November 2016
Supported By
2017 Board of Directors Installation
Recruit 3 & You're FREE
HBA Members Give Back to the Community!

NOEL would like to thank John Heald of One Man and a Tool Box, LLC, for donating their time to do site inspections for the Jefferson Joining Forces program.  

The Jefferson Joining Forces program remediates code violations for elderly, low-income and/or disabled home owners.  These repairs are done at no cost to the home owner, while being fully compensated to the contractor.  For more information on how you can donate your services or products to the Jefferson Joining Forces program, contact Philip Thomas @ (504) 837-2700.

Certified Aging in Place Designation Classes
CAPS I - Wednesday, November 16 
CAPS II - Thursday, November 17 
Business Management for Building Professionals -  
Friday, November 18 
All classes - 8:30am - 5:00pm
JEDCO Building
700 Churchill Parkway
Avondale, LA  70094 
Cost Per Class (3 total):  
HBAGNO & NAHB Members - $225
Non-Members - $275  
To RSVP, Contact: Philip Thomas @ (504) 837-2700 or

Tax Reform Done Right
Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is President of GraphsandLaughs, LLC and can be reached at His daily 70 word economics and policy blog can be seen at

With elections right around the corner, tax proposals are surfacing like mushrooms after a rainstorm.  While we can all agree that the current tax code is a disaster, the most recent proposals regrettably range from just bad to positively dreadful.  Why?  They are political documents designed to attract voters -- not tax policy experts and economists!  With this in mind, I offer several key principles that should be generally followed in any successful tax reform.   
The primary goal of taxation is to raise revenue while causing the least economic damage possible.  This means broadening the tax base.  Think about it; if the only thing we taxed was oregano, we would all stop buying oregano.  If, however, we taxed all spices equally, there would be no reason to avoid oregano, but there would be a strong incentive to eat bland food and smuggle in spices.  But if we tax everything equally, then you have no incentive to alter your behavior as you cannot reduce your taxes.  Better yet, as you broaden the base, you will be able to lower tax rates and still collect the same amount of revenue.  Of course, this means doing away with most deductions, credits and exclusions, including tax breaks for charitable donations, employer-provided health insurance and state and local income taxes.       
The next step involves simplification.  Most taxpayers resent the fact that the rich hire clever accountants and lawyers, thus reducing their tax payment to nothing or next-to-nothing.  This is corrosive behavior, creating distrust of the entire system across the political spectrum.  Moreover, simplifying our 75,000-page federal tax code would cause entrepreneurs to think harder about how to make more money and grow their businesses, not on which lobbyists and lawyers to hire and how many racehorses to buy, all of which are unproductive activities.  Tax simplification means doing away with the corporate income tax and all the insane rules regarding investment expensing, depreciation schedules, repatriation of profits, tax-deductibility of debt, R&D tax credits and so on.                 

Third, tax consumption -- not savings.  When the government taxes savings, income, interest payments, dividends, capital gains, wealth and even inheritances (but we can argue about that one), it reduces the incentive to save, invest in new plant and equipment, and, most critically, take financial risks.  Recognizing this, the government already allows for health-savings accounts, IRAs, life-insurance exemptions and a multitude of trusts that the rich use to shelter wealth and avoid inheritance taxes.  Why not let everyone do it without having to jump through any hoops?  While consumption taxes such as sales taxes or value added taxes may sound regressive, they need not be.  Consumption by the wealthy can be taxed at a higher rate than consumption by the poor.  In this way, the tax code can remain progressive.  Moreover, as the consumption tax will be based on the difference between what you earn and what you save, this plan will discourage hiding assets offshore, giving our economy yet another boost!

The last time the tax code was reformed was during President Reagan's second term; roughly 30 years ago!  We are clearly overdue.  While reaching a compromise that both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue will agree to will be tough, if done as outlined above, it will boost GDP growth and improve living standards.  Congress, get going!  

Employee Resource
Louisiana Economic Development provides an employer/employee service called Louisiana Job Connection. They have reached out to the HBAGNO to be a resource for our members who are in search of employees to meet the current construction demands as much of the area is rebuilding. Below is a customize link for our association. Use this free resource if you are in need of new employees, or are a job seeker. 

New Orleans Flood Maps
From Jerome Landry, NOLA Safety & Permits: 
As you may have heard, our new Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) became effective Friday September 30, 2016. We have been issuing permits for new construction and substantial improvement using the maps since they were adopted June 1st, 2016. We will no longer accept old benchmark certificates and elevation certificates that show the old FIRM date of 3/1/1984. All benchmarks submitted for new construction and substantial improvement must be on the new City of New Orleans 2016 Benchmark Certificate. All the local surveyors have the form and have been using them. If you have the benchmark on the old form with the FIRM date of 1984, please give your surveyor a call and they will gladly update it for you. 

For more Info on floodplain management for the City of New Orleans please visit: 
Please email any questions or concerns to  
Fall Golf Tournament
Golf Ball Fall Golf Tournament
Thursday, October 20
@ Audubon Golf Course

Tito's Bloody Mary Bar

Fried Shrimp & Pickles by Buckwalter Insurance Group

Handrolled Cigars

YETI Cooler - Tito's Golf  Bag - & MORE!
HBAGNO PAC Fundraiser
Speed Networking Event
There is still room available at the 
Speed Networking Event

Thursday, October 6 - 4:30-6:30pm
Nordic Kitchens & Baths, 1818 Veterans Memorial Blvd

15 invited Builders will visit the station of each Associate around the room for 5 minutes each before moving on to the next table. Associates may display product samples and bring giveaways for the 15 builders participating.
This is a great opportunity to have some "face time" with builders you may have a hard time contacting, or that you may have never even met. Make sure to come with your best sales pitch and be ready to speed things up!

