American Lighting Assoc . (ALA) President Dick Upton, eight ALA members and two staff members traveled to Washington, D.C., March 19-22, 2013, to work on four industry issues: internet retailer sales tax, S corporation protection, Energy Star third-party testing/certification and additional energy-efficiency requirements for ceiling fans.
The group had 15 appointments with members of Congress, both senators and representatives and/or their legislative directors, and key sessions with the Environmental Protection Agency  (EPA) and Department of Energy  (DOE) during its mission.
“The trip was very beneficial overall,” says Clark Linstone, ALA’s Political Action Committee Chair. “It was important for us to bring our concerns to their attention. We got a positive reaction because what we were presenting made sense for consumers, energy-efficiency and more.”
Internet Sales Tax
ALA’s position is that levying this tax is only fair. Local mom and pop/brick and mortar stores and their employees deserve a “level playing field”; the tax is needed by state and local governments; and it will protect local communities’ employment and property tax base. ALA urged officials to vote for legislation that would require internet sales companies to charge, collect and remit sales tax.
S Corporation Protection
ALA is concerned with how the new tax rates are negatively impacting its members’ small businesses, many of which are structured as S corporations. It is also concerned that any new tax restructuring could favor multinational corporate tax rates at the expense of these small S corporations, so it asked officials to help protect S corporations from unfair, too high tax rates.
Energy Star® Third-Party Testing
ALA is frustrated by the EPA’s expensive third-party testing and certification requirements for Energy Star-qualified products. The cost has resulted in a large number of lighting manufacturers discounting or significantly reducing the number of Energy Star products they produce, so it asked the EPA to work with the industry to find an alternative to the present third-party testing method.
Additional Energy-Efficiency Requirements for Ceiling Fans
On March 11, 2013, the Department of Energy (DOE) released a 100-plus page Framework Document to evaluate potential additional energy-savings requirements on ceiling fans. ALA is working with the DOE to determine if there are reasonable and appropriate requirements that may enhance energy savings.