Legislative & Regulatory News
Senate approves Internet sales tax bill
The Senate on Monday approved legislation that would for the first time allow states to collect billions of dollars in online sales tax revenue from out-of-state purchases.
The 69-27 vote is a major victory for retail groups and state governments, who for years have fought to close what they see as a loophole that allows as much as $23 billion in annual taxes from online sales to go uncollected.
“I’ve been saying it for the past 12 years,” lead sponsor Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) said ahead of the vote. “This bill is about fairness, it’s about leveling the playing field for brick-and-mortar shops.”
The measure split Republicans senators, as 22 Republicans voted no in addition to five Democrats. Nineteen Republicans supported the measure.
D.C. Circuit Court invalidates NLRB posting rule
The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has struck down the NLRB's rule which required all employers covered by the National Labor Relations Act to post an NLRB-drafted "Notification of Employee Rights under the National Labor Relations Act." Under that rule, employers failing to post the notice would be subject to an unfair labor practice charge. The rule has been on hold since March 2012 when the District Court partially invalidated the posting regulation and enjoined its application pending this appeal.
Specifically, the Court found that the enforcement mechanisms placed into the Rule by the Board overstepped the Board's enforcement authority.
Immigration reform faces Senate gauntlet, uncertain House outlook
The push for immigration reform enters a crucial period when Congress returns this week, as Senate legislation faces the gauntlet of a committee mark-up and House negotiators try to complete their own long-awaited bill.
Advocates expect senators in both parties to file hundreds of amendments to the Senate's Gang of Eight immigration overhaul, and they hope the 844-page bill will emerge improved but not dismantled by the red pens of the Judiciary Committee.
Senators took their legislation on the road during the congressional recess, and the pressure of conservative opposition appeared to yield early concessions from a key backer, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who said the bill likely couldn't pass the House and may need to be changed even to clear the Senate.
Source: The Hill
Industry & Manufacturing News
Bobcat breaks ground on $20 million expansion to create innovation, testing and technology facility
Bobcat Company has officially broken ground on its $20 million renovation and expansion to create the Acceleration Center in Bismarck, N.D. When complete, the Acceleration Center will be a modern complex for advancing innovation where professionals utilize technology and modern design to ensure the position of Bobcat as the leader in the compact equipment industry.
The project includes expansion of an existing building as well as development of a new test track and indoor testing facility — all at the Northern Plains Commerce Centre in Bismarck. The expansion of the existing building will include a two-story office building and provide a total of 160,000 square feet of modern workspace. Additionally, a 35,000-square-foot indoor testing arena will be constructed next to a 22-acre outdoor testing and track area. Construction is expected to be complete by summer 2014.
The Acceleration Center will initially house 135 employees tasked with innovating and advancing designs; testing; prototype engineering; and the computer simulation of ideas and concepts. These efforts will be accelerated thanks to the collaborative open environment and modern technology built into the facility.
Blount announces new President for Farm, Ranch, and Agriculture Division
PORTLAND, Ore., May 9, 2013 -- Blount International, Inc. announced today that Jerry Johnson has been promoted to President of its Farm, Ranch, and Agriculture ("FRAG") division. Paul Valas, who has been President of the FRAG division since 2011, will transition to a new position as Senior Advisor, providing Blount with insight and assistance on strategic planning, customer relationships, and international expansion. Since joining the Company in 2010 when Blount acquired SpeeCo, Mr. Valas has led the development and integration of the FRAG businesses, including SpeeCo, Woods Equipment, and TISCO. Prior to the acquisition of SpeeCo, Mr. Valas was CEO of SpeeCo and, as part of the acquisition, agreed to a two-year transition role at Blount.
"Paul has been instrumental in creating and leading the FRAG businesses over the past three years, and it has been helpful that he has stayed beyond our original timeframe," stated Josh Collins, Blount's Chairman and CEO. "Paul developed and pulled together a cohesive senior management team of FRAG from a disparate group of acquired businesses. Those managers have come together as a team, developed and started executing on a plan, and are now prepared to expand internationally. From the outset, Paul communicated a desire to pursue other opportunities at the appropriate time. Now is the right time for Paul and the Company to make this transition."
Mr. Collins continued, "We are delighted that Jerry Johnson has accepted this new role. While significant work has been accomplished in integrating and developing our acquired businesses, Jerry's capabilities, industry knowledge and relationships, and strong commitment to our mission and strategy will continue the momentum we've built over the past couple of years."
