“Clean Up The Affordable Care Act,” Minnesota Grower Troy Lucht Urges Congress

“Congress needs to clean up the ACA and give us a template to do it correctly,” said Troy Lucht (right), one of three speakers featured during a bipartisan congressional briefing on the impact of the Affordable Care Act on small businesses (on his left, Chris Savvides, Black Angus Restaurant in Virginia Beach, Va.). Photo courtesy of SAF.

“Congress needs to clean up the ACA (Affordable Care Act) and give us a template to do it correctly,” said Minnesota grower Troy Lucht, one of three speakers featured during a bipartisan congressional briefing on the impact of the Affordable Care Act on small businesses.

That sentiment ran through Troy Lucht’s mind on October 2 when he addressed a briefing room filled with congressional staff members. Lucht, of Plant Source International & Malmborg’s Inc. in Rogers, Minn., traveled to Washington, D.C., to share his story, and to explain to staffers why a technical fix is necessary to correct the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) multiple, confusing definitions of seasonal employment.

“One of my goals was to help them understand just how seasonal some businesses are,” says Lucht, the chairman of the Society of American Florist’s (SAF) Government Joint Council. “For instance, 91 percent of our wholesale sales happen in the first half of the year. We’re not some big business; we have a skeleton crew most of the year.”

Unfortunately, the ACA, as currently written, doesn’t reflect that reality, Lucht explained, adding that if Congress doesn’t act soon to correct the confusion, many business owners risk significant fines for noncompliance — through no fault of their own.

“Right now, there’s a lot of misinformation out there,” Lucht told the crowd, which included staff members from 79 congressional offices. “I’m not trying, as an owner, to avoid the cost of health insurance. I want to do this right, but to do that, Congress needs to clean up the ACA and give us a template to do it correctly.”

Audience members lined the walls and even gathered in the hallway to listen to Lucht and the two other featured speakers (a restaurant owner and a fruit and vegetable farmer). Their obvious interest in the challenges posed by current ACA definitions stood in stark contrast to the reception Lucht and other floral industry members received in March during SAF’s Congressional Action Days, when the issue of seasonal workers/employees generated a “deer in the headlights” look among many members of Congress and their staff members, Lucht said.

“At that time, so many of them had never heard about the issue,” he explained. “For many of them, I think Congressional Action Days was the first time they realized that [the confusing definitions] could be a big problem.”

Since then, SAF has led the charge on a coordinated push to move the issue up the congressional agenda, with significant success: Bipartisan bills to provide the needed fix have been introduced in both the House and Senate.

Stories from SAF members that capture the challenges created by the current bill have been critical to the effort to correct it, says Corey Connors, SAF’s senior director of government relations, who praised Lucht’s recent presentation to the packed room.

“Troy did a fantastic job representing his business and the floral industry,” he says. “To think that nine or 10 months ago, very few people were thinking about this issue at all and now we have two bills with bipartisan support and 79 congressional offices represented at one briefing? That’s moving the needle.”

Connors stresses that the work is far from complete.

“Now, more than ever, is a critical time to get out there and talk to people, tell your representatives and senators” why these issues matter to you and ask them to co-sponsor the House and Senate bills, he says. “Their ears are open. They’re listening.”

SAF makes it easy to contact lawmakers directly to ask them to co-sponsor the House and Senate versions of the STARS Act (H.R. 5213 and S. 2881). Visit the SAF website for a suggested message to send.

Source: Society of American Florists (SAF)


Leave a Reply

More From Finance/Operations...

April 20, 2018

Your Weekly Chance to Market the Positive Vibes That Flowers Bring

Each week between now and the end of the year, American Floral Endowment will post a new video promoting flowers.

Read More
Dual Income No Kids (DINK) Young Couple

April 10, 2018

Make Plans to Attend the NICH Annual Conference in Atlanta in June

Everyone in every aspect of consumer horticulture is invited to attend and help create a unified, strategic plan around industry-wide priorities.

Read More
2016 Massachusetts Horticultural Society Field Trials

March 31, 2018

Save the Date for the 2018 Northeast Greenhouse Conference

This year’s conference takes place Nov. 7-8, 2018, and offers growers a great opportunity to learn, share, and connect with other industry professionals.

Read More
Latest Stories

January 31, 2018

Online Education Empowers Employees to Succeed

See how UF/IFAS online certificate courses helped employees at Costa Farms get ahead with their jobs.

