Home builders head to St. Paul to discuss their issues with lawmakers

Among the many groups heading to the Capitol in the early days of the session is a consortium of home builders’ associations from around Minnesota, who say they’ve got lots to tell their legislators.

The Builders Association of the Twin Cities, along with the Builders Association of Minnesota and 13 local home builders associations from around the state, will hold “Builder Day” on Wednesday, when they’ll let legislators know what kind of changes they want to see in state law.

The groups say that home building is seeing a steady recovery after a historic slowdown, but challenges remain. Included in their agenda:

  • Regulatory burden: Minnesota, they say, has the highest regulatory burden in the Midwest and one of the highest in the country, with between 25 and 35 percent of the final sales price of a home attributed to regulatory costs. While the industry supports regulations that benefit home buyers and the community, it is prepared to fight against regulations that are unneeded and unwarranted.
  • Home indoor sprinkler mandate: One looming regulation that the industry is fighting to halt would require home indoor sprinklers in all new single-family homes at 4,500 square feet or greater (including unfinished basements). This is a provision included in the next version of the Minnesota State Building Code, and one which 41 out of the 43 states which have considered the mandate have already rejected.
  • B2B taxes: Like most in the business community, home builders, remodelers and all of their associated companies are concerned with the business-to-business labor service tax enacted last year.

They’re also concerned about issues involving statewide building-code enforcement, subcontractor registration procedures and the Metropolitan Council’s growth policy.

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