NAEDA Industry Relations Taskforce meetings
NAEDA and our legal counsel Siegfried Bingham, continue to be extremely busy reviewing proposed changes by various manufacturers to their dealer agreements. Many of these reviews are being funded by the NAEDA Industry Relations Fund for the benefit of all dealers. NAEDA’s Industry Relations Taskforce (IRTF) has future meetings set with Toro (May 29), Case IH (May 30) and John Deere (July 29-30). Additional requested meetings include Briggs & Stratton, Kubota, New Holland and AGCO. If you are a dealer for one of these particular brands, please feel free to contact NAEDA or your regional affiliate with any issue you would like to addressed by the IRTF in their meetings.
Refiners' RFS agenda is to stop competition
The oil industry hopes to protect its control over America’s fuel supply by undermining renewable fuels. By confusing us with misleading claims and outright falsehoods, oil companies hope Congress will overlook the real dangers caused by our almost complete dependence on oil for transportation fuels. For our economy and our environment, we cannot allow them to succeed.
The oil lobby is not hiding its goal. It wants to destroy its competition by repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), calling higher ethanol blends “unworkable” and “not the way to go.” That is nonsense. Currently, ethanol is blended at the 10% level (E10) into nearly every gallon of gasoline in America, saving consumers money and cleaning our air. Meanwhile, higher ethanol blends like E15 are the most tested fuels ever – with enough miles driven by testing agencies to travel to the moon and back 12 times.
The oil industry would like you to ignore the inconvenient fact that oil is both limited and disappearing fast. In the race to drill ourselves into “Saudi America” by increasing domestic oil production, we will be going after oil reserves that are harder and harder to access. And those oil reserves will cost us a lot more, both economically and environmentally.
According to the IEA, even with all that drilling at home, oil is still expected to top $200 per barrel by 2035. That’s a far cry from the $20/barrel price most of us baby-boomers grew up with. We won’t have lower oil prices until we have real alternatives to oil at the pump – and the oil companies know it. So it’s no surprise that the oil industry is interested in killing policies that encourage competition to its legacy business model. That model is extremely lucrative: the five majors pulled in record profits in 2011 and more than $118 billion last year.
Source: The Hill
Canada’s Farm Progress offers TRAVEL SUBSIDY to attend the 2013 show
2013 Canada’s Farm Progress Show - one of the largest and most advanced dryland, no-till technology shows in the world - will showcase 30+ new product launches from several companies across North America, like Bourgault Industries, Westfield Industries, Unverferth Mfg. and Farm West Ag. Included are 16 innovations being unveiled to the industry such as the Airguard Seed Brake from Dutch Industries, the Trailer Mount Conveyor from Haukaas Manufacturing, the Hit n Hitch Pintle from Power Pin Inc. and the Full Last Implement Pass (FLIP) from SeedMaster.
Under the Incoming Buyer Program, CFPS can reimburse US dealers’ travel costs to the show (up to 50% - airfare or gas mileage). Additional benefits include free access and special tour of the show, access to the international business center with free internet and complimentary meals during the show, networking opportunities with Canadian manufacturers and top no-till farmers at International Reception, educational opportunities at Farm Progress Forum, free transfers from hotels to the show, and many others. The qualification process is quick, easy and can be done online.
The show organizer has also released its 2013 Export Guide of Canadian manufacturers seeking to expand their market representation and distribution channels in the US. Check out CFPS Export Guide to assess potential business partners and facilitate your show connections. Don’t miss out on the $1.4 billion agricultural equipment exports market from Canada to the US.
Information about the show is available at www.myfarmshow.com and details of the Incoming Buyer Program can be found at http://www.myfarmshow.com/international-business/incoming-buyers-program. Please contact Dagmar Fleming at 414-801-5041 or email@example.com with any questions.
Dealer Summit announced for GIE+EXPO
A highly relevant new seminar has just been announced for Dealer Day at GIE+EXPO in Louisville. On Oct. 23, a lunch-and-learn Dealer Summit will include a session unveiling new research about buying and attitude trends to help dealers be more effective in reaching top contractors. The seminar will also include a panel discussion on important developments like diversification, marketing, social media, sales management and more. Distributors are also encouraged to attend. Attendees will receive a full copy of the research report.
The new research will be presented by GIE Media, the publishers of Lawn & Landscape, Golf Course Industry and Green Industry Supply Chain News magazines.
Another just-announced presentation will include an incisive panel discussion featuring leaders from major manufacturing partners moderated by longtime industry leader Kim Rominger. Rominger is the executive vice president of Association Management Group and one of 16 association executives associated with the North American Equipment Dealers Association, which is helping organize the Summit.
Topics for the panel discussion will include how dealers fit into the future for these companies, how the companies plan to use online sales in the future, compatibility of electronic communications and billing systems and, of course, how they are responding to the challenge of E15.