Read More

January 25, 2018

Why It’s Critical to Understand Your Real Costs o…

It’s time to stop guessing and start calculating when it comes to finding out what your real cost of production is, and pricing products accordingly.\

Read More

January 23, 2018

Learn How the New Tax Law Will Affect Your Greenhouse B…

AmericanHort will co-host a free “Comprehending the New Tax Law: webinar on Wednesday, Jan. 31, with K-Coe Isom, a national tax consulting leader.

Read More

January 15, 2018

Missouri Greenhouse Grower John Tomasovic Dies

The patriarch of Tomasovic Greenhouses & Nursery, Inc. in Des Peres, MO, was a legend in the plant industry, and widely involved in many associations.

Read More

January 15, 2018

Perennials Icon Louis Stacy Dies

The founder of the former Stacy's Greenhouses in York, SC, passed away on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

Read More
Charlie Hall Feature Image

January 9, 2018

AmericanHort Launches New Video Series on Profit Margin…

This week, AmericanHort is kicking off a four-part video series that offers perspectives on managing profit margins from AmericanHort’s Chief Economist, Dr. Charlie Hall.

Read More

January 9, 2018

What You Need to Know About the New Tax Bill

The United Fresh Produce Association, which represents the needs and interests of fruit and vegetable growers, recently updated its members on how the recent passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act might affect their businesses. Many of the insights provided by United Fresh also apply to greenhouse growers and nurseries.

Read More
Doug Cole, Owner of D.S. Cole Growers

January 4, 2018

D.S. Cole Growers Blazes Its Own Path to Growth

Known for its commitment to sustainability and innovation, this grower is one of the pioneering trailblazers changing the way horticulture does business.

Read More

December 31, 2017

Ag Exemption for New Trucking Regulation Still Under Re…

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s trucking electronic logging device mandate, which took effect on December 18, includes an Hours of Service exemption that may or may not apply to greenhouses and nurseries.

Read More
Tillandsia Air Plants (Plantiflor)

December 15, 2017

Bonsall Nursery Devastated By California Wildfire

Rainforest Flora lost its main greenhouses and outdoor growing property in the Lilac Fire in San Diego.

Read More

December 9, 2017

Southern California Wildfires Narrowly Miss Most Grower…

Here’s an update on horticulture businesses in the areas affected by the California wildfires.

Read More

December 5, 2017

Skagit Horticulture Builds New, Inclusive Business With…

By merging two large-scale producers, Skagit Gardens and Northwest Horticulture, the new company has realized its strengths through focused divisions that emphasize efficiency and success.

Read More

December 4, 2017

Raker-Roberta’s Young Plants Debuts as Roberta’s Finali…

On December 1, Eric Wallien of Roberta’s Inc. in Waldron, IN, officially purchased C. Raker & Sons in Litchfield, MI. The new identity of the company is now Raker-Roberta’s Young Plants, according to a Dec. 1 letter to Raker’s customers, suppliers, and business partners from Vice President Susie Raker-Zimmerman. “There have been minimal changes in management and we will be providing the same products and services on which we have built our reputation in the industry,” Raker-Zimmerman said in the letter, which also announced the name change and new logo. The sale of C. Raker & Sons was announced in September . A series of events affecting Raker’s financial situation caused the need for the operation to find an alternate solution. Roberta’s had been a customer of Raker’s since 2011, and the fourth generation, family owned grower-retailer was a fan of Raker’s commitment to quality. The agreement to purchase C. […]

Read More

October 10, 2017

Sharpen Your Skills in Cost Management and Profitabilit…

The University of Florida is offering a new online course on costing and profitability. The course will take growers through the process of how to accurately evaluate cost of production, labor efficiency, pricing, and equipment investment decisions.

Read More
Willoway Nurseries Team

October 1, 2017

How Willoway Nurseries Gets Its Staff Engaged in The Co…

Willoway Nurseries in Avon, OH, is creating a culture with people who think, act, and feel like owners. Learn how its team is taking the business to the next level.

Read More

September 21, 2017

Horticulture Is All About Connections

The beauty of our industry is that we are more than willing to reach out and help those around us. What connections can you make today to help your business, and what can you offer to help another grower?

Read More
Worker taking cuttings at Vivero Internacional.

September 11, 2017

Vivero Internacional Elevates Clean Cuttings to New Hei…

One of the last independent cutting operations, this fast-growing company raises the standard for delivering clean, high-quality unrooted cuttings.

Read More
Selecta Sponsor bed at Raker trial gardens

September 5, 2017

C. Raker & Sons Acquired By Roberta’s Unique Garden…

Ownership will change hands in December, and Raker will supply young plants for the 2018 season. Beyond that, leadership of the two operations say they are excited to move forward with a partnership that will continue to supply the industry, and gardeners, with top-quality plants.

Read More