Incoming Tire Industry Association (TIA) President Glen Nicholson is the senior director of retail training for TBC Corp. He was born in Newport News, Va., and because his father was in the Navy, he grew up near military bases in Virginia, Florida and California.
Nicholson attended the University of Central Florida for a few years, but left school to take a full-time job as a service technician at an NTW tire store. He went on to be a tire technician for Allied Tire Sales in Orlando, Fla.
He now lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., with his wife, Barbara. He has a son, Brandon, and a stepson, Craig.
He became involved in TIA after attending one of the association’s tire conferences in Hilton Head, S.C., where he met Roy Littlefield, TIA’s executive vice president.
He believes his experience in training for TBC will be an asset during his presidency. “I will be able to share what I have learned about effective training design and implementation with TIA’s very experienced training staff to explore new ideas and strengthen the already industry-leading TIA training programs,” he says.
As TIA president, Nicholson says he would also like to “show the industry how effectively tire dealers and tire manufacturers can work together for a common goal.” As he begins his presidency, TIA and the tire industry are dealing with some important legislative issues. MTD asked him to discuss the association’s stance on them and how they affect TIA’s members.
Tire recall reform/mandatory tire registration
“A little-noticed tire dealer provision was quietly added to the Senate highway bill (the DRIVE Act) in a manager’s amendment in the Commerce Committee markup. The provision is titled “Tire registration by independent sellers.” If implemented, the provision would set into motion a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rule making that could reinstate a 1970’s-era paperwork mandate on small businesses and potentially shift blame for recall performance from the product manufacturers to independent gasoline stations, truck stops and tire dealers.
“The Senate proposal was added without hearings or discussion, yet would reinstate previously rejected NHTSA rules that Congress halted under the Motor Vehicle Safety and Cost Savings Authorization Act of 1982.
“Under the 1970s rules, NHTSA demanded detailed registration information and levied hefty fines on independent dealers who had failed to comply. The demands were onerous and serious legal requirements became the responsibility of service techs, tire installers and gasoline station managers. Compliance rates were low and businesses could not afford to pay the fines, which could reach as high as $700,000, threatening the viability of businesses. The system was unworkable and did not advance safety.
“In 1982, Congress changed the requirements to establish a voluntary registration process in which customers, rather than dealers, voluntarily registered their tires. This process is similar for other consumer products, such as child safety seats and toys, where the purchaser voluntarily registers their purchase to get recall notices. We are not aware of any other safety products in which an independent salesperson is responsible for a customer’s product registration or a manufacturer’s product defect.
“While the Senate provision is vague and gives broad latitude to NHTSA to regulate businesses, the language is specific enough to include direction for tire dealers to turn over their customer lists to manufacturers — an idea that dealers adamantly oppose. We oppose a return to the failed, onerous paperwork requirements of the past and urge the House to reject any legislation that places the burden on independent dealers and could lead to independent dealers being forced to turn over customer information to product manufacturers.
“We support recall performance and we would like to work on this with the tire manufacturers to achieve this goal. Instead of more NHTSA rules and placing burdens on independent dealers, possible adoption of technology could help registration and recall rates.
“We ask Congress to encourage the parties to work together on recall performance, rather than float out controversial legislation and more regulations.”
Department of Labor Overtime Rules
“TIA submitted comments to the Department of Labor (DOL) in reference to the Department’s proposed rule published on July 6, 2015, redefining and re-delimiting the exemptions for executive, administrative, professional, outside sales and computer employees.
“TIA believes that raising the salary threshold from $23,660 to $50,440 annually is a significant increase. It will drastically increase labor costs and ultimately the cost of doing business; which will be felt by many small and large businesses in our industry, and ultimately the consumer. Businesses do not have the ability to adjust to dramatic increases in labor costs without detriment to their business of the people they employ. This rule will have a significant negative impact on their ability to maintain competitiveness in the market.
“We have heard the following from our membership on what business decisions this proposed rule and they have said the rule may cause them to:
* raise the prices of goods and services to pass on the cost to consumers;
* lay off employees;
* change employees from salary to hourly, which could impact benefits or mean reduced pay for weeks where less hours are worked;
* reduce base pay to account for overtime pay;
* turn full-time employees into part-time employees;
* reclassify job duties;
* lose the ability to expand the size of the business (slowing or stopping job creation); and
* provide less flexibility in hours worked.
“TIA members believe that employees and employers alike are best served with a system that promotes maximum flexibility in structuring employee hours, career advancement opportunities for employees, and clarity for employers when classifying employees. The DOL’s proposed regulation amending the exemptions for executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employees (the ‘EAP exemptions’) will impact the ability of TIA’s members to maintain that flexibility and clarity.”
Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) and the VOW to Hire Heroes Act
“TIA backs the WOTC and the VOW to Hire Heroes Act. In fact, we support a bi-partisan bill, H.R. 2754, to make WOTC and VOW To Hire Heroes Act credits permanent. Two respected members of the Committee on Ways and Means, Representative Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Representative Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), introduced H.R. 2754 into the House. We believe H.R. 2754 is gaining traction. In addition, two other members of the Committee on Ways and Means have joined as co-sponsors — Representative Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) and Representative Mike Kelly (R-Pa.). Another senior Republican from New York, Representative Peter T. King, a high-ranking member of the Financial Services, Homeland Security, and Select Intelligence committees, is also a co-sponsor of H.R. 2754. Another member of the Committee on Ways and Means Representative Ron Kind (D-Wis.) is also a co-sponsor. We expect other Democrats on the committee will vote with Representative Rangel for permanent WOTC and VOW To Hire Heroes credits.
“In preparation for the coming markup of an extenders bill for 2015 and 2016, and a possible decision on whether WOTC and VOW To Hire Heroes Act credits will be made permanent, we must continue lobbying Committee members to co-sponsor H.R. 2754. The Department of the Treasury oversees the WOTC and VOW To Hire Hero Act credits, but the day-to-day work is on the Department of Labor. For this reason, TIA is looking to the Secretary of Labor to be the principal advocate for WOTC and VOW Act credits in the Cabinet, and to remind Treasury that these credits should be made permanent because they are vital to economic opportunity.
“We do not want to rely only on the favor of Chairman Ryan and Chairman Hatch to grant permanent WOTC and VOW To Hire Heroes Act credits. We are working hard to persuade the White House to support permanency for these credits. We also want to see the Labor Secretary making sure the Treasury Secretary pushes for the WOTC and VOW to Hire Heroes Act credits while Treasury negotiates a tax bill the President will sign.
“To this end, we are requesting a meeting with Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. We will lay out the case for Secretary Perez to support WOTC and VOW to Hire Heroes Act tax credits in Cabinet meetings when the Treasury Secretary reports on progress in tax negotiations.
“As part of the tax reform efforts expected in 2015, TIA will work for the permanent extension of WOTC.”
Highway Trust Fund and funding the transportation bill
“In 2015, Congress has yet to pass a long-term Federal-Aid Highway Bill, and most recently established a two-month extension. This marks the 34th short-term extension. TIA has been a supporter of the Infrastructure 2.0 Act (HR 625) and other proposals that creatively use funds to set up an infrastructure bank for highway spending.
“TIA has also taken the following positions:
1. Five-year Federal Aid Highway Bill — Support
2. Motor fuel tax increase — Oppose
3. Privatization of highways — Oppose
4. Weight-distance tax — Oppose
5. Vehicle miles driven tax — Oppose
6. FET on tread rubber — Oppose
7. FET on passenger tires — Oppose
8. Increase FET on truck tires — Oppose
“We will continue to support long-term funding options that do not negatively impact the tire industry.”
Estate tax repeal
“TIA was pleased that earlier this year, the House passed a bill that would fully repeal the estate tax. We continue to push for a full estate tax repeal vote in the Senate. With so many legislative items on the table for 2015 and with deadlines looming on the debt, highways, and tax extenders it appears that the vote will not happen until 2016. We will continue to push members and hope that the Senate makes the vote a priority early in the year. We continue to have contact with Senator Thune’s office, Senator McConnell’s office, and Chairman Hatch’s office on this issue.
“TIA has also recently supported a bill by Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), the “American Solution for Simplifying the Estate Tax Act of 2015” (H.R. 3508). Although the bill does not repeal the estate tax, it helps to lessen some of the requirements and regulations surrounding the tax. The legislation aims at simplifying the estate tax, addressing the carry-over basis, simplifying and extending returns, and addressing the special rule for revocation of trusts in connection with election. The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow an annual elective surcharge in lieu of estate tax, and for other purposes. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Ways and Means. TIA supports H.R. 3508.”
Affordable Care Act and an explanation of the Cadillac Tax
“TIA is a member of the Small Business Coalition for Affordable Healthcare. This coalition represents the country’s largest, oldest and most respected small business associations who have spent more than a decade working to improve access and affordability of private health insurance.
“TIA supports the bill the coalition has introduced known as the “American Job Protection Act” (S. 305). This bill repeals provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, as added by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, that: (1) impose fines on large employers (employers with 50 or more full-time employees) who fail to offer their full-time employees the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential health insurance coverage, and (2) require large employers to file a report with the Department of the Treasury on health insurance coverage provided to their full-time employees.
