March 30th, 2009
Stating the Obvious—There is Good News
Okay, maybe it’s not really the obvious, but hopefully you’ve been noticing what I have lately.
Our newsletters haven’t been filled with story after story of plant closings. Instead, we’ve been talking about companies like Kensington that have reopened; Survivor, planning to reopen; and Serious’s plan to reopen Republic.
And instead of talking about layoffs we’ve published stories about Simonton and Andersen bringing people back to work, in large part due to increased business due to the tax credits.
I also received a call the other day from a window company in Florida telling me how the company is not only surviving but expanding.
All this is not trying to minimize the fact that we still have a long way to go, the economy is in a recession and housing is still down.
And, yes, there are many companies out there who are fighting to stay alive. While the tax credit has done wonders for some, it’s done damage to others. One window distributor posted a comment on our website saying, “We are a small business with six lines of quality wood windows and our sales are being adversely affected by this financial crisis. The tax incentive in the Recovery Act would be a blessing, BUT Congress chose to ignore the long-standing ENERGY STAR ratings and come up with their own. We are laying off people to stay in business. This is the spring season, a usually busy time of year. Most of our wood products are in the .31 to .33 range and do not qualify for the credit. Is this making sense to anyone? A quick reversal of the .30 standard is required. Go back to ENERGY STAR® immediately and set future dates for companies to reach the .30 level.”
I thought that was an insightful comment. That person wasn’t saying, “Keep it where it is forever.” In essence, he was saying, give companies time to reach that .30 level instead of making companies like his-right on the brink-lose valuable business and lay off workers. Aren’t we supposed to be doing the opposite-creating jobs?
I didn’t mean to end on a down note, as this started out as a positive column, but it’s the reality companies are facing today. I imagine the discussion around the tax credits will continue, so if you have thoughts to share, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post them on our website.
And remember that while there is bad news, there has been much welcome good news as well-something we haven’t seen much of in recent months. Hang on to that!