Editor’s Note: The following is a recap of legislative efforts undertaken this year by the Indiana Manufactiured Housing Association-Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (IMHA-RVIC)).
While the 2010 Indiana General Assembly adjourned ahead of its March 14 deadline, it was a busy year with a number of weighty issues receiving debate and action prior to legislators heading home to face voters in the upcoming May primary and November general elections.
The state’s revenues were already well-below projections when the legislature began its business in January, and the trend of revenues coming in below forecasts continued. Additionally, the pending unemployment insurance tax increase on businesses was a major concern for our member companies and their workers. If the tax increase went into effect, it would have meant even more job losses in the manufactured housing and recreation vehicle industries in order to pay for the approximately $400 million in collective taxes that would come due for Hoosier employers. Fortunately, the unemployment insurance tax delay passed as the final act by 2010 Indiana General Assembly. Senate Bill 23 provided for a one-year delay in both the unemployment insurance tax rates and the taxable wage base increases.
The other significant issue during the legislature was approval of the constitutional amendment providing for the 1-2-3% property tax caps. This measure passed the General Assembly and this proposed constitutional amendment will be on the Nov. 2 ballot.
Specific Industry Efforts
With regard to specific IMHA-RVIC legislative efforts, your association successfully lobbied for the passage of Senate Bill 401 authored by State Sen. Carlin Yoder. The previous state statute allowed only real estate owners and registered voters the right to remonstrate against a public bond-issue spending proposal. The residents within a manufactured home land-lease community are homeowners but their homes are owned as personal property, rather than as real estate. All of the MH community residents were included in the tax levy to pay for the bond but they didn’t have the right to remonstrate on the issue. The old Indiana statute, in effect, endorsed taxation without representation.
Senate Bill 401 changed the Indiana statute to allow owners of manufactured homes that are assessed as personal property and utilized as the residents’ principal place of residence, to participate in petitions and remonstration actions on the local level. The new law will allow the following:
- Allows and encourages homeowners within MH land-lease communities to participate in petitions and remonstration actions on local government spending.
- Provides equal representation to personal property homeowners as real estate homeowners.
- Removes discrimination against manufactured home owners from the Indiana statute.
IMHA/RVIC also successfully lobbied for Senate Concurrent Resolution 44 celebrating the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the RV into the American marketplace. The resolution supports and recognizes the goals and ideals of RV American RVing and encourages Hoosiers and all the people of the United States to celebrate this anniversary by taking part in RV vacations. The resolution references the June 7, 2010 centennial celebration scheduled for the RV Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart.
The association was actively involved in negotiations on HB 1048 authored by State Rep. David Cheatham as it related to contracts for the purchase of single-family dwellings that are not prepared by an attorney or a licensed real estate broker or salesperson. The bill, as introduced provided that the contract is valid only if: (1) the contract is notarized; and (2) if the contract is for a term of at least three years, the contract is recorded in the county in which the dwelling is located. The bill also required that the notary public who notarizes the contract must provide to the contract purchaser a form that describes the availability of certain property tax deductions.
IMHA was able to amend HB 1048 to provide an exemption for a contract in which an individual purchases a new manufactured home: (1) for use as a residence that the individual will occupy as the first occupant; and (2) directly from the manufacturer, the manufacturer’s agent, a dealer, or a seller that did not previously purchase the manufactured home in a retail transaction. Efforts to exempt such contracts for used manufactured homes were rejected by the House author. IMHA was uncomfortable with the bill without the used home sales exemption and despite passing the House of Representatives, the bill died in Senate Committee.
IMHA-RVIC also engaged in negotiations on SB 117 a piece of legislation dealing with vehicle manufacturer and vehicle dealer relationships. The RV industry has traditionally been exempted from these statutes that are designed for the automobile industry and we were able to maintain our existing status in this legislation.
The association also sought amendments to HB 1176 a proposal specifying that the recreational vehicle and truck camper excise tax applies to recreational vehicles that are not registered in Indiana but are permanently located in Indiana. IMHA-RVIC prepared amendments that would apply the same tax rate to these units as now applies to Indiana RVs under the new excise tax. Negotiations on the issue continued throughout the legislative session, however, the Indiana House of Representatives deemed this a new tax and therefore did not give the bill a committee vote. We anticipate that this issue will resurface in the 2011 General Assembly.
IMHA-RVIC supported legislation (HB 1193) for an RV sales tax exemption for out-of-state customers and a bill (SB 344) to provide a refundable income tax credit to a purchaser of a new replacement manufactured home that is energy efficient. While there was support for both of these issues, neither bill passed the legislature due to their potential impact on state revenues.
The issue of loan originators and loan brokers also continued to get a significant amount of our attention. Our lobbying team and staff were involved in meetings with the Department of Financial Institutions and the Securities Commission and we continue to work with these state regulatory agencies to determine the impact of the SAFE Act on our MH dealers and land-lease communities in the sale of manufactured housing.
In closing, it is important to note that the Manufactured Housing Installers Licensing Board survived another legislative session in which the administration sought to eliminate a number of state boards and commissions.