“These requirements will force employers to use their resources and savings to pay these penalties, at the expense of hiring employees, creating jobs and expanding their business. It also establishes a powerful disincentive to hire more than 50 employees. This cycle causes the employers to struggle with the cost of the penalty, and employees to suffer with lower wages and possibly job loss.
“TIA also supports the “Save American Workers Act of 2015” (H.R. 30). This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to change the definition of “full-time employee” for purposes of the employer mandate to provide minimum essential health care coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from an employee who is employed on average at least 30 hours of service a week to an employee who is employed on average at least 40 hours of service a week.
“There’s bipartisan agreement in the House and in the Senate that the 30-hour workweek provision of the law was an unfortunate mistake and has caused many struggling Americans to have their work hours cut by employers that can’t afford to provide insurance. Raising the threshold to 40 hours will lessen burdens on both employers and employees who are both seeking affordable healthcare.
“TIA believes the passed legislation is counter-productive to the goal of expanding access to affordable healthcare for small businesses and that the passage of S. 305 and H.R. 30 will help to improve the healthcare law.”
“The IRS is continuing its process of developing regulatory guidance on the 40% excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans — the so called Cadillac tax — by issuing a notice addressing which taxpayers may be liable for the excise tax, the allocation of the tax among applicable taxpayers, and the payment for the applicable tax.
“Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), beginning in 2018, both fully insured and self-funded employer health plans will be assessed a non-refundable 40% excise tax on the dollar amount of any employee premiums that exceed annual limits of $10,200 for individual coverage and $27,500 for family coverage. While stand-alone dental and vision plans are excluded from the cost limits triggering the tax, the law does include several other costs paid by employers and employees such as contributions to flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts.
“Under the ACA, the coverage provider is liable for the excise tax but the identity of the coverage provider depends on the type of coverage provided. In the case of coverage provided under an insured group health plan, the coverage provider is the health insurance issuer. With respect to coverage provided under a health savings account or medical savings account, the provider is the employer. For all other applicable coverage, the coverage provider is the “person that administers the plan benefits.”
“TIA is concerned about the implications of the Cadillac tax and we will continue to monitor this issue.”
Small Business Healthcare Relief Act
“TIA is a supporter of any effort that helps to ease healthcare burdens to employers. The Small Business Healthcare Relief Act restores flexibility and choice into the marketplace by:
ensuring that small businesses and local municipalities with fewer than 50 employees are allowed to continue using pre-tax dollars to give employees a defined contribution for healthcare expenses;
allowing employees to use Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA) funds to purchase health coverage on the individual market, as well as for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses if the employee has qualified health coverage; and protecting employers from financial penalties for providing this cost-sharing option to employees.
“We support this bipartisan companion language in the House (H.R. 2911) and Senate (S. 1697) known as the Small Business Healthcare Relief Act to roll back existing Treasury Department guidance issued under the authority of the Affordable Care Act prohibiting the use of HRAs.
“TIA applauds the introduction of the Small Business Healthcare Relief Act, bipartisan, bicameral legislation championed by Reps. Charles Boustany (R-La.) and Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) and Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), as a common-sense solution to ensuring America’s smallest businesses with fewer than 50 employees have access to (HRAs).”
Last in, first out (LIFO) update
“With highway proposals looking for money in all possible places, LIFO repeal remains a threat. We continue to inform members of Congress on the importance of the LIFO system and we remain active in the Save LIFO coalition.
“TIA supports the efforts of Congressman Roger Williams (Texas-R-25) who has emerged as the champion of the Save LIFO movement. Just recently, Williams introduced a concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 69) which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means. The resolution aims at expressing the sense of Congress that any reform or repeal of the last-in, first-out method for accounting for inventories would cause irreparable and unnecessary damage to U.S. businesses.
“TIA supports the resolution and we will continue to educate members of Congress on its importance. “
Other legislative issues that will be affecting TIA’s membership down the road
“Social legislation is being introduced on all levels of government. The President is calling on Congress, the cities and the states to pass legislation giving all workers up to seven days of paid sick time per year. The DOL is proposing Congress pay billions of dollars to encourage states to conduct feasibility studies to develop paid family and medical leave programs. A Presidential Memorandum calls for Congress to pass legislation giving workers up to 12 weeks of sick pay for parents with a new child and legislation is continually being considered on the city, county, state and Federal levels to raise the minimum wage. The unintended result of these proposals could be serious job loss because of staff reduction, the stifling of current business growth and limited expansion of new business.
“TIA urges lawmakers to consider carefully the financial impact of social legislation including minimum wage, workplace flexibility, and paid leave on the economic well-being of small and large businesses. The association will oppose legislation that will cause economic hardships on its members.” ■