OFA Bulletin March/April 2010 : Page 3

March/April 2010 • Numb e r 9 2 0 Forum worker flows, and legalization. In a bit of very good news for greenhouse and nursery growers, the provisions of the AgJOBS legislation are expected to be part of their bill. AgJOBS overhauls the existing H-2A agricultural worker program and would allow experienced and otherwise law-abiding workers whose immigration status is problematic to earn legal status by meeting strict conditions over a period of years. Like it or not, a large percentage of the nursery and greenhouse workforce lacks proper immigration status. Several industry operations have been devastated in recent months by immigration audits and raids. Audits are now occurring at a record pace. The pragmatic AgJOBS approach is critical to near- term stability and long-term growth in every part of agriculture and horticulture that needs significant labor, ranging from dairy operators to nursery and greenhouse growers. If immigration reform is to have a chance, it will have to move in the Senate first. And sooner rather than later. Many feel that the window for action may not extend past March or April, with the fall elections looming. And what if Congress does avoid the issue, again kicking the legislative can down the road? First, expect the ongoing immigration audits to continue. Secondly, expect new and increasingly employer-hostile changes to H-2A and H-2B, the only legal labor safety nets now available to the green industry. Thirdly, expect it to get harder, not easier, to revisit the issue soon. Democrats are almost certain to lose seats in the Senate and House in November, and smaller margins will lead to smaller support for tackling immigration reform in 2011. There’s no time like the present. If you want to follow the issue, visit www.ANLA.org or www.saveUSfarms.org. Of Death and Taxes One other challenge looming for Congress relates to…well, death and taxes. For one thing, what to do about the roughly 110 tax credits and other provisions that have expired or will do so within the year. And then there is the death tax. Technically, it is fully phased out in 2010, but springs back full force in 2011. ANLA was part of a coalition effort that sought to persuade Congress to act this past December to permanently freeze the tax with a $3.5 million exemption ($7 million for a couple) and a top rate of 45 percent. While the House was amenable, the Senate didn’t get there, and the window of opportunity passed. Tax issues will get increasingly volatile as existing credits and breaks expire, and the search for new revenues intensifies. In the meantime, here’s hoping that the cautious optimism for a better spring bears out on the business front. Craig Regelbrugge American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) 1000 Vermont Ave NW, 3rd Floor Washington, DC 20005 202-741-4851 cregelbrugge@anla.org Make Plans to Attend the 2010 OFA Short Course July 10 - 13 Columbus Convention Center Columbus, Ohio www.ofa.org January SUN MON TUES WED THURS FRI SAT 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 May SUN MON TUES WED THURS FRI SAT 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 September 1 2 3 4 February 1 2 3 4 5 6 SUN MON TUES WED THURS FRI SAT 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 June SUN MON TUES WED THURS FRI SAT 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 October SUN MON TUES WED THURS FRI SAT 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 SUN MON TUES WED THURS FRI SAT 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 March 1 2 3 4 5 6 April SUN MON TUES WED THURS FRI SAT 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 July July SUN MON 4 5 11 12 18 19 25 26 1 2 3 4 SUN MON TUES WED THURS FRI SAT 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 30 SUN MON TUES WED THURS FRI SAT 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Nove 1 2 3 4 5 6 SUN MON TUES WED THURS FRI SAT 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 FRI SAT 6 7 13 14 20 21 27 28 SUN MON TUES WED THURS FRI SAT 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 O F A B u l l e t i n 3 2010

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