Editor's note: This column is reprinted from the February edition of Oklahoma Builder magazine
By Mike Means
Executive Vice President, OSHBA
As your association gets prepared for the upcoming legislative session, I thought I would bring you up-to-date on our legislative priorities. These were discussed at our last Board of Directors meeting and will be the primary focus for this year's session.
Before I get to the topics, I first want to say thank you to those members who generously contributed to our political action committee. Your dollars combined with fellow members' dollars allowed us to participate in many, many campaigns. And in case you missed my report to the Board in October, we were successful in every general election we were involved in! That is a pretty good percentage, so pat yourself on the back for helping your industry out.
Here are the top priorities of your association:
We will be pursuing the formal registration of builders this year. I know we are in the age of pushing back on over-regulation, but we should all recognize that there is a need for some regulation. If there is a way to consolidate some of regulatory burdens that makes sense doesn't it? The elements we are advocating include appropriate insurance, general liability and workers compensation, and continuing education. Be sure to keep an eye on your email for alerts and action items as we proceed through the legislative session.
Protect the Energy Efficient Residential Construction tax credit
This tax credit enables builders to build small entry-level homes to the energy efficient standard that many larger homes enjoy. As the market continues to evolve, there is still a large gap between the cost to build a smaller high-performance home and the value of appraisals. We think the economic impact to the state of Oklahoma far exceeds the cost of the credit.
We are attempting to pass legislation, again, that will allow municipalities the authority to exercise cleanup operations in a neighborhood that has an HOA that is non-working or non-functioning. Those neighborhoods still have an obligation to provide working drainage easements and should not cause problems for future developments. This issue needs to be addressed as the economy continues to grow and land becomes more expensive.
As usual we also play defense if the situation calls for it. We will work toward keeping the industry as strong as it possibly can be. Your involvement is key and we trust that is one of the reasons you are a member. As we go through the session if at any time you have a question, please feel free to contact us.