Florida fighting for a statewide Check-Off Program
A state Perspective
Patrick J. McLaughlin, executive director of the Masonry Association of Florida Inc., is fighting the good fight in Florida as the champion behind the Masonry Products Research, Education, and Promotion Act.
Florida has seen success with state-level Check-Off Programs for industries like cattle and citrus. Many national Check-Off acts also are state acts in Florida, like beef, propane and soybeans. With Florida as the largest concrete masonry state in the country, the Masonry Association of Florida Board of Directors decided to develop a statewide Check-Off Program.
The act was filed in 2012 with Florida legislation, but was lost in a procedural fight in the House of Representatives. McLaughlin says the Masonry Products Research, Education, and Promotion Act already has been filed again, and he will be visiting legislators around the state to garner support.
“We are getting good support, though there is always one or two who might not be on board,” McLaughlin says. “Then, a light bulb goes off in Senator’s mind, when he asks why masonry has to go to the government to ask permission to raise funds. National antitrust laws bar producers from getting together and assessing themselves for common good of the industry, so special permission is needed to allow industry to do this.”
McLaughlin makes it clear that producers would not raise the price of a CMU by one penny as masonry is a commodity, and the penny would be shown right on the invoices.
“We are playing catch up,” he adds. “Budgets are half to less than half of what they were four years ago for an education program in Florida, and the industry is always behind the eight ball. We need to catch up and get ahead of the cycle.
“Most agree that masonry is a strong product,” McLaughlin adds. “Concrete masonry is a 100 percent a Florida product, and it provides safety, strength, energy efficiency and sustainability. We’ve lost ground to wood during the last five or six years. But how will wood buildings work out during the next Florida storm?”
Originally published in Masonry magazine.
About the Author
Patrick J. McLaughlin, is the executive director of the Masonry Association of Florida, Inc. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.