Florida Lawmaker Hears of Labor Shortages

Filed in Capitol Hill, Labor, Safety and Health by on March 10, 2016 1 Comment
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Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), left, and Florida builders.

As part of Bringing Housing Home™, members of the Gold Coast Builders Association held a productive meeting with Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) this week.

“We talked mostly about workforce housing and a lack of workers,” said Kathy Macaluso, EO for the Gold Coast BA. “We have a tremendous labor shortage. Florida is such a transient state. When there is no work, people move and they don’t always come back. That’s what seemed to happen when the recession hit.”

Macaluso reported that Deutch supports immigration reform and is receptive to ideas that address housing’s labor shortages. In addition, the Florida lawmaker discussed strategies with builders regarding the appropriations process to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from implementing a final rule that expands Clean Water Act jurisdiction. The rule adds confusion and increases the cost and time needed to obtain a federal wetlands permit prior to home construction.

On the health care front, Florida builders also made Deutch aware of the problems that many small businesses are having since the IRS decreed in 2013 that Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) are no longer allowed under the Affordable Care Act. Many small home building firms have traditionally used HRAs to help their workers and families to pay for premiums and/or other medical expenses. Deutch told builders he would look into this issue.

NAHB is championing the Small Business Healthcare Relief Act, legislation pending in the House and Senate that would restore the ability of small business to use HRAs and protect employers from being financially penalized for providing this cost-sharing option to employees.

“This was a great experience to be able to meet with our congressman and speak with him in person instead of sending emails,” said Macaluso.

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  1. Labor shortages are spreading, I think. I know here, labor shortages are so bad that products often go to standstill because different companies will try and tempt workers over, and they’re being shipped in from all over, even as far as Texas!

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