In August, 2009, four major flooring associations - the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), National Wood Flooring Association, Resilient Floor Covering Institute and World Floor Covering Association - lauded the introduction of the Home Improvements Revitalize the Economy (HIRE) Act of 2009, H.R. 3382, a bill that would create a tax deduction of up to $4,000 for consumers who purchase qualified building products and home furnishings.
"This legislation is seeking to save or create 350,000 jobs, cut retail taxes and boost home values," said Rep. Johnson. Congressman Deal added, "The HIRE Act will offer incentives for consumers who would otherwise forgo spending in 2009 and 2010, allowing them to improve their home. And, in turn, jump start the home furnishings and building products market."
The HIRE Act, which applies to households with incomes up to $300,000, provides a tax deduction of $2,000 per family and tax credits of $500 for the purchase of qualified home furnishings and building products such as carpet and resilient and wood flooring. These credits are doubled for products meeting certain environmental certifications. Retailers would be eligible for related tax credits of up to $10,000 under provisions of the bill.
"The members of the Resilient Floor Covering Institute are very encouraged by the introduction of the HIRE Act. If successfully enacted, it will provide a much needed boost to our beleaguered industry which has been virtually ignored by the extraordinary stimulus initiatives already in place," said Thomas S. Davis, President and CEO, Mannington Mills, Inc. and Chairman of the Board of the Resilient Floor Covering Institute.
CRI has also established a "code of conduct" requiring certified providers to uphold a high standard of accountability, responsibility and customer-oriented service. It also has provisions for carpet manufacturers and equipment and sundries manufacturers, including honoring warranties and providing product usage and cleaning and maintenance information for consumers.
"We urge all stakeholders in the interior furnishings industry to contact their Congressmen and Senators asking for their support of this Act. We are a large and important industry to the U.S. economy. It's important that we fight for our fair share."
Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun applauded Congressmen Deal and Johnson for taking a bi-partisan approach to addressing the downturn in the floor covering industry. "Many households lost wealth in this economic recession and are hesitant to make household purchases. Giving consumers an incentive to invest in their home is a down payment on the future and will create much-needed demand that will spark manufacturing and sales."
Ed Korczak, Executive Director/CEO of the National Wood Flooring Association, concurs. "Wood flooring, like many other products, is tied directly to the housing and construction industries, which have been down now for quite some time. We all know that as a result, consumers are being much more conservative in their spending right now. This Act is one small way that we can encourage consumers to spend on purchases that will improve their personal investment in their homes, while also helping to improve the state of our industry."
"Consumer spending constitutes 70 percent of the U.S. gross national product and we need to do all we can to stimulate purchasing in our category," said D. Christopher Davis, President and CEO of the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA). "The WFCA has undertaken an ambitious grass roots effort to encourage not only our retailers, but everyone they know to write their congressional representatives and urge them to support the HIRE Act legislation. Representatives really do listen to their constituents.
"To make it easy, all anyone needs to do is go to www.wfca-pro.org and click on ‘Legislative Action Center.' From that point, just enter your ZIP code and the system will let you know the name of your representative in the House. Type that into the prewritten letter of support for the HIRE Act, type in your name and either email it, or print it and mail or fax it. The support letter may be edited or personalized, if you so desire. No matter what method you use, your member of Congress needs to hear from you now!" Davis concluded.
The four flooring industry associations are members of the American Home Furnishings and Building Products Coalition, which is actively supporting the HIRE Act.
The mission of the Resilient Floor Covering Institute is to enhance the long-term growth and well-being of the North American resilient floor covering industry through sustainability, promotion, education, advocacy and membership development.
The National Wood Flooring Association is a non-profit trade organization, with more than 3,600 members world-wide, dedicated to educating consumers, architects, designers, specifiers and builders in the uses and benefits of wood flooring. NWFA members receive the best in educational training, benefits, technical resources and networking, to advance their professionalism and success. The NWFA is located at 111 Chesterfield Industrial Boulevard, Chesterfield, MO 63005, and can be contacted at 800-422-4556.
The World Floor Covering Association (WFCA), official sponsor of Surfaces - the foremost flooring showcase in the world - is the floor covering industry's largest advocacy organization representing floor covering retailers, contractors and allied service providers throughout North America. The association is a recognized leader in marketing research and industry certification programs and operates the premier consumer flooring website, wfca.org, providing unbiased information about every type of floor covering and connecting customers to member retail stores. The WFCA also influences public policy affecting the floor covering industry and consumers.