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LBM Dealers Double Down on Credit Card Costs in Hill Visits

American Building Materials Alliance members get briefed on issues April 29 before visiting Capitol Hill on April 30. (ABMA photo)

Several dozen construction supply officials urged members of Congress on April 30 to work toward lowering credit card processing fees, revive tax provisions that were set to sunset, and reconfirm measures to promote workforce training and development.

The Capitol Hill visit by members of the American Building Materials Alliance (ABMA) provided an opportunity to re-emphasize key dealer issues, as the ABMA's visit occurred several weeks after members of the National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) also devoted their Legislative Day to credit cards, taxes, and the labor force.

“The success of the ABMA has been our grassroots, boots-on-the-ground action,” said ABMA Chair Joe Cecarelli, of HOOD Distribution. “It goes on every day, and the biggest message we can give to our legislators is that this LBM industry is far greater than what they think we are. … We are the fabric of this great country.”

Notable highlights from the visit, ABMA said in a news release included the Maine

delegation's meeting directly with Sen. Susan Collins to champion the renewal of critical tax

incentives and the New York delegation's private tour of the Capitol with Rep. Elise

Stefanik, House Republican Conference Chair. "The Vermont delegation's constructive dialogue with Sen. Bernie Sanders' team yielded commitments to enhance key aspects of ABMA's workforce development agenda," the news release said.

Dealers care about credit-card processing fees because that charge has become one of their biggest non-personnel operating costs. A Webb Analytics survey found the average dealer was spending 1.3% of their revenue on the processing fees.

Legislation in both the House and Senate would prohibit the two major card processors, VISA and MasterCard, from limiting the number of networks that businesses can use to handle transactions, better known as “swipe fees.” The hope is that increasing the number of networks will lead to lower processing fees. 

The tax relief initiative extends several provisions enacted in the Trump era that, as part of the original legislation, is being phased out. Among them are extensions of 100% bonus depreciation (i.e. full expensing) through 2025, as well as restoration of a tax credit for research, disaster-related tax relief, and development as well as for purchases of computers and such under Section 179 of the tax act. 

Legislation to do all this overwhelmingly passed the House on Jan. 31 as part of a package that extends child tax credits. The measure is now in the Senate, where some Republicans have questions about the child tax credit side of the bill and aren't eager to give President Biden a legislative victory.

House Resolution 6655, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Reauthorization Act, cleared the House on April 9 by an even bigger majority than the tax bill. The measure makes permanent two waivers the alleviate regulatory hurtles for commercial drivers’ license. It helps promote truck driver training, and creates a training program for drivers under 21.

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