Advocacy Update

Written by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations

Trump Tax Plan Offers No Carried Interest Specifics

President Trump’s tax reform plan has garnered a great deal of interest since its release, especially for its individual reform proposals and 15 percent business tax rate. However, of particular interest to the real estate industry is the President’s position on carried interest. Over the past several years, debate has raged in Congress about the treatment of carried interest in the tax code, with many demonizing it as a loophole. Currently taxed as a capital gain, critics have argued that it should be taxed at the much higher ordinary income rate. The rationale used by advocates of change has been that the current treatment of carried interest unfairly benefits Wall Street hedge fund managers. As we know however, a change in this tax would directly impact real estate developers, with the effect of dampening investment in residential and commercial projects.

The one page tax reform document issued by President Trump – entitled the “2017 Tax Reform for Economic Growth and American Jobs” – does not specifically mention carried interest. There is, however, a nebulous bullet point in the business reform section that states “Eliminate tax breaks for special interests.” As a presidential candidate, Trump’s economic plan proposed taxing carried interest at the ordinary income rate. Interestingly, the tax plan proposed by the House Republicans last June also did not specifically address carried interest. Stay tuned …

Federal Civil Rights Act/Fair Housing Act Amendment Proposed

Legislation has been introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes currently identified in the Civil Rights Act and Fair Housing Act. The legislation, called the Equality Act of 2017, would explicitly ban discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in housing, employment, credit, public education, and other areas covered by anti-discrimination laws.

 

Posted in 2017, JUNE 2017 | Leave a comment

Pool Chemical Use — Time For Refresher Training

WRITTEN BY GARY SMITH, APARTMENT BUILDING MANAGEMENT WORKERS COMPENSATION SELF INSURED FUND

For almost 100 years, pool chemicals have provided the primary barrier to the transmission of infectious pathogens in treated recreational water venues. Chemicals are added to pool water to kill disease-causing germs, maximize the efficacy of the disinfection process (for example, pH control), improve water quality, stop corrosion and scaling of equipment, and protect against algal growth.

However, improper handling and storage practices and poor pool operation can cause injuries, despite their preventable nature.1 In 2012 alone, nearly 5,000 persons visited an emergency department for injuries associated with pool chemicals.

To prevent these injuries in your workplace, it is important to provide both initial training for new employees and refresher training for existing employees. One of the best, and freely available, training videos is the Pool Chemical Safety2 video (view on YouTube) produced by The Chlorine Institute and the American Chemistry Council, which outlines the safe use of pool chemicals.

In addition to this video, be sure to provide these guidelines to your employees for the safe use and storage of pool chemicals:

Before You Begin

  • Get trained in pool chemical safety.
  • Ask for help if you are NOT trained for specific tasks.
  • Read the entire product label or Safety Data Sheet (SDS) before using.
  • Develop an Emergency Chemical Response Plan for your pool, educate employees and practice it.

Safe Use

  • Wear appropriate safety equipment such as safety goggles, chemical-resistant gloves and mask.
  • Read chemical product label before each use:
  • Handle chemicals in well-ventilated areas.
  • Open one product container at a time and close it before opening another.
  • Minimize dust, fumes and splashes.
  • Measure carefully.
  • Never mix:
    – Chlorine products with acid; this could create toxic gases.
    – Different pool chemicals (e.g., different types of chlorine products) with each other or with any other substance.
    – Only pre-dissolve pool chemicals when directed by the product label.
  • If the product label directs pre-dissolving, add pool chemical to water; NEVER add water to pool chemical because violent (potentially explosive) reaction can occur.

Safe Storage

  • Follow product label directions for chemical storage:
  • Again, wear appropriate safety equipment such as safety goggles, chemical-resistant gloves, and mask.
  • Separate incompatible chemicals (e.g., acid and chlorine).
  • Lock chemicals up to protect people and animals.
  • Keep chemicals dry and do not mix different chemicals (e.g., different types of chlorine products).
  • Keep chemicals cool in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.
  • Keep chemicals closed in original, labeled container.
  • Store liquid chemicals low to prevent accidental contact (e.g., by leaking) with chemicals or substances stored below them.
  • Secure the chemical storage area and pump room to limit access.
  • Provide locking mechanisms for the chemical controller to prevent unauthorized tampering.
  • Follow product label directions for safe disposal; never reuse containers.

For more information about preventing pool chemical-associated injuries and the guidelines presented above, and for free laminated posters3, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Preventing Pool Chemical-Associated Health Events resource page.

Should you require additional assistance with pool chemical safety in your workplace, please contact Gary Smith, CRM, at (517) 338-3367 or gary.smith@yorkrsg.com.