The new Dealer Summit will run from noon until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at the Kentucky Exposition Center, the site of GIE+EXPO (the Green Industry & Equipment Expo) and the collocated Hardscape North America. Pre-registration is required for participation in the Summit. The cost to attend the Summit is $50 and the cost to register for the tradeshow is $10 through Sept. 11; $25 Sept. 12-Oct. 22; or $50 onsite.
Kris Kiser, president & CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, one of the sponsors of GIE+EXPO, said, "Astute dealers and distributors will jump at this opportunity. This is a chance for them to hear, first hand, about the big trends impacting the market and how their supply partners plan to work with dealers in the future. "
GIE+EXPO's 2013 dates are Oct. 23-25. Wednesday, Oct. 23, will be an exclusive preview day for dealers, retailers, distributors and media. A Dealer Resource Pavilion will be open 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. and indoor exhibits will be open 3 - 7 p.m. During a welcome reception on the show floor, 5 -7 p.m., many of the exhibitors will host games, food, festivities and prizes in their booths, including a $5,000 giveaway sponsored by STIHL Inc.
On Thursday and Friday the tradeshow and the adjacent Outdoor Demonstration Area will be open to all in the industry.
Now the 9th largest tradeshow in North America, GIE+EXPO is sponsored by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, Inc. (OPEI), Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) and Professional Landcare Network (PLANET). For information and online registration: www.gie-expo.com. Other contact points: Facebook, info@GIE-EXPO.com and 800-558-8767/812-949-9200.
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NAEDA, Association & Program Partner News
Federated Insurance to host Designated Risk Management Seminar for equipment dealers
Federated Insurance, NAEDA’s endorsed provider for business liability insurance and risk management services will conduct a special Designated Risk Management Seminar for equipment dealers. The seminar will be held July 15-17, 2013 at Federated headquarters in Owatonna, MN.
Equipment dealers are interested in controlling losses and those companies that are most successful at controlling their losses have designated a key person as their risk manager. The challenge is that it’s typically not a full-time position. The responsibility often falls on someone who has other full-time duties to fulfill. This is where Federated’s Designated Risk Manager Seminar can be so valuable. The Designated Risk Management seminar targets specific risk management concerns for our industry and Federated understands the risks inherent with equipment dealers.
There is no charge for association members to attend this seminar as this training is another association member benefit thanks to our partnership with Federated Insurance. Attendees, however, are responsible for air and ground transportation to and from Owatonna, Minnesota, and lodging in Owatonna.
Click here to register...
Retaliatory firing: Don’t fire whistleblowers, no ifs, ands, or buts
Employees have a right to report alleged non-compliance to federal and state agencies without fear of retaliatory firing or demotion- no ifs, ands, or buts. A violation of an employee’s protected conduct of reporting potentially illegal or dangerous circumstances, the Department of Labor has made it very clear that retaliatory firing will not be tolerated.
A historical case of retaliatory firing landed one company with a $110,000 back wage payment, as well as fines imposed by OSHA, After an employee reported mechanical issues with his truck and was fired the next day, United Auto Recovery was required to rehire the employee, pay back wages and punitive damages, and was required increase trainings on employee rights, as well as to improve the workplace by posting employee rights posters.
Traditionally OSHA and the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) have been the primary investigators of complaints of retaliatory firing. Other agencies, including the SEC and FTC, have become involved with strong whistleblower protections under Sarbanes Oxley for employees of public companies; new laws including The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009, which creates whistleblower protections for employees in the health care sector; and The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which provides expansive protection to whistleblowers in the financial services industries.
The bottom line is that you can’t afford to fire a whistleblower unless you have absolute, irrefutable evidence that the firing had nothing to do with the report of fraud, complaint of discrimination, or safety issues.
For more information or questions on KPA’s HR Management service that can help in maintaining the proper and legal termination reasons, contact KPA Sales @ 866.356.1735 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click Here to request a personalized demo of KPA’s HR Management services.
Crop insurance-conservation compliance deal could boost renewable energy
Renewable energy advocates say that an agreement
announced earlier this week between agriculture, environmental and conservation groups to tie crop insurance eligibility with compliance with conservation provisions could help the development of sustainable energy production.
The agreement comes a week prior to a scheduled mark-up of farm legislation Tuesday by the Senate Agriculture Committee.
The agreement was reached after several major farm organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, dropped opposition to tying crop insurance to conservation compliance in exchange for the coalition's opposition to "means testing" or income limits on those who received subsidized premiums for crop insurance.
Renewable energy advocates say that while conservation programs are likely better known for their demonstrated ability to protect and restore natural habitat on millions of acres, and reduce soil erosion and other impacts of farming, all while increasing agricultural productivity, they also serve a critical role in the development of sustainable biomass such as energy crops and methane digesters.
