Capitol Building, Washington DC originally uploaded by minkj.Seeking a HIRE Power: CRI Seeks Public, Legislative Support for Home Improvement
An important piece of proposed legislation designed to provide a true stimulus for the hard-hit home improvement and building products industries has been introduced in Congress and referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. The bill, HR 3382, is also known as the HIRE Act, which stands for Home Improvement Revitalize the Economy.
The HIRE Act is significant to the carpet industry because it proposes tax credits for home improvement purchases. It is supported by a broad coalition of home furnishings and building products manufacturers, including the Carpet and Rug Institute, American Home Furnishings Alliance, WFCA, Hardwood Federation, International Wood Products Association, International Sleep Products Association, and Resilient Floor Covering Institute, among others.
Specifically, the HIRE Act proposes that, during the three years from 2009-2011, tax credits be allowed up to $2000 per family or $1000 per individual against the purchase or installation of qualified home furnishings for families making up to $300,000 per year, or $150,000 per year for individuals. Low income families would receive up to $500 in credit, or $250 per individual. Contractors and retailers would also benefit under the bill, with up to $10,000 credit allowed. In addition, credits would double for purchases that meet recognized environmental standards, such as Green Label Plus, Energy Star, LEED, Green Globes, etc.
Supporters emphasize that the HIRE Act is not a government spending bill, but an incentive for consumers to make long-delayed home purchases and repairs. Economic figures show the home improvement and home furnishings market segments will lose almost $150 billion in economic value and nearly $600,000 jobs between 2007 and the end of 2009.
Sponsoring the bill are two powerful Georgia representatives, led by Democrat Congressmen Henry Johnson, Jr. and Republican lead co-sponsor Nathan Deal. CRI Vice-President Frank Hurd says Congressman Johnson and his staff “have worked diligently to draft this legislation.”
The bill has additional congressional support, including Representatives John Barrow [G-12], Sanford D. Bishop [GA-2], Wm. Lacy Clay [MO-1], Robert E. Latta [OH-5], Bill Pascrell, Jr. [NJ-8]
According to Frank, the HIRE Act can trace its beginnings to a discussion in Congressman Johnson’s office during CRI’s most recent congressional visit. At that meeting, Frank says, the congressman became “intrigued with the concept of a tax incentive for home improvement.”
The HIRE Act still needs additional sponsors in the House, as well as companion legislation in the Senate. CRI and the rest of the coalition of supporters is urging individuals and businesses to express their support for the HIRE Act by writing to their elected representatives, and they have provided a summary of the bill and a sample letter to help simplify the communication process. The letter describes the HIRE Act as a “temporary, timely, and targeted effort to put money in the hands of consumers and help them improve their homes.”
Thanks to Frank and everyone who's worked so hard on behalf of the carpet industry. I hope everyone will contact their representatives to support the (aptly named) HIRE Act.
Added 8/13/09: CRI Press Release Floor-Covering Industry Supported Tax Credit Bill Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
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