On a day when single-payer health care was rumored to be passing the Senate, leaders of ASA in California joined with other small-business owners to advocate for common-sense proposals out of the state capitol.

As a note of irony, while hearing Governor Jerry Brown address those in attendance, comment cards were distributed to provide feedback. Seeing the large list of industries to select from, attendee John Mills of WHCI Plumbing Supply noted, “We’re not on here, they don’t recognize distribution!”

As is often the case, distributors, both plumbing and PVF, find themselves wondering where they fit, and who represents their interests. This reinforces the need for our industry to stand up and speak with ONE voice for OUR interests. This is why ASA was advocating for common-sense solutions such as AB 968 and AB 1654, both sponsored by Assemblywoman Rubio. If signed into law, it would provide businesses a much needed seat at the table with state water authorities in developing water-use efficiency and conservation regulations that will affect their competitiveness. It would require the Department of Water Resources to convene a commercial, industrial and institutional water-use efficiency taskforce to create water-efficiency measures for the various segments of commercial, industrial and institutional water use.

Said Bradford White’s Eric Truskoski, “California’s regulatory environment has been a challenge in recent years. It has effectively narrowed consumer options when it comes to water heating. There are a variety of efficient, eco-friendly water heating options, and consumers should be able to select from all of them, regardless of technology and fuel type. Our industry supports smart regulation, and welcomes the opportunity to work with policymakers to effectively drive water heating solutions that work toward addressing national, state, and local energy and environmental concerns.”

Second-time attendee Mike Abeling of Consumers Pipe and Supply also made a simple offer to his assemblyman’s office, “Join us for tacos sometime!” Abeling encouraged his assemblyman, Freddie Rodriguez, to come by when he’s offering his employees and customers complimentary refreshments–a terrific opportunity to meet voters and those he represents. “Cultivating relationships with policymakers is as important as relationships with customers, which takes time, effort and a mutual understanding of one and other’s perspective.”

Other issues of interest to members of ASA is the threat of costly tax hikes on small, family-run businesses. ASA opposed two bills moving through the Senate that would do so. SB 567, introduced by Senator Lara, increases taxes on employers, requiring payment of capital gains on the inheritance of a family business as well as eliminating a deduction for corporations with regard to CEO compensation. While SB 726, by Senator Wiener, creates the opportunity to impose a state estate tax that will significantly harm family-owned or closely held businesses that are transferred upon death, while adding another layer of taxes. When California already has the highest personal income tax and sales tax rates in the country, as well as one of the highest corporate tax rates, small-business owners stood up and said enough is enough!