Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Politics and Legislative Issues for Snow & Ice Professionals

By Martin Tirado
Another Presidential and Congressional election has ended and not in a favorable way for the majority of SIMA snow and ice contractors, according to a recent SIMA survey. All told, 117 million Americans headed to the polls on November 6 to elect a President and other congressional, state, and local officials with President Barack Obama winning the electoral college and the popular vote with 60.7 million total votes to Governor Mitt Romney’s 57.8 million votes. If you were looking for structural change in the legislative branch of our government, it’s not happening anytime soon as Democrats will continue to maintain a majority in the Senate while Republicans have their majority in the House.

Where do SIMA members fall on the political spectrum and what issues are important to them? In a survey of members held just prior to the election, the results were:

  • 85% of respondents planned to vote for Gov. Romney, with only 8% for President Obama. The remaining respondents were undecided.
  • Political leaning was slightly different, with 75% conservative, 16% moderate, 5% ‘other’, and only 2.5% liberal.
  • 95% vote on a regular basis.
  • Interestingly, the top three legislative and regulatory issues of importance were, in descending order of importance, 1) opposing Obamacare; 2) reduce government spending and debt; and, 3) Taxes - business and estate. A notable 4th was changing energy policies to reduce the cost of gasoline and other energy fuels.
  • 72% support the legislative and regulatory issues of other associations such as PLANET, TCIA and others. 
  • Members felt that SIMA could best advocate for them at the state level (50%) with federal advocacy second (33%).

So what does this mean for SIMA and snow and ice professionals? It helps us clarify our thoughts on advocacy and sets the groundwork for what direction SIMA will take in the future. For issue development, after the election it’s clear that Obamacare is going to be a reality for the near future for small businesses. Now let’s take the provisions of Obamacare and educate SIMA members how they can live with and even prosper under the new law. With the law being so new, it’s difficult to tell what the short and long term impacts will be. We need further information on the impact of this legislation on snow and ice companies.

What’s generally important is for us to effectively tell our story of the challenges, issues, and essential services that snow and ice professionals provide as safety and risk managers during inclement winter weather. To advocate for what we do. To then advocate our issues to legislators, our customers and potential customers, the insurance industry, litigation attorneys, and the general public. We have an important story to tell, and I hope over time we are able to deliver that story in a positive, professional way.

Martin Tirado, CAE is the Executive Director for the Snow & Ice Management Association and can be reached at Martin@sima.org. 

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