Concrete Masonry Checkoff (H.R. 1046/S. 374)
The Concrete Masonry Products Research, Education and Promotion Act of 2017 (H.R. 1046/S. 374) would provide congressional authorization to allow concrete block manufacturers the opportunity to create a commodity check-off program that would support generic industry research, education, and promotion. Because other industries already have such authorization this bill simply provides a level playing field for fair market competition. The result will be better and more cost effective buildings and more manufacturing and construction jobs at no cost to the federal government.
Background and Key Points
- Federal funding required will be zero (as verified by CBO). Any minimal expense incurred for federal oversight from the Department of Commerce would be reimbursed from the industry.
- The program is funded through a fair and equitable assessment of every concrete block sold.
- This legislation does not create a concrete masonry check-off program. Rather the industry, through referendum, is provided the authority to approve the program. Similarly, the industry is provided the authority to subsequently terminate the program if it does not accomplish objectives.
- The legislation creates legal authority for the program and enables industry members to work together in a manner that otherwise could face anti-trust limitations.
- The program would support critical research and development projects, safety and training programs, market promotion, and education of designers, owners, building officials and the like.
- The bill includes transparency provisions and prohibitions on use of funds for lobbying.
- A majority of funds generated are returned to regions to support local market needs.
- Generated resources would be managed by an independent, appointed board consisting of concrete masonry producers with a required balance reflecting geographic distribution and company size to ensure fair representation.
- No trade association will have any part in the control or management of the corporation.
- This program is focused on tangible programs, not overhead. The legislation requires that a minimum of 90% of collected funds be allocated to projects supporting research, education and promotion.
- The program is modeled after other commodity check-off programs which have demonstrated over multiple decades their value in strengthening their commodity-based industries and creating economic benefits and jobs for America.
H.R. 1046/S. 374 enjoys solid political support. The House bill passed this legislation on November 13, 2016 by a vote of 355-38 after amassing 247 bi-partisan co-sponsors. The current legislation is identical to that passed by the House in 2016.
The MCAA supports H.R. 1046/S. 374 and urges Congress to pass the legislation to help this industry by enabling it to effectively invest in itself (without government financial assistance), reinvigorate the economy, jump-start the tax base, and expand American jobs.