Congressman Gardner spoke to RCMA members on the status of pertinent bills and other congressional news. Congressman Gardner has been designated by United States House Speaker John Boehner to be the Republican Party point man on a bipartisan caucus aimed at passing energy-efficiency legislation.
“Congressman Gardner’s keynote was a great way to start the day. It gave our members a fantastic overview of the current political landscape that they needed before meeting with their elected officials,” said John Ferraro, RCMA executive director.
Twenty RCMA members spent the remainder of the day on Capitol Hill visiting with members of Congress from their states and districts, meeting with 70 different congressional offices in total. They discussed three main issues of interest to the roof coatings industry: clarifying IRS Tax Code IRC 25C to include the use of roof coatings, extending or making permanent the Commercial Building Tax Deduction (IRC Sec. 179D), and opposing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from further lowering the National Ozone Standard.
Language in the homeowner energy efficiency tax credit (IRC Sec. 25C) needs to be clarified so solar reflective roof coatings that meet EPA ENERGY STAR requirements qualify for the credit. The tax code is currently being interpreted by the IRS to exclude roof coatings; clarifying 25C will incentivize the installation of cool roofs which improve building energy efficiency and reduce the Urban Heat Island Effect. Similar environmental benefits are encouraged by the Commercial Building Tax Deduction (IRC Sec. 179D), which is set to expire on December 31, 2013. RCMA members requested that 179D be extended or made permanent to continue to provide a deduction for buildings that achieve 50% energy savings above ASHRAE 90.1-2001 and a prorated deduction for achieving 10% energy savings in three subsystems of the building. Solar reflective roof coatings can help reach these energy-efficiency targets in new buildings and retrofits, which will help commercial buildings reduce their carbon footprints and save on energy bills.
RCMA opposes the EPA’s proposal to lower the National Ozone Standard from the current 0.075 to 0.06ppm. Reductions to the standard in the past decade have resulted in hundreds of state and local regulations being implemented, which in turn have created a tremendous regulatory burden and forced industries to spend billions of dollars to reformulate their products to achieve new volatile organic compound (VOC) content limits. Lowering the National Ozone Standard once again will bring about new and more stringent regulations in an already heavily-regulated sector, ultimately resulting in the removal of products from shelves, increased costs to consumers, and threats to American companies and jobs.
“RCMA members were extremely pleased with their meetings on Capitol Hill. Many of the Senators, Representatives, and legislative staffers were very receptive to our issues. We plan to continue the dialogue with these congressional offices over the next few months,” said John Ferraro.