U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin unveiled bipartisan legislation Monday in Frederick intended to create up to 40,000 new jobs nationwide and increase energy efficiency.
The Maryland Democrat spoke at Kalkreuth Roofing, 9001 Baltimore Road. He said the Green Roofing Energy Efficiency Tax Act will provide economic incentives that will accelerate the adoption of energy-efficient roofs.
“The legislation I am introducing will help the construction industry by accelerating demand to upgrade and modernize roofs, helping to create up to 40,000 new construction jobs nationwide,” said Cardin, a member of the finance and budget committees.
Cardin said the bill will create economic growth by removing obstacles in the tax code that hinder the upgrading and modernization of roofs by significantly reducing the depreciation schedule for commercial roof retrofits.
“The bill will change the current 39-year depreciation in the tax code for new commercial roofs to a shorter, 20-year depreciation schedule for commercial roof retrofits,” Cardin said. “This bill is for people who put up or take down roofs.”
J. David Hesse, vice president for the Maryland division of Kalkreuth Roofing, said the work is a simple process, involving installing new roof membrane and insulation.
The legislation comes at an opportune time, considering an uncertain economic outlook, Hesse said.
Introduced Monday, the bill will be referred to the finance committee, which will schedule hearings.
The most likely scenario is that the bill will be picked up and wrapped in a larger jobs bill that Congress will be voting on in the next 1 1/2 months, Cardin spokeswoman Susan Sullman said.
“We can’t reduce our deficit unless we have more people working,” Cardin said. “One out of three jobs lost in the recession was in the construction and manufacturing industry. This legislation allows for jobs that can’t be exported.”
Cardin said Republican Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho co-sponsored the legislation, which has the support of 17 construction industry associations, including, the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers; and Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association.
Frederick Alderwoman Shelley Aloi said she was excited that the bill had bipartisan support.
“It will take the burden off businesses and allow them to do what they do naturally — and that is to create jobs,” Aloi said.
A core mission of the National Roofing Contractors Association is to promote policies to grow jobs, “and that’s exactly what this bill will do,” said Duane Musser, NRCA’s vice president for government relations.
Frank Olenick, business representative for the Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers, Local 30, called the bill “a common-sense initiative.”
“Clearly, the construction industry has been one of the industries hit the hardest, and Congress should focus on sensible laws like this bill,” Olenick said.
In July, a report by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation found that 14.1 percent of the 2010 unemployment insurance claims were from the construction industry, making the industry the largest source of unemployment insurance claims in the state. Nationwide, the construction industry lost 2.2 million jobs because of the economic downturn, according to the report.
“We are thrilled that a Frederick business is helping lead the way in terms of innovative and sustainable roofing construction techniques and also applaud Sen. Cardin for recognizing the opportunity to create jobs locally and across the country,” said Richard G. Griffin, Frederick’s director of economic development.