Although Congress was in recess for the month of August, ASA’s Government Affairs Committee was not. ASA took advantage of this time to build momentum to allow lawmakers to take immediate action upon their return to session in September.

“The Residential Energy Tax Credit and legislation to address copper theft are two strategic areas where legislation could have an immediate impact on members’ businesses, “stated Don Robertson, Chairman of the ASA Government Affairs Committee. “One encourages consumers to make purchases and the other helps prevent income loss resulting from theft.  Both are ‘here and now’ issues that can produce quick results.” 

ASA, HARDI, NAPHCC and ACCA sent a joint letter to every Senator urging them to support a 2-year extension of the residential energy tax credit. The $500 tax credit is for homeowners who install qualified high efficiency appliances, such as furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps, water heaters and more. This is the same type of tax credit that was in place for 2006 and 2007, but expired at the end of 2007. The House-passed legislation contains a provision to extend the credit for one year (until December 31, 2008). ASA’s concern with the House-passed “$500" tax credit is that it is only for one year and not two, as in the past. ASA’s position is that delaying these tax cuts and not making the credits for two years is wasting a real opportunity to promote energy efficiency. When Congress is back in session, ASA will redouble its efforts to get this extension passed.

In May, ASA was one of the founding members of the Coalition Against Copper Theft, an organization for raising awareness in Congress about increasing thievery of metals, such as copper. Through the work of the Coalition and Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI), legislation has been introduced in the House to require certain metal recyclers to keep records of their transactions in order to curb copper theft. On August 1, Representatives Stupak and Jim Ramstad (R-MN) introduced HR 6831 – the “Copper Theft Prevention Act of 2008.” When Congress returned this month, top on the agenda for Representatives Stupak and Ramstad was meeting with the House Law Enforcement Caucus to request that Caucus members endorse HR 6831. With 107 members in the Caucus, an endorsement by them will be a big victory for ASA and other members of the Copper Coalition in efforts to see legislation considered by Congress. 

For more information on these two issues and the additional advocacy positions that ASA is promoting on behalf of its members, please visit the Advocacy section of www.asa.net

Sales Tax Holidays on Energy Efficient Products

ASA members in Georgia, Virginia and West Virginia all have upcoming state sales tax holidays on energy efficient products. This presents a great time for ASA members to maximize any sales and marketing opportunities for your contractors and consumers in this regard.  

Georgia:
  • state sales tax is 4%
  • tax holiday extends from October 2-5, 2008
  • eligibility is on energy-efficient and water-saving products worth $1500 or less 

      Virginia:
  • state sales tax is 4%
  • tax holiday extends from October 10-13, 2008
  • eligibility is on energy-efficient and water-saving products worth $2500 or less

      West Virginia:
  • state sales tax is 6%
  • tax holiday extends from September 1-7, 2008
  • eligibility is on energy-efficient products worth $2500 or less 

      Will other states follow this lead? ASA will monitor the situation and inform you as information becomes available.

    Visit the Advocacy section of our Web site to see what other regulatory trends ASA is monitoring on your behalf.