Vermont Retail Lumber Dealers Association Announces 2018 Legislative Priorities

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VRLDA’s priorities include, exempting materialmen from retainage, and reducing regulatory burdens and mandates.

The Vermont Retail Lumber Dealers Association (VRLDA) announced its 2018 legislative priorities during its annual Lobby Day at the Capitol Plaza, on Wednesday, April 4. VRLDA’s priorities include, exempting materialmen from retainage, and reducing regulatory burdens and mandates.

Exempting Materialmen from Retainage
“Our members provide materials to private and publicly funded building projects, including roads, bridges, hospitals, and other projects,” said Josh Druke, chair of VRLDA’s legislative committee. “Retainage is being used in a greater number of construction projects, placing more of a burden on independently-owned and operated building material dealers.”

Retainage represents a pre-approved amount of a contract that is withheld until the work is substantially complete in order to ensure that the contractor or subcontractor will satisfy its obligations to the project.

Druke explained “When lumber and building material dealers deliver a product, this represents the completion of our contract and as materialmen, we should be exempt from retainage.”

Reducing Regulatory Burdens
Small businesses face numerous challenges that they must deal with every day. The constant imposition of new regulations is forcing these businesses to spend more time and money on compliance instead of being able to grow their businesses, hire more employees, and provide more for the local and state economy.

Jeff Keller, Director Legislative Affairs at the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association explains, “Many of the new regulations have layers of reporting and compliance included in them, even though it often covers a benefit that these businesses already provide to recruit quality workers. While the benefit hasn’t changed, the amount of time and cost required to comply with that offering still increases. These factors need to be considered before the legislature enacts more laws that include extensive regulatory compliance.”

The Impact of Mandates
Small businesses play a vital role in the success of Vermont; therefore, VRLDA asks that legislators consider the impacts that repealing the small business exemption and expanding paid leave as well as an across the board increase to minimum wage would have on these small businesses.

“While most VRLDA members already pay their employees well above the minimum wage, a dramatic increase such as this would drive up costs across the board and discourage the hiring and training of new employees,” said Keller. “Any increase in the minimum wage should take into consideration the need for provisions for seasonal or temporary employees as well as include provisions for a youth and training wage to allow small businesses to hire new employees and train them without shouldering such a financial burden.”

Roughly 90% of Vermont employers have 20 or fewer employees and those employers are responsible for over 30% of private sector jobs and wages.

The Vermont Retail Lumber Dealers Association (VRLDA) has 46 member locations and represents independent lumber and building material dealers, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and other associated businesses in the state of Vermont. The lumber and building material industry creates over 7,000 jobs in Vermont, directly employs over 1,300 Vermont residents, and collects over $12,000,000 in sales tax revenue for the State.

For more information contact Jeff Keller, Director of Legislative & Regulatory Affairs, at jkeller@nrla.org or 518-880-6376.

About VRLDA
Founded in 1931, VRLDA is one of fourteen state and local associations across the Northeast associated with the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association (NRLA). The NRLA was established in New York in 1894 by a small group of pioneering lumbermen who recognized the value of cooperation. Today, the NRLA is an 1,100-member association representing independent lumber and building material suppliers and associated businesses in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, D.C.

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Rob Totaro
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