Participation Limited to 15 Non-Competing Vendors
These vendors topics are already reserved:
 Builder's Risk Insurance
House Wrap
Portable Restrooms
  Home Warranty

Matching Funds Needed!

New Orleans Education League of the Construction Industry was awarded a grant in the amount of $25,000 from the Home Building Industry Disaster Relief Fund! We are looking for support from HBA members to match a portion of those funds.

100% of your donations will go towards the construction supplies needed most. Our plan is to focus primarily on sheet rock and insulation. We will work with home owners in the affected areas, as well as builders who are volunteering their time to make repairs on flood damaged homes.

If you have any questions, please contact
Philip Thomas @ (504) 837-2700 or

Click HERE to donate through Paypal, or contact Philip to make a donation in person.

Plentiful Jobs but Weak Growth, Wages and Inflation
Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is President of GraphsandLaughs, LLC and can be reached at His daily 70 word economics and policy blog can be seen at

While the US economy is creating plenty of jobs, it isn't growing much. In the first half of 2016, gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an anemic annualized rate of just 1%, compared to about 2% since the end of the recession, and 2.5% from 2000 through 2007. Usually, weak economic growth has been associated with weak employment growth. But not now! Employment growth during the first six months of the year totaled slightly over one million jobs, or a healthy average of 175,000 net new jobs/month. If the historical relationship between GDP and employment that existed before the Great Recession still held, 40% fewer jobs would have been created since January. That said, what does slow growth mean for future wages, why is GDP growth so slow, is it likely to persist, and what does this imply about future interest rates? 
The prolonged and robust job growth we have been experiencing for the last several years has brought down the unemployment rate from 10% to just 4.9%, low by historic standards. As a result, workers are finally becoming scarce and labor costs are, at long last, rising, although not as fast as before the recession. This is because wage growth results from two forces: labor scarcity and increases in labor productivity. Having already discussed scarcity, let's focus on productivity growth, or the increase in output per worker per hour. What we see is dismal labor productivity growth. It has actually been declining for the last three quarters in a row, the first time this has ever happened outside of a recession. This goes a long way in explaining why wage growth remains mediocre despite the low unemployment rate.

While labor productivity is expected to improve and return to the 2006 - 2015 annual average rate of 1.25%, that is way below the 2.5% annual growth rate between 1949 and 2005. This weak labor productivity growth is most likely the result of an aging population and years of weak corporate investment in plant and equipment. This continued lack of investment has sharply reduced corporate efficiency gains. As a result, to produce more product to meet virtually any increase in demand requires more hiring.

Importantly, the conditions that have created this weak investment environment will not dissipate soon. While energy prices appear to have bottomed, it is unlikely that they will soon rise. Thus, exploration and production activity in the oil patch is unlikely to increase much. Similarly, mining firms are holding back on investment while commodity prices are weak, and manufacturers that sell their output overseas will continue to face strong headwinds due to the strong US dollar. In addition, agricultural prices are also expected to remain depressed and auto sales have peaked. Collectively, this means investment in plant and equipment is likely to remain weak, all but insuring GDP growth of at best 2% for the foreseeable future.

With labor productivity weak, GDP growth sluggish, and inflation correspondingly low, the Fed has reduced how high it sees the long-term fed-funds rate reaching -- no higher than 3% compared to 4% or more as recently as 2013! As a result, it may well take three or four years for the fed-funds rate to hit just 3%. As for conventional 30-year mortgage rates, they are likely to remain below 4% well into 2018.
In This Issue:
2017 Board Installation
Recruit 3 & You're FREE
HBA Members Give Back
Designation Classes: CAPS
Calendar of Events

Also Supported By:  



Did you know you can renew your membership online? 

Just login from the HBAGNO homepage to renew your membership.

November Calendar of Events
All Events held at HBA office unless otherwise noted 
See details below for 
"Featured Events"

11) Board of Directors Installation @ Houmas House 
See box to the left for details
15) HBA Board of Directors Meeting @ 4pm 
16-18) Designation Classes:  CAPS I, II, Business Management for Building Professionals.  Nov 16th-18th @ the JEDCO center in Avondale 
29) Education:  November Day of Education.  8:30am-3:30pm @ HBA 

Job Postings
Goldin Metals
Harvey, LA 

or Visit:

Apply in person at Harvey facility.
Quick Links & Resources

Community Jobs for Bid:

* Under Compliance, click on Employers' Workers' Compensation Coverage Verification
NAHB Online Courses Logo
2016 Senior Officers of the Board

President, Floyd Simeon
Vice President, Mike LeCorgne
Treasurer, Frank Morse
Secretary, Michael Kraft
Immediate Past President, Roy Olsen

2016 Board of Directors

Steve Albert
John Arms
Alexis Brown
Nick Castjohn
Charlie Fontenelle
David Gaspard
Phil Hoffman
Kevin Katner

Jo Ann Kostik
Peter Lanaux
Bruce Layburn
Harold LeBlanc
Brian Mills
Scott Morse
Helmut Mundt
Randy Noel
Lynda Nugent Smith
Rolf Parelius
Kimberly Rooney
Dorothy Stanich
Zach Tyson
Kirk Williamson
Steve Wobbema
Wes Wyman

HBA Staff Contacts

Jon Luther , Executive Vice President
Philip Thomas, Education Director & NOEL Program Director
Lauren Galliano , Director of Membership & Industry Relations
Rita Bautista, Governmental Affairs Representative
Shane Gray , Accountant

Did We Miss Something?
Please contact Lauren at the HBA office with any pertinent industry-related issues and/or professional achievements you'd like to share with your association members.

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