Consumers will reap rewards from state homebuilders' legislative efforts to tighten contractor registration requirements.
The first involves roofer registration legislation, where roofers will register with the state's Construction Industries Board. Roofers will provide a small fee, verify their insurance and will then be required to display their registration number on all of their trucks and signs.
This simple measure should decrease the number of out-of-state or illegitimate roofing companies that always seem to appear following one of Oklahoma's numerous weather events.
Although we don't want to admit it, there are some companies out there that are predators. They wait until the right opportunity to catch someone distraught and in need and then do all they can to make a quick buck while doing shoddy work.
Legitimate roofing contractors will now be registered with the state, and consumers will be able to call the Construction Industries Board or go online to make sure their roofing contractor is registered.
The dust has settled on the state's most recent legislative session, and consumers will benefit from the passage of several other measures lobbied for by the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association.
OSHBA is a nonprofit trade organization of more than 2,600 members statewide serving as an advocate for the housing industry and an affiliate of the National Association of Home Builders.
OSHBA worked with several other industries in supporting passage of Workers Compensation reform. This reform will provide insurance savings to homebuilder members, which can ultimately be passed on to consumers.
Homebuilders also supported a revision in Pre-Lien Notification on remodeling work. This revision would have helped contractor-customer relations. The governor vetoed the measure, so homebuilders will revisit the issue with the Legislature next year.
No victory comes without some defeat, and the industry suffered significant setbacks on two measures.
The first -- an impact fee proposal -- was snuffed out shortly after making it through the House. This bill would have put safeguards on the required charges that municipalities exact from developers to pay for the construction or expansion of necessary municipal capital improvements to benefit new development.
With no limitation or guidelines on impact fees in place, municipalities are free to increase taxes on builders, costs which are passed on to consumers. This measure would have increased accountability on the collection and expenditures of impact fees.
OSHBA will be working with the Oklahoma Municipal League on a refined proposal to bring it back to the next legislative session. One issue that the tea party phenomenon has shown is citizens want accountability from their government.
Homebuilders also suffered a setback with the Energy Efficient Residential Construction tax credit. As it became clear the state's budget shortfall was too large, the Legislature began looking for ways to raise revenue.
One of those avenues was to mandate a moratorium on tax credits. This tax credit, along with 31 others, was put on hold on July 1 and will remain in moratorium for two more years. Our builders will still build energy-efficient housing, but it will cost consumers a little more up front to reap the benefits of this change.
Yes, these defeats are disappointing, but we are extremely proud of the efforts made by our members and the state association in helping the industry and consumer. I'm looking forward to next year and the opportunity to revisit these important issues, for everyone's benefit.
Tom French is president of the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association, a nonprofit professional organization that promotes the home-building industry and its members.