Top 10 NCHBA Actions to Benefit Members in 2012

Being a member of the Asheville Home Builders Association includes your membership at the State and National Level. Here is a quick article about what the North Carolina Home Builders Association and how they are working to help your business in 2012NCHBA

1.  Supreme Court Rejects “Pay-to-Build” Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) in Historic Ruling—On October 26, 2012, the Supreme Court of North Carolina rejected the petition by Cabarrus County seeking it to rehear its earlier, historic August 24 decision in the APFO litigation which struck down this ordinance on the basis that Cabarrus County lacked the specific legislative authority to enact the APFO. “It is the final victory in NCHBA’s successful litigation campaign to end efforts to shift the burden of public school financing and other improvements from the community-at-large to our industry,” said Mike Carpenter, NCHBA General Counsel. This case was brought with the assistance of the NCHBA Legal Action Fund and NCHBA filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court on behalf of the builder-plaintiffs. This case preserved our earlier 2010 victories in the NC Court of Appeals which held that Union County’s APFO and a similar ordinance enacted by the Town of Cary were illegal. In turn, both of these opinions were grounded on our industry’s first victory in this campaign in striking down Durham County’s illegal school impact fee ordinance in 2006. The result of this litigation campaign prompted several other local governments to voluntarily repeal similar APFO and school impact fee ordinances adopted without legislative authority. More importantly, by rejecting the county and local government association’s arguments seeking a broad reading of the general zoning power, the Supreme Court’s opinion calls into question the continued validity of wide variety of local ordinances enacted on that basis. COST SAVINGS: Just in Cabarrus County alone, the currently pending APFO refund case for APFO  fees paid exceeds, with interest, more than $6 Million; the TOTAL COST SAVINGS arising from NCHBA’s successful litigation campaign is literally in the Hundreds of Millions of Dollars as these illegal funding schemes were quickly spreading across the state.

2.  Continued to Lead Effort To Make Solving The AD&C Credit Crisis NAHB’s Number One Priority—In September of 2010, the NCHBA Board of Directors unanimously adopted a resolution calling on NAHB to make solving the ongoing AD&C credit crisis NAHB’s number one priority. At the NAHB Fall Board Meeting in 2010, NCHBA led a successful effort by a coalition of states to get this resolution enacted by the NAHB Board of Directors. In response, NAHB drafted H.R. 1755 (Home Construction Regulatory Improvement Act of 2011. NCHBA was successful in enlisting Congressman Brad Miller (D-NC-13th District) to join forces with Congressman Gary Miller (R-CA-42nd District) as the principal sponsors of this legislation. In 2012, we continued to participate in a strong NAHB grass-roots effort has produced broad bi-partisan support with currently 112 House co-sponsors and a companion bill in the Senate. No COST SAVINGS intended; instead, the goal of this effort is to unfreeze credit so that our builders can survive.

3.  Assured Continued Availability Of  Title Insurance In North Carolina—The enactment of HB 42 (Mech. Liens/Pvt. Lien Agent), which becomes effective 04/01/13, averted a crisis in the availability of title insurance in when the leading title insurers threatened to discontinue coverage unless the lien law was reformed. While this legislation will impose new burdens on contractors and owners, the final bill is a more practical and less burdensome approached than the one originally proposed by the land title association. Both the title companies and the legislative leadership credited NCHBA with playing a key role in defusing an impending crisis. While it is far from a perfect bill, we are pleased that we were able to help craft legislation that maximizes practicality and minimizes the burden for our members. COST SAVINGS: Difficult to quantify, but the loss of title insurance would have stopped all real estate transactions and devastated the fragile statewide housing recovery.

4. Residential Building Permit Crisis Averted by On-Line Posting of New Code—When it became apparent new code books would not be printed in time to meet the 03/01/12 deadline for the effective date of the new residential building code, several local jurisdictions across the state announced that they would begin withhold building permits (including several of our state’s largest jurisdictions). NCHBA worked closely with the Governor’s Office, the legislative leadership, and the Department of Insurance to find an alternative which would avoid this unacceptable result. Through those efforts, the publisher agreed to put the new code on-line which averted this crisis. COST SAVINGS: Difficult to quantify, but if building permits had been withheld until the printed books arrived several weeks after the deadline, it would be fair to estimate that the cost would have been in the Hundreds of Thousands, if not Millions, of Dollars.

