Four major flooring associations -- the World Floor Covering Association, Carpet and Rug Institute, National Wood Flooring Association and Resilient Floor Covering Institute -- have endorsed the Home Improvements Revitalize the Economy (HIRE) Act of 2009, H.R. 3382, a bill that would create a tax deduction of up to $4,000 for consumers who purchase qualified building products and home furnishings.

Lead sponsors of the HIRE Act are Georgia Congressmen Henry C. “Hank” Johnson (D) and Nathan Deal (R). Co-sponsors include: Reps. J. Gresham Barrett (R-SC), Sanford D. Bishop (D-GA.), William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Bill Pascrell Jr., (D-NJ), Bart Stupak (D-MI), John Barrow, (D-GA.), Travis Childers (D-MS), Howard Coble (RNC), Robert Latta (R-OH) and Health Shuler (R-NC).

“This legislation is seeking to save or create 350,000 jobs, cut retail taxes and boost homes values,” said Rep. Johnson. Congressman Deal added, “The HIRE Act will offer incentives for consumers who would otherwise forgo spending in 2009 and 2010, allowing them to improve their home. And, in turn, jump start the home furnishings and building products market.”

The HIRE Act, which applies to households with incomes up to $300,000, provides a tax deduction of $2,000 per family and tax credits of $500 for the purchase of qualified home furnishings and building products such as carpet and resilient and wood flooring. These credits are doubled for products meeting certain environmental certification. Retailers would be eligible for related tax credits of up to $10,000 under provisions of the bill.

“We need to do all we can do to stimulate purchasing in the flooring category,” said D. Christopher Davis, president and ceo of the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA). “The WFCA has undertaken an ambitious grass roots effort to not only urge our members, but all in the floor covering industry and everyone they know to contact their congressional representatives and urge them to support the HIRE Act legislation. Representatives really do listen to their constituents.”

“To make it easy, all anyone needs to do is go to the ‘Legislative Action Center’ on the www.wfca-pro.org website,” Davis added. “From that point, enter your ZIP code and the system will let you know the name of your representative in the House. Key in your name and address to the prewritten letter of support for the HIRE Act and either email it, or print a hard copy then mail or fax it to your congressional representative. The support letter may be personalized, if the sender so chooses. No matter what method you use, your member of Congress needs to hear from you now.”

“If successfully enacted, (this legislation) will provide a much needed boost to our beleaguered industry which has been virtually ignored by the extraordinary stimulus initiatives already in place,” said Thomas S. Davis, president and ceo, Mannington Mills, Inc. and Chairman of the Board of the Resilient Floor Covering Institute.

“We urge all stakeholders in the interior furnishings industry to contact their Congressmen and Senators asking for their support of this Act. We are a large and important industry to the U.S. economy. It’s important that we fight for our fair share.”  

Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun applauded Congressmen Deal and Johnson for taking a bi-partisan approach to addressing the downturn in the floor covering industry. “Many households lost wealth in this economic recession and are hesitant to make household purchases. Giving consumers an incentive to invest in their home is a down payment on the future and will create much-needed demand that will spark manufacturing and sales.”

Ed Korczak, executive Director/ceo of the National Wood Flooring Association, agreed. “Wood flooring, like many other products, is tied directly to the housing and construction industries, which have been down now for quite some time. We all know that as a result, consumers are being much more conservative in their spending right now.  This Act is one small way that we can encourage consumers to spend on purchases that will improve their personal investment in their homes, while also helping to improve the state of our industry.”

The four flooring industry associations are part of the American Home Furnishings and Building Products Coalition, which is actively supporting the HIRE Act. Other members of the Coalition include: Adhesive and Sealant Council; American Home Furnishings Alliance; Hardwood Federation; INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry; International Sleep Products Association; International Wood Products Association; Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association; National Home Furnishings Association; National Paint and Coatings Association; Polyurethane Foam Association; and Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America.