September 2015
September GMM followed by Continuing Edu.
 
September 22 
Holiday Inn 
2261 N. Causeway

GMM INFO 
11am - New Member Orientation 
11:30 - Networking 
12-1pm - Presentation 

Education Info
1:30pm - 4pm - (2.5 CE) Class 
HBA Members (GMM Only) - $25 
Non-Member (GMM Only) - $30

Members (GMM & EDU) - $60 
Non-Members (GMM & EDU) - $95

Members (Education Only) - $50 
Non-Members (Education Only) - $75 

At the September general membership meeting, Don Druse with Safety Plus will give a brief overview on the new Confined Space issue facing residential construction. 

This month's General Membership Meeting will be followed by an in-depth 2 1/2 hour class explaining the many components required to be Confined Space Compliant.
 
At the completion of this class,  you will have fulfilled the first and very important  step in protecting your company from what can be substantial OSHA citations.
 
Don has been a member of HBA's for over 40 years and is a Life National Directors, with 50+ years working with residential construction.
His experience in Safety and dealing with OSHA is 25 years.


 
Jefferson Parish, Department of Inspection & Code
The Parish of Jefferson, Department of Inspection and Code Enforcement, is offering two community outreach meetings to introduce and provide instruction on utilizing its
MyPermitNow software service.  All citizens, tradesmen and contractors who apply for permits, licenses, or trades filings from the Department of Inspection and Code Enforcement are encouraged to attend.  The first will be held on September 17, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. in the Eastbank Council chambers, 2nd Floor, Joseph S. Yenni Building, 1221 Elmwood Park Blvd. in Jefferson.  The second will be held on September 30, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. at the Westbank Regional Library at 2751 Manhattan Blvd. in Harvey.  Representatives of the Department as well as from South Central Planning and Development Commission will be on hand to demonstrate what the system has to offer, and to provide instruction and guidance for immediate use.
 
During the meeting we will cover the aspects of:
  •        Applying Online for permits
  •        Paying Online
  •        Requesting Inspections Online
  •        Contacting the technical support team at MyGovernmentOnline
 
Improving Immigration
Elliot Eisenberg
Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is President of
GraphsandLaughs, LLC and can be reached at

[email protected].
His daily 70 word economics and policy blog can be seen at
www.econ70.com. 
 

  
 Improving Immigration
Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D.,
GraphsandLaughs, LLC
September 1, 2015
 
The current US immigration system not only doesn't work but is not being fixed. That said, given that the race to the White House is on, immigration is sure to play a starring role in the unfolding presidential drama. Rather than rehash stale ideas, anchor babies, border patrols, and the like, below are several proposals that use market forces and not bureaucrats to solve several different immigration problems each with a different type of solution that not only improves our competiveness but also our balance sheet.     
 
At present the majority of legal immigrants who arrive do so on the basis of family reunification. Fewer than 20% of immigrants obtain green cards based on marketable skills. Instead, allocate immigration visas based primarily on occupational needs. Observe which occupations and industries are experiencing a combination of fast wage growth, lowest unemployment rates and high vacancy rates and allocate entry visas accordingly while keeping existing caps. In this way visas will go to those who skills are in shortest supply.
 
As for temporary H-2B non-agricultural worker visas and H-1B (high tech) visas, eliminate the quotas on them as is the case with H-2A agricultural visas. If American businesses need temporary workers, they should get them after showing that there are insufficient workers currently available. Depriving firms of workers benefits no one. As for concerns that these new workers will depress wages of existing workers, that concern is not born out by research. Moreover, by allocating visas based on employment shortages, unanticipated downward wage pressure should be reduced.
    
Next, create a new visa, a U-Visa, for those who are here but undocumented. The visa would allow the holder and their family to stay and work here. The catch, the visa would not lead to citizenship and would have an annual fee. I suspect that a fair price would be about $500 to $700/year. Assuming a few million were bought, this program would bring in $1 to $2 billion annually. Charging for the visa discourages those without jobs from staying. Moreover, this approach would be bundled with severe penalties for employers caught knowingly employing illegals. Absent a job, illegals will find it difficult to remain here.
 
Lastly, abolish the EB-5 program that allows foreigners to invest their way into the US. A present, depending upon the location of the investment, between $500,000 and $1 million must be invested and shown to create or maintain 10 jobs. After seven years, the investor may then apply to become a naturalized US citizen. This process is convoluted, requires bureaucracy and infrastructure, lends itself to substantial fraud and because the number of visas is capped at 10,000, the wait time is several years. Instead, simply sell citizenship via an auction, similar to the way Treasury securities are sold. The households that apply are necessarily wealthy and charging for a passport would allow us to allocate this scare resource to those who want it most. Given that Malta charges roughly $700,000 for a passport and St. Kitts and Nevis a $250,000, I bet the Treasury could net close to a million per applicant with the current quota intact and raise close to $10 billion/year.  
 
While you may or may not agree with these suggestions, the point is markets and market signals can solve difficult problems in somewhat different ways if only given a chance. It's not as if the bureaucrats are doing a gangbuster job.            
From last month... 
Legislative Update
International Code Council

 

The NAHB has requested for our state and local associations to urge code enforcement officials to register them as Governmental Member Voting Representatives (GMVR) to the International Code Council's Remote Voting Program, see this link for more information. This program allows local officials and builders to have a voice in developing future codes. Because the registration process for the eligible voters beings in August, some of the HBA board members and staff have launched a campaign to meet with all code officials and representatives in the HBAGNO region. Their mission is to educate the code officials of the importance of remote voting, assisting them in the registration process, and also to disseminate the information on the NAHB's suggested stance on codes that will be voted on. To view the NAHB's talking points, please follow this link.

