OFA Bulletin Nov/Dec 2010 : Page 2

OFA Mission Statement To support and advance professional horticulture. OFA: The Association of Horticulture Professionals 2130 Stella Court Columbus, Ohio 43215-1033 USA 614-487-1117 Fax: 614-487-1216 ofa@ofa.org www.ofa.org Forum Update from Washington by Craig J. Regelbrugge OFA Bulletin November/December 2010 NUMBER 924 T Editorial Staff Editor Stephen A. Carver, Ph.D. Laura Kunkle he 111th Congress, as I write, is slogging through the remaining weeks of its last pre-election work period. Though the watchword is “gridlock,” let’s take a look at the status of four industry issues, then end with a brief look toward the all-important mid-term elections. Contributors Health Care 1099 Reporting The issue of expanded 1099 reporting is a major concern for the industry. ANLA, OFA, and green industry partners recently sent a letter to Congress urging action to repeal the 1099 mandate. What is it? Under the new health care law, starting in 2012, businesses will be required to file information returns with respect to any person (including corporations) that receives $600 or more from the business in exchange for property and merchandise. Also, businesses will be required to file information returns with respect to corporations that receive $600 or more in exchange for services. Complying with this requirement will be very burdensome and costly, especially to small businesses. Prior to adjourning for the August recess, both the House and Senate took up measures that would have repealed this new requirement. The first major bill considered by the Senate when it returned in September was the small business lending bill. Two “1099 mandate” amendments were considered. The green industry’s preferred approach was an amendment by Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) that would have repealed the Form 1099 requirement. A less desirable approach by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) would have exempted payments made by credit card or debit card, increased the payment threshold from $600 to $5,000 annually for payments made for goods, and exempted small businesses with 25 or fewer employees from having to issue a Form 1099 for payments made for property, regardless of the payment amounts. Robert F. Brzuszek Jonathan M. Frantz Lynn P. Griffith Jr Richard L. Harkess Joyce Latimer James C. Locke Neil Mattson Kyle Miller Marvin N. Miller Lorence R. Oki Sid Raisch Craig J. Regelbrugge Erik Runkle Dr. Rhonda Savage Brian Whipker Sarah A. White Cathy Whitman The bad news is that both amendments failed, in part over disagreements regarding budget offsets to pay for the repeal. The good news is that there is growing recognition that the expanded 1099 reporting is very problematic for small businesses. Momentum is building toward repealing or scaling back the measure. If a less controversial means of paying for repeal can be developed, it may well happen before the November elections. Immigration Reform Comprehensive immigration reform has fallen victim to the horrendously divisive political environment. Even worse, the expected environment in the next Congress will make a major reform bill very unlikely before the next presidential election in 2012. If a moment of political maturity sets in, there is the possibility for a small immigration package to move this year, probably in a post-election lame-duck session. A small package would logically include the AgJOBS reforms, which continue to enjoy bipartisan support. AgJOBS overhauls the broken H-2A program used by some farms, nurseries, and greenhouses. It also creates a way for experienced and otherwise law-abiding workers without work authorization to earn legal status by meeting tough conditions. AgJOBS has never been more urgent, especially with the H-2A program in shambles and immigration and wage & hour enforcement happening at a record pace. Visit www.capwiz.com/anla to view an alert and send your Senators and Representatives a message urging their support! Published Bimonthly Copyright © OFA 2010. Permission is hereby given to reprint articles appearing in this OFA Bulletin provided the following reference statement appears with the reprinted article: “Reprinted from the OFA Bulletin, (phone: 614-487-1117) November/December 2010, Number 924.” No endorsement is intended for products mentioned in this OFA Bulletin, nor is criticism meant for products not mentioned. The authors and OFA assume no liability resulting from the use of practices printed in this OFA Bulletin. Small Business Lending Bill The week of September 13, the Senate passed a small business lending bill (minus the Form 1099 repeal mentioned above). The bill, which is expected to become law, contains a variety of provisions that will be OFA Bulletin 2

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