Fire sprinklers to get day on Hill?

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06/05/2009
Here's an opinion piece which is mostly about House Ways and Means Chair Charlie Rangel, but also talks about the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act. This guy complains that the National Fire Sprinkler Association is lining Rep. Rangel's pockets (nicely, to to tune of $20,000) and will be rewarded with a legislative hearing, finally, on this pet project of theirs, the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act. Here's the piece This guy notes that the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act is not a bad piece of legislation. Indeed, as the name suggests, it gives tax breaks to businesses (and in some cases, homeowners,) that install fire sprinklers.
But the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act is no boondoggle for the industry. It's a fairly modest tinker to tax law. Currently, if a building owner--residential or commercial -- installs automated fire sprinklers, he cannot claim the entire cost as a tax deduction that same year, but he has to spread that deduction over about 30 years, taking a deduction on the annual "depreciation" of the sprinkler system rather than the actual cost. Many long-term capital investments are treated the same way. NFSA wants to speed that depreciation up to five years, thus increasing the tax savings for sprinkler buyers, and thus spurring their purchase. The makers and installers of fire sprinklers -- NFSA's members -- clearly benefit. Landlords and developers benefit. Public safety benefits if more buildings have these sprinklers.
His complaint is really more with Rangel than with the fire industry--although he does say that "this obscure industry"--that's you, fire people--will benefit from the bill if passed. He also makes this statement:
The loser is the federal Treasury, because revenue would decrease in the short term.
Which, as my middle school kiddos would say, is a lame claim, in my book. Yes guy, be worried about revenues and the Treasury, but don't worry about the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act, for heaven's sake. Someone should direct him to the NFPA's recent fire sprinkler demos which I referenced in my most recent blog. It's convincing stuff. Here it is again in case you missed it.