The HBAGNO has 12 voter districts that need to be covered in order to meet with all corresponding code enforcement officials. If you are interested in volunteering to attend these meetings, please contact Rita Bautista (Government Relations Representative) via email at [email protected], for more information.

Rate Rise in September?
Elliot Eisenberg
Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is President of GraphsandLaughs, LLC and can be reached at [email protected]. His daily 70 word economics and policy blog can be seen at www.econ70.com. 
 

  

Rate Rise in September? 
Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D.,  
GraphsandLaughs, LLC 
August 1, 2015

The Federal Reserve dropped the federal funds rate to zero in late 2008.  Never in their wildest imagination did they think that seven years later the rate would still be zero.  Of late, reasons the rate remains low include a rapid slowdown in Chinese growth, a tumbling Chinese stock market, the ongoing Greek crisis, and closer to home, very weak inflation and slow growth.  Despite these problems, the Fed will raise rates soon, quite possibly in mid-September.   

While China's GDP is now growing at a sub-7% rate for the first time in decades, outside of a small reduction in American exports to China and slightly weaker raw material prices, the impact of the slowing will be little felt by us.  As for the stock market swoon, it's important to note that equities play a minor role in the Chinese economy.  Fewer than 15% of Chinese household financial assets are in the stock market, and the value of all tradeable shares is about 30% of GDP, compared to 125% here.  As a result, just as the run up in prices had little impact on the real Chinese economy, the bust will be no different.  Also, the recent stock market sell-off, just like the previous one, is not a harbinger of economic decline.  

Looking to Europe, while Greece is likely to roil the EU for years, it is no larger economically than Oregon.  Moreover, because 83% of Greek debt is held by other European nations, the IMF and the ECB, only 17% is held by private banks.  Thus, even a complete Greek bankruptcy would do little damage to the rest of Europe.  This was evidenced during the run up to the snap referendum Prime Minister Tsipras recently called to improve his bargaining position.  It backfired as there was virtually no increase in volatility in European stock, bond and foreign exchange markets.  In terms of impact to the US, a slightly weaker euro will hurt exports marginally but there will be few, if any, other consequences.               

As for our economy, the unemployment rate is fast approaching 5% or full employment, and the labor market has hit its stride.  Last year, monthly employment growth averaged 260,000, the best since 1999, and so far this year it is averaging a respectable 208,000.  In 2013 it was 199,000 and in 2012 it was 188,000.  As you can see, monthly employment growth peaked in 2014, suggesting that there will be no more additional mass movement from the ranks of the unemployed to the working.  As for GDP growth, it was 2.4% last year, 2.3% in 2013, and has averaged 2.2% since the end of the recession.  Here too, there appears no indication that rapid GDP growth is right around the corner.  Finally, inflation, while very low, is finally starting to creep up and wage growth may see some increases in the near future.    

With foreign economic turbulence unlikely to impact the US, domestic GDP and employment growth not expected to meaningfully improve, and inflation and wages hopefully on the rise, there is no longer any reason for the Fed to wait before raising rates.  Moreover, by raising rates this September, the Fed will be able to wait several quarters before tightening again.  By contrast, if they wait to raise rates, they may be forced to increase rates rapidly, and that could be disruptive.  

 
Advanced Building Practices Council Open Meeting
This month's Advanced Building Practices Council meeting is open to all HBA members.  Join us for lunch and learn about the newest advances in renewable energy and how incorporating these technologies into your jobs can improve profits.

August 20th 
Noon @ the HBA office 
Speaker:  Tucker Crawford, South Coast Solar 
Member Rebate Program
The Member Rebate Program is a free member benefit of your State & Local Home Builders Association.

There are over 40 of the country's leading manufacturer brands participating in the Member Rebate Program.

Visit Member Benefits for more information, or CLICK HERE to view an online brochure with helpful information about the program.
NAHB Online Courses Logo
2015 Senior Officers of the Board

President, Roy Olsen
Vice President, Floyd Simeon
Treasurer, Mike LeCorgne
Secretary, Frank Morse
Immediate Past President, Brian Mills

2015 Board of Directors

Steve Albert
John Arms
Fernando Arriola
Lori Barker
Nick Castjohn
Ric Darling
Nicole Dupre
Charlie Fontenelle
Eddie Gandolfi
Phil Hoffman
Kevin Katner
Jo Ann Kostik
Michael Kraft
Peter Lanaux
Ben Laws
Bruce Layburn
Harold LeBlanc
Scott Morse
Helmut Mundt
Randy Noel
Lynda Nugent Smith
Rolf Parelius
Zach Tyson
Kirk Williamson
Steve Wobbema
Wes Wyman
Peter Young

Also Supported By: 

2-10

 

August Calendar of Events
All Events held at HBA office unless otherwise noted 
 
9) Education Committee Meeting.  2:30pm @ the HBA.

9) NOEL Board Meeting
3pm @ the HBA
 

15) HBA Board of Directors @ 4pm

20) Advanced Building Practices Council Meeting

22) General Membership Meeting

27-29) NAHB Fall Board, Dallas, TX 
Featured Events
JOB POSTINGS

Members: List your job opening here at no charge!
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* Under Compliance, click on Employers' Workers' Compensation Coverage Verification
HBA Staff Contacts

Jon Luther, Executive Vice President
Philip Thomas, Education Director & NOEL Program Director  [email protected]
Lauren Galliano, Director of Membership & Industry Relations   [email protected]g
Rita Bautista, Governmental Affairs Representative    [email protected]
Shane Gray, Accountant  [email protected]


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