Resources:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Pool Chemical–Associated Health Events in Public and Residential Settings — United States, 2003–2012, and Minnesota, 2013. Published May 16, 2014.
  2. Chlorine Institute, www.chlorineinstitute.org, Pool Chemical Safety training video.
  3. Pool Chemical Safety: Use & Storage Posters at https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/materials/posters.html

 

Posted in 2017, JUNE 2017 | Tagged | Leave a comment

Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President
and Industry Relations

Rent Control Preemption Under Attack

Legislation has been proposed which would completely repeal the law prohibiting local governments in Michigan from enacting rent control ordinances. HB 4456 was introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives on March 30. This latest effort comes on the heels of a number of bills proposed in recent years to chip away at this act by allowing exceptions for rent control in specific situations or providing for inclusionary zoning. The preemption of local rent control is one of the most significant legislative accomplishments in AAM’s history. Perhaps needless to say, but I will say it anyway … AAM opposes HB 4456!

Bill Allowing Manager Representation Introduced

A bill introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives would allow managers to represent LLCs in summary proceedings under certain conditions. HB 4463 proposes that in a complaint requesting recovery of possession of the premises or both recovery of possession and a money judgement (in an amount less than the Small Claims Division limit), certain LLCs may be represented by a member, property manager, or other agent. The LLCs eligible under this proposal are limited to those with one individual member or two members who are individuals married to each other.

Last Chance! Don’t Forget Your Continuing Competency If You Have A Builders License

Some AAM Members hold a Michigan Residential Builder License even though they may not be currently building. If you are one of these individuals and you wish to maintain your license, please remember that the State of Michigan requires you to complete three hours of “continuing competency” by your renewal deadline of May 31, 2017. AAM and HBA’s last three hour class (covering each of the required categories – one hour codes, one hour legal and one hour safety) is set for May 31. Visit HBA’s website for online registration at www.builders.org.

 

Posted in 2017, May 2017 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Safe Use Of Hand And Power Tools

WRITTEN BY GARY SMITH, APARTMENT BUILDING MANAGEMENT WORKERS COMPENSATION SELF INSURED FUND

Workers operating hand and power tools face a wide range of potential hazards throughout the course of any given workday. Without proper training and maintenance, they are at risk of injuries resulting from lacerations, flying objects, harmful dusts, electrical accidents, and more.1

According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, hand and power tools combined cause an average of 257,735 injuries each year that require an emergency room visit.2

In order to protect Michigan workers, MIOSHA promulgated safety standards for hand and power tools, General Industry Part 38. Hand and Portable Powered Tools, in 1974 and established responsibilities for employers and employees in Rules 3811 and 3812, respectively:

Rule 3811 – An employer shall do both of the following:

Ensure that an employee has been trained in the use of hand tools and portable powered tools before authorizing their use.

Maintain, or require to be maintained, hand tools and portable powered tools free of defects that could cause injury to an employee.

Rule 3812 – An employee shall not use a tool for other than its designated or approved use.

Now, these rules seem like commonsense, but unfortunately, they are not common practice. So, here are some tips to make it easier:

Review – Print and read MIOSHA’s Part 38. Hand and Portable Powered Tools to become aware of the regulatory requirements for safe hand and powered tool use in your workplaces.

Training – Use the Power Tool Institute’s FREE training resources, which include high-quality publications (e.g., student activities and quizzes), training videos and lesson plans. Additionally, tool manufacturers’ supply operational manuals and videos that may be added to your training curriculum. Also, online resources abound for hand tool safety training, and they can be added to your curriculum. The important point to realize is that training materials are readily available and can be customized to suit your needs. Lastly, be certain to document all employee training.

Inspect – Use an inspection checklist to document that you are requiring hand and power tools to be free of defects. This inspection process is relevant for both employee-owned and company-owned tools. You can inspect at a frequency appropriate for your workplace (i.e., quarterly or annually seem best for hand and power tools). Similarly, many online resources for inspection checklists are available for use and customization. Select and use a checklist that is best suited for your types of hand and power tools.

If you follow these tips, then you can easily meet your training and inspection obligations, and prevent needless injuries from occurring in your workplace.

Should you require assistance with customizing your hand and power tool safety training, please contact Gary Smith, CRM, at (517) 338-3367 or gary.smith@yorkrsg.com.

Footnotes:

  1. Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance: www.worksafecenter.co
  2. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS): www.cpsc.gov/Research–Statistics/NEISS-Injury-Data

Resources:

  • MIOSHA Part 38. Hand and Portable Powered Tools (as amended April 2, 2013): http://www.michigan.gov/documents/lara/lara_miosha_GI_38_4-3-2013_416585_7.pdf
  • Power Tool Institute: www.powertoolinstitute.com
  • OSHA Hand and Power Tool Booklet (OSHA 3080; 2002 revised): https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3080.pdf
Posted in 2017, May 2017 | Comments Off on Safe Use Of Hand And Power Tools

Member News

AAM member Commercial Property Advisors has been selected by CoStar Group, Inc. to receive a CoStar Power Broker TM Award. This annual award recognizes the “best of the best” in commercial real estate brokerage by highlighting the firms and individual brokers who closed the highest transaction volumes in commercial property sales or leases in 2016 within their respective markets.

Formed in 2011, Commercial Property Advisors, led by Cary Belovicz has recently closed the sale or refinance of over 7,660 units totaling $240 million throughout the country. This adds to a total of over $600,000,000 in total deal volume across 5 states.

 

Posted in 2017, APRIL 2017 | Comments Off on Member News