ARA members need to be informed about compliance with the new health care law and how tax policy is going to change the way we do business. The Government Affairs Committee members are the eyes and ears on these issues.”
In addition to establishing the agenda for ARA’s 2013 National Legislative Caucus, the committee also will host the event. Plans are underway for a full agenda in Washington, D.C., April 16-18.
“Caucus is one of ARA’s most important leadership development programs,” says Christine Wehrman, ARA’s executive vice president and CEO. “The Government Affairs Committee is charged with planning and hosting caucus and making sure that ARA’s legislative agenda is delivered directly to our elected officials in Washington, D.C.”
“Without the efforts of our members who attend caucus, our real-life stories would never be conveyed on Capitol Hill,” Anthony says. “We aren’t lobbyists or a union. We’re a group of private individuals who come together from across the country to talk about the issues that are important to our businesses and our employees. Our message delivered by us has more credibility than any other form of communication to these members of Congress.”
The American Rental Association (ARA) government affairs program is the voice of the equipment rental industry before Congress and the federal government on all issues affecting the industry and ARA member companies. It also assists state associations who want to advocate directly on regulations and laws at the local and state level.
In addition to the year-long Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaign, ARA’s government affairs staff members spent 2012 working for ARA members through coalitions and relationships with legislators to promote the best interests of the equipment rental industry. The following are the highlights of ARA’s government affairs activity in 2012.
ARA begins its 2012 Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaign, encouraging members to start educating themselves and their employees ahead of the November 2012 elections.
Government affairs staff members work with Texas Rental Association (TRA) members on compliance with H.R. 2476, which significantly impacts the process for property tax compliance in Texas.
ARA’s Political Action Committee (ARAPAC) raises record amount at World War II Museum event during The Rental Show 2012 in New Orleans.
Through the Coalition to Save Our GPS, ARA joins with other groups to protect GPS spectrum from cell tower interference.
Through the H-2B Workforce Coalition, ARA recommends members contact their congressmen to address concerns about changes to the Department of Labor H-2B Comprehensive Final Rule regarding the hiring of temporary seasonal employees.
The ARA Government Affairs Committee hosts its National Legislative Caucus in Washington, D.C., focusing on the health insurance tax (HIT) and long-term funding for transportation and infrastructure.
ARA signs with the Coalition for a Democratic Workforce in support of a bill to stop the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) proposed decrease in the time between filing a petition to unionize and the election date from 38 days to 14.
Changes to the H-2B rules are blocked nationwide through a federal court injunction, which delays any proposed changes until later in the year and is considered a victory for those hiring seasonal employees throughout the industry. This issue is of particular concern to ARA party and event member companies in the Northeast.
ARA President Mike Flesher testifies before a congressional committee regarding the impact estate taxes have on small businesses, particularly in the equipment rental industry.
ARA supports the efforts of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) to file a lawsuit contesting the NLRB elections rule abbreviating the time between filing a petition to unionize and the election date.
ARA signs in support of the Responsibility and Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act of 2012, which would simplify the environmental permitting process.
ARA participates in the General Services Administration’s (GSA) 2012 Expo in San Antonio to support and encourage the use of equipment rental services by federal government agencies.
ARA signs onto a letter drafted by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) encouraging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to pass S. 2050, the Landrieu/Snowe Small Business Tax Extenders Act of 2012, which would extend small business tax provisions that work to encourage business investment, increase cash flow and simplify the tax code.
ARA signs a letter sent to the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-Mich.) in support of the Stop the HIT Coalition, outlining the importance of repealing the health insurance tax (HIT) by 2014 in order to avoid placing additional tax burdens on small businesses.
ARA signs the Small Business Coalition for Affordable Healthcare (SBCAH) letter in support of H.R. 436, the Health Care Cost Reduction Act of 2012, which would repeal the 2.3 percent tax on medical devices found in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
The U.S. Supreme Court finds PPACA’s individual mandate constitutional, requiring virtually everyone to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty.
ARA helps members prepare for compliance with PPACA after the Supreme Court upholds individual mandate. ARA will continue to oppose the employer mandate.
In response to comments submitted by the ARA, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announces that it is increasing the small business size standards for 21 industries and one sub-industry, which includes two of the three North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes used in the equipment rental industry.
A record-breaking $10,660 is raised at the ARAPAC fundraiser held at ARA’s 2012 Leadership Conference in Chicago. In addition, 32 ARA members join ARAPAC during the conference.
On Nov. 6, Election Day, 35 of 38 ARAPAC-backed candidates are elected to Congress.
The ARA Government Affairs Committee meets to develop ARA’s 2013 legislative agenda and plan the 2013 National Legislative Caucus. Priority issues for 2013 include tax reform and the impact PPACA will have on the equipment rental industry.