Despite economic headwinds and ongoing political turmoil, Indiana Manufactured Housing Association-Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (IMHA-RVIC) President Gregg Pardieck assured around 60 association members at the organization’s annual meeting that the two industries maintained a steady course during the past year.
“International financial crisis and national political unrest have caused uneasiness and volatility in the stock markets, shaken consumer confidence and tightened credit markets,” Pardieck said during the Oct. 19 gathering at the Wyndham Indianapolis West. “Fortunately our association represents two resilient industries. Even in the midst of uncertain markets, the word that best describes our industries and our association this year is stable.”
Pardieck emphasized that “the single most important thing your association does is work with Indiana’s administrative and elected officials to protect our industries.” He said that despite the effects of a historic five-week walkout in the Indiana House of Representatives, the past year yielded several positive actions on behalf of the manufactured housing and RV industries, including:
• The 2011 session reduced the corporate income tax rate (HB 1004) from 8.5% to 6.5%. “This is welcome news to our members as Indiana had one of the highest corporate income tax rates in the nation,” Pardieck stated. The reduction will be phased in over four years.
• The legislature passed a workable illegal immigration bill (SB 590). The measure attempts to determine legal status of immigrants but “does not aggressively overreach,” according to Pardieck, noting that a three strikes provision that could have resulted in a company losing its operating license or permits was amended out of the bill.
• IMHA-RVIC pursued possible remedies to the federal SAFE Act through both state legislative and administrative action. Discussions on potential legislative amendments led to an ongoing series of meetings with the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). IMHA-RVIC are continuing to work with DFI to interpret key phrases in HUD’s SAFE Act final rule.
• House Bill 1453 was successfully defeated, partially due to a provision that would have required anyone selling at least five vehicles each year to become a dealer. The existing law requires only those who sell at least 12 vehicles for delivery in Indiana to become a dealer and the proposed change became problematic for the bill.
• HB 1269 was also defeated, which would have revised the recreational vehicle excise tax on units in the RV category that are permanently located in Indiana campgrounds but not registered under the motor vehicle laws of any state. The bill would have applied the same tax and depreciation schedule to those units that currently apply to units registered in Indiana.
Pardiek said that IMHA-RVIC was also continuing to monitor action by the Indiana Department of Health to expand its Healthy Homes program to include issues such as mold, pests, radon and formaldehyde. RVs and manufactured housing would be included in the legislation.
“At the request of a state lawmaker we recently brought a selection of RVs to the Indiana statehouse to show our products to the state’s highest elected officials,” he said. “In addition to the legislature and elected officials we are actively working with numerous state agencies throughout the year.”
Jeff Sims, director of membership and public affairs for the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), also addressed attendees that included 16 representatives from Indiana campgrounds.
”I had a very productive meeting with the Indiana folks,” said Sims. “There were questions about evictions, senior-only parks, long-term storage and ADA guidelines for chair lifts in pools.”
Sims said ARVC is developing a national database on local issues so that campground owners can understand how specific issues are being handled in the various states.
Of particular interest on the Indiana association’s two websites — campindiana.org and indianarvlifestyle.com — are pending changes in ARVC’s gocampingamerica.com web portal. Both are being more closely tied to the ARVC’s website, said IMHA-RVIC Executive Director Mark Bowersox said.
On the Indiana sites, RVIC has taken over responsibility to keep up to date the campground web pages it hosts, Bowersox said, while ARVC’s site, which is undergoing an upgrade, will allow campground owners throughout the nation to upgrade their own information.
”Before, I think it’s been very cumbersome for them to get that information updated,” Sims said. ”The new system will be simple and campground owners will be able to upgrade their information directly.”
IMHA-RVIC will elect new officers during a Dec. 9 meeting in Indianapolis.