Health Care, Labor Concerns Take Center Stage in Michigan

Filed in Advocacy by on March 8, 2016 0 Comments

Michigan builders met with Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) on March 7 as part of Bringing Housing Home™ to discuss workforce challenges, health care and housing finance, among other issues.

“This was a great opportunity to talk with the senator about issues confronting our members,” said Bob Filka, CEO of the Home Builders Association of Michigan. “We’ve had a good relationship with Sen. Peters dating back to when he served in the House. He is very accessible and has reached out to us on numerous occasions when housing issues came up.”

Builders expressed concerns that single-family building permits are down in the county of Ann Arbor. “Demand is high to live there, yet they had a 20% reduction in starts due in large part to a lack of lots and labor,” said Filka.

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Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), front row, second from left, with Michigan builders.

Peters also heard from a builder who is no longer able to offer Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) due to an IRS edict. The senator was asked to cosponsor the Small Business Healthcare Relief Act (S. 1697), legislation that would enable small businesses to continue to use HRAs, which allow employers to provide pre-tax dollars to employees to pay for medical care and services.

“These meetings are vitally important and give members who are unable to travel to Washington an opportunity to meet with their lawmakers,” said Filka. “They also strengthen communications lines so that when our issues are at the forefront, our lawmakers know who we are.”

NAHB has been spearheading the effort to enact HRA legislation. Along with a coalition of more than 160 business groups, NAHB recently sent a letter to House and Senate leaders commending them for championing bipartisan legislation that would reinstate the use of HRAs and calling on Congress to act promptly to pass this measure.

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