ASA Insights
May 26, 2011

NetworkASA 2011: Early-Bird Registration Deadline June 15
American Supply Association
ASA's annual convention, NetworkASA, will take place Sept. 13-16 at The Bellagio in Las Vegas. The theme for this year's event is ALL IN – Cashing In on the Recovery. In addition to a strong focus on attendee networking opportunities, NetworkASA 2011 is designed to keep the attendee "ahead of the curve" when it comes to future trends and timely educational content. "This year's agenda is unlike any other that we have offered in recent years," said Mike Adelizzi, ASA executive vice president. "From enhanced Plumbing and IPD Open Houses to Peer Networking Council Meetings to a fantastic speaker lineup to our newly organized Table Top Networking Session, ASA is offering an experience not available anywhere else in the PHCP and PVF industry." Complete program details, a schedule of events and online event registration can be accessed at www.asa.net. Also, please feel free to call 312-464-0090 for more details. Attendees save $100 if they register for NetworkASA 2011 before the early-bird registration deadline of June 15.More

ASA Joins New Effort to Repeal Burdensome Taxes on Small Business Health Care
American Supply Association
This week, ASA and other business groups and trade associations launched the "Stop the HIT" Coalition. The small business health insurance tax, or HIT in section 9010 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is designed to charge a "fee" on health insurance companies that operate on the fully insured marketplace. Businesses should fully expect that increased costs in their insurance coverage will be passed on to others, specifically beneficiaries. The tax is planned to raise $87 billion in the first five years, and another $208 billion in the second 10 years. The Stop the HIT Coalition is working to educate policymakers and association members of the consequences of this tax and the damage it will do to businesses struggling in this economy. ASA members are encouraged to contact their elected officials to co-sponsor H.R. 1370, bipartisan legislation that would repeal this tax. Click here to learn more about Stop the HIT. Click here for a sample coalition letter supporting H.R. 1370.More

ASA Writes House and Senate Leaders, Advocating Repeal of the Employer Mandate
American Supply Association
Unless Congress acts, in 2014 employers with more than 50 full-time employees are scheduled to face a penalty for failing to adequately insure them. The employer mandate penalizes businesses with 50 or more "full-time equivalent" employees if they do not provide government-prescribed health insurance, or if certain employees receive a tax credit and decide to purchase insurance through the exchange. Employers could be subject to additional penalties because the provision redefines full-time, full-time equivalent, part-time and seasonal workers. This complicated burden only generates confusion and increases costs for small business owners. Legislation recently was introduced in the House and the Senate to repeal this mandate. ASA members are encouraged to contact their elected officials to co-sponsor H.R. 1744/S. 20, the American Jobs Protection Act. Please contact ASA Government Affairs at 703-328-5234 or dhilton@asa.net. Click here for a sample coalition letter to members of Congress.More

SWA's Mealor Passes
American Supply Association/Gwinnett Daily Post
Southern Wholesalers Association past President and Plumbing Distributors Inc. CEO Sid Mealor passed away May 19. His family was with him. As noted in a press release from PDI, "Sid was a leader among leaders and was admired and respected by all. He was known as a man of integrity and loyalty, who made decisions based not solely on gains or profit, but on what was the right thing to do. He truly touched everyone that he was around and was always available to do anything that you needed him to do. As CEO of PDI, he took the company to a new level and grew the business to a level that no one thought was possible." Visitation was held May 20, followed by a service May 22 at Dacula United Methodist Church, Dacula, Ga. Interment was at Gwinnett Memorial Park.More

Copper Drops Most in Two Weeks as Manufacturing Slows in China
Bloomberg via San Francisco Chronicle
Copper fell the most in almost two weeks in London as figures showed weaker manufacturing growth in China, the world's biggest consumer of the metal. Copper imports into the country slumped. A Chinese manufacturing index slid to its lowest level in 10 months, adding to signs economic growth is cooling after the government raised interest rates and curbed lending to rein in inflation. Copper also dropped as manufacturing growth slowed in Europe and the dollar strengthened, sapping demand for commodities as an alternative investment.More

Ann All: US to Become New Center of Low-Cost Manufacturing?
IT Business Edge
In early 2010, I wrote a post about how factors including rising wages, quality issues and cost increases in both raw materials and shipping were prompting some American companies to move manufacturing operations from Asia back to the U.S. It turns out American companies are not the only ones to see the U.S. as a good alternative to Asia. Companies from European countries like Germany and Sweden are locating manufacturing facilities in the U.S. where labor costs might be higher than in China but are certainly lower than in Europe. Yet this investment isn't entirely welcome, even during the current tough U.S. economic conditions, writes Harold Meyerson in an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times. The title says it all: "Where Europe Comes to Slum."More

Construction, Manufacturing Fall
The Wall Street Journal
U.S. home construction fell unexpectedly in April, an indication that the troubled sector will remain a drag on the economic recovery. Separately, U.S. manufacturing production fell for the first time in 10 months in April as natural disasters in Japan disrupted the auto industry. Construction of homes and apartments last month sank 10.6 percent from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 523,000, the Commerce Department said. March's figures were revised upward to an annual rate of 585,000. Compared with the same month a year earlier, overall new-home construction in April was down 23.9 percent.More