Introducing energy crops offers producers a means to help restore soil quality to vulnerable lands, renewable energy advocates say. They also note that land management practices such as no-till and low-till offer restorative services while leaving residue that can be used as feedstock for advanced biofuel production. Encouraging conservation compliance helps broaden the sustainability of domestic energy production, the advocates say.
"The [agreement] is a good compromise position supporting linking conservation compliance with crop insurance premium assistance and opposing means testing, payment limitations or premium subsidy reductions for the crop insurance program," the farm and environmental groups said in a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS).
"In the spirit of compromise and in the interest of completing a 2013 Farm Bill this year, each of the groups has committed to not support amendments beyond this compromise that might weaken the crop insurance program or amendments that might not link conservation compliance with crop insurance premium assistance," the groups stated.
National Association of Conservation Districts President Earl Garber said the agreement was a "common-sense, non-partisan [compromise] to ensure the equitable implementation of conservation compliance tied to crop insurance."
And while the agreement brought together groups as diverse, and often opposed in policy orientation, as the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Farm Bureau and the American Farmland Trust, there was opposition in some circles.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) said the agreement did not go far enough, arguing that "conservation accountability should apply to the entire farm safety net."
"We may not even support the conservation portion of the deal which appears to include major loopholes, though we will need to see actual legislative language before making a definitive judgment on that score," NSAC said in a statement.
From the NAEDA Office
Keeping Our Eyes on Washington
By Mike Williams
Congress has just returned from their Easter recess break to take up the matters of the country. There are a couple of items we thought you should be aware of that will be taking place over the next few weeks and months.
First off, let’s start with the House of Representatives. The House Ways and Means Committee has announced the formation of 11 separate Ways and Means Committee Tax Reform Working Groups. The groups will be led by one Republican member serving as chair and one Democratic member serving as vice chair. Each of the 11 groups will review current law in its designated issue area and then identify, research and compile feedback related to the topic of the working group. The working groups will be responsible for compiling feedback on its designated topic from: 1) stakeholders, 2) academics and think tanks, 3) practitioners, 4) general public and 5) colleagues in the House.
Once the work of those groups is completed, the Joint Committee on Taxation will prepare a report for the full committee. The final Joint Committee on Tax Report is expected to be delivered to the Ways and Means Committee on Monday, May 6, 2013.
So why is NAE DA pointing this out to you, you are probably asking? We wanted to make you aware of the areas NAE DA will be commenting on to the committees. Dealers need to be aware of these issues so you can reinforce them as you see and speak with your representatives over the coming months. If tax reform is going to happen, one of the ways it will happen will be through the House Ways and Means Committee; that is why it is important to know what our issues are.
We will be submitting comments on:
1. LIFO. We will explain why this accounting method is important to dealers and what it means to the industry.
2. Equipment Depreciation. We will outline why the IRS depreciation schedules should be authorized to change equipment depreciation to five years from the seven years that currently exists. Some of the same rationale for the next item will also be used as our arguments here.
3. Bonus Depreciation and Section 179 Expensing. We will state why customers buying equipment should be allowed to write off a piece of equipment over a shorter lifetime. Our statements will include that the depreciation change should increase your customers’ income, help in any debt repayments and allow for timely replacement of equipment with newer models. We intend to also mention that faster equipment replacements bring environmental benefits from newer engines, better fuel efficiencies and the latest technology in emission controls.
4. Buildings and Building Contents. We will ask the relevant committee to review the “class life” definitions of a dealership’s buildings and contents. The current depreciation schedules spread out the costs of such improvements over too long a recovery period, which often delays a dealer from making such improvements. The need for buildings to accommodate newer and larger pieces of equipment and for adequate diagnostic hardware to service equipment, including tracking and guidance systems, is creating a demand for these capital expansions which justify why we believe the schedules should be reviewed and changed.
5. IRS Code Section 263A. We will make the case that the current threshold of $10 million in annual sales is too low, as this outdated IRS code section requires dealerships to capitalize certain costs—such as labor, handling, purchasing and storage of inventory products. This “capitalization” is a highly complex calculation for most dealers. Our second reason for asking for a change is the fact that the $10 million figure has not kept up with business growth or the consolidations of businesses.
We encourage you to submit your own comments and recommendations to the various study groups. For more information on how to do this, see the article, “Tax Reform Targeted,” on page 11 of this issue.
The second item in Washington we will be watching and commenting on as appropriate is the budget discussions. There will be a lot of trade-offs going forward by both parties, and the issue most likely to get caught up in those trade-offs is the next farm bill. Please refer to the Advocacy Section of this magazine issue to get a full understanding of the possible farm bill issue.
MIKE WILLIAMS is vice president of government relations for NAEDA.
He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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