5.  Worked With The NCLBGC To Enact Alternative “Net Worth” Test—In order to demonstrate financial responsibility for initial licensing or license renewal, general contractors were required to show working capital (i.e., cash) which varies by license classification. With respect to the limited license classification, this requirement was $17,000. At NCHBA’s urging, the Board adopted an alternative test of “total net worth” in the amount of $80,000 which now permits limited licensees the opportunity to satisfy the standard by either method. Given our recent economy, this alternative will provide useful to those who do not have cash but can demonstrate net worth. This rule becomes effective on 04/01/13 and if it proves successful, NCHBA intends to pursue a similar alternative for the intermediate and unlimited classifications. COST SAVINGS: Difficult to quantify, but would be priceless to any applicant or licensee who obtains or keeps his or her license if unable to satisfy the earlier test.

6.  Continued to Lead Business Coalition to Clarify and Strengthen Reform of Workers’ Comp Laws—Clarified historic workers comp reform act of 2011 by passage of additional legislation in 2012; helped coordinate the first legislative confirmation of an Industrial Commissioner; objected to proposed Industrial Commission rules before RRC; ongoing negotiations to reform hospital and physician fee schedule reimbursements. COST SAVINGS: Millions of dollars to employers over the next decade.

7.  Began Effort to Reform NC’s Unemployment Compensation System and Repay $2.5 Billion Dollar Debt—Passed SB 828 (Unemployment Insurance Changes) which lays foundation for major reform effort in 2013 Session. NCHBA is among the leaders of this business coalition. Goal is to improve program integrity, focus on reemployment, and enact common-sense benefit reforms while paying off our debt and returning the employer trust fund to solvency.  Cost Savings: If the reforms we have proposed are enacted, they will save NC employers millions of dollars in the future; however, in the short run, this debt must be repaid which means higher FUTA and SUTA taxes.

7.  Led Business Coalition in Enactment of the Regulatory Reform Act of 2012NCHBA led a broad business coalition in helping propose and successfully lobbying for the enactment of a second sweeping regulatory reform act in as many years. The passage of SB 810 lays the foundation for a third act to be introduced in the 2013 Session, again with NCHBA at the point of the attack. COST SAVINGS: Millions of dollars to our members, other employers, and to the public.

8. Continued to Play Prominent Leadership Role in NAHB- At the upcoming IBS in January, our own Rick Judson will be elected 2013 NAHB Chairman; Kathy Craven Snodgrass will be elected 2013 NAHB Associate Chairman, and Tim Minton will become 2013 NAHB EOC Chairman. In addition, five NCHBA Members will chair important NAHB committees or councils:  Erik Anderson, Education; Bill Daleure, Land Development; Gary Hill, Single Family Production Builders Committee; David Pressly, Home Builders Institute; and Mark Tipton, National Housing Center Board of Trustees. NCHBA continues to be the federation’s largest state association (at 13,306 members and the only state over 10,000 members; the Raleigh Wake Co. HBA became the nation’s largest local).

9.  Conducted Scientific Survey of Builders on Mandatory CE Proposal—One of Erik Anderson’s 2012 goals, and that of our current NCHBA Strategic Plan, was to determine if sufficient support existed among our licensed general contractor/builder members for NCHBA to pursue legislation which would mandate continuing education as a requirement of license renewal. This survey, conducted by a well respected, national polling firm  11/12-14/12, polled statistically valid sample of 300 of our licensed general contractor/ builder members. Survey results will be released to our Executive Committee and Board of Directors on 12/04/12.

10.  Assured NCHBA Fiscal Integrity and Provided New Member Benefits—Despite difficult times, NCHBA continued to offer vital services to its members while cutting costs and increasing revenue. We anticipate finishing 2012 in the black and thereby wiping out the 2012 approved budget deficit of $197,966.  A balanced 2013 budget has been submitted. NCHBA introduced an endorsed Member Rebate Program which has paid nice dividends to builders who have enrolled in the program and submitted proof that they utilized qualified products.

This article reprinted wither permission from the NCHBA

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