February 3, 2012
Dear NJGCA Member:
Here's what you'll find in this edition of the NJGCA Road Warrior, and thank you for reading:
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE: GREETINGS & SAL-UTATIONS!
•USDOL not going away, MVC finger print biometrics, and More!
NEWS AROUND THE STATE
•Plans for mid-Atlantic wind farm advances
•Gas prices remain high due to foreign demand
•Governor proposes major revamp of higher education
•State drivers avoiding toll roads
TRAINING CLASS SCHEDULE
•Interested in taking a class? Contact us today!
•Regency Property Appraisers: Serving all your appraisal needs in NJ, NY, and beyond!
MEET THE FOLKS AT LIBERTY GAS
•Looking for a new brand for your station? Take a look at the opportunity below!
MEMBER BENEFIT PARTNER MESSAGE
•TMP Energy Solutions: Another Way to Save On Your Energy Bills!
A SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM BELLOMO FUELS
•Serving New Jersey since 1910 -- Over 100 years of supplying gasoline retailers like YOU!
POLITICAL PARTICIPATON: THE NJGCA PAC
•Participate in the NJGCA PAC today and help us keep our Agenda rolling in Trenton!
THE MEMBER TOOL BOX
•On the NJGCA Homepage
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE: GREETINGS & SAL-UTATIONS!
USDOL NOT GOING AWAY
MVC FINGER PRINT BIOMETRICS
IRS FORM 1099 CLARIFICATION
THE POLICY PATROL
We are all creatures of habit and sometimes the hardest thing we can do is change. In business, that can be especially difficult, especially when we’ve conducted ourselves or operated our business in a certain way for years without any obstacles.
However, just because you’ve done something for years and thought it was ‘right’ doesn’t mean that you were doing it correctly.
That’s certainly the case with certain compensation practices that have become ‘routine’ in our industry, and the recent crackdown by officials at USDOL. For those of you who attended our Calibration & Regulatory Seminars in the fall, you had a front row seat to a USDOL presentation that outlined how serious this problem can be.
Joe Petrecca, the North Jersey District Director for USDOL’s Wage and Hour Division, explained to our members that two things were certain for our industry in New Jersey: 1). Investigations were going to continue until they visited every service station and repair shop in the state, and 2). USDOL was going to send a letter to the same stations and shops officially explaining what they are looking for and what to do to correct possible issues. Part of the reason they were sending these letters out was to prevent anyone from saying ‘I didn’t know I was doing it improperly’ --- you can’t have an excuse when you’ve been notified, get it?
Many of you have reported that the letters have arrived at your stores, yet it seems others have not yet received the letter. You can review the letter and information, as well as the press release that was originally sent out, by clicking HERE
Since USDOL has set out on their mission to visit every gas station and make sure they are complying with federal law, a number of stations have been fined for employing unlawful compensation practices. While I’ve gone on record multiple times that I don’t agree with the law, it doesn’t mean that you or I can just ignore the rules and do what we want. Rather, the law should be followed so as to avoid fines and keep them from reaching into your pocket! That’s both business smart and common sense!
I know I’ve been a broken record on this issue, but it’s not without good reason. I keep on reminding you about this because it’s a serious issue – and one that is both costly and burdensome if you deliberately ignore it. If you haven’t changed your payroll practices yet, do so immediately. You should consult with your accountant, and if you don’t have one, call us immediately so we can get you help.
In the last edition of our On The Road publication, we reproduced a number of questions and answers from USDOL that many found useful. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to read this segment on page 17 of the January On The Road, or click HERE to review it.
However, there’s another reason to stop any poor practices and start complying with the law. In everyday life, when you break the law unintentionally, perhaps officials will let you slide for not understanding the rules of the game. When you do know the rules and you continue to break the law, you’re almost asking to get slapped with a citation. It’s almost like getting pulled over two days in a row on the same stretch of road for doing 50 in a 25 -- the first day the officer is likely to let you go with a warning if you didn’t see the speed limit sign, but on the second day you’re almost begging for the ticket.
The idea applies here. You could have been unknowingly employing poor practices for years and only became recently aware there was a problem. While escaping a fine entirely for bad past practices isn’t likely, it is possible that USDOL will look upon any recent efforts you’ve made to comply with the law more favorably if you do start today! Correcting those practices can also make the difference in the length of time that USDOL will go back audit your payroll records. Isn’t that worth it?
As in anything else, please give me a call if you have any questions!
On Wednesday I met with MVC officials in Trenton and, once again, the issue of inspector biometrics was once again on the agenda.
Many of you have received warning letters from MVC because you are bypassing the biometric fingerprinting system. I’ve heard from a number of members complaining about how the biometric system is spotty and doesn’t work consistently. I know it’s a pain in the behind and that it’s another step you have to take to start inspecting customers’ vehicles. However, sometimes the only way to win at ‘their game’ is to play by ‘their rules’ – and that’s certainly applicable here.
More troubling, however, is that new incidents of abuse have been reported in which some shops are entering inspector ID numbers for former-employee inspectors who no longer work at the proprietor’s shop! Besides the fact that this violates state statures, it also guarantees that you’re going to get a deeper look from MVC officials who are more likely to spot some administrative hiccup to fine your shop! Why would you invite that onto yourself?
To start fixing this problem, we’ve got to follow procedures and build a case that the devices are faulty. That means, use the biometric fingerprinting first. If it doesn’t work, then we need to have it documented so we can properly cite the incident and get SGS out to your shop to diagnose the problem.
Trust me, I get the fact that it’s a hassle and that it doesn’t work, but I can’t make my case without any documentation or proof. However, when MVC looks at their records at the end of the month and they see the biometrics weren’t used at all, then it makes my job harder! Help me fix the issue, not make the situation worse!
A few members called me this inquire about an article I wrote in the January On The Road regarding tax policy. To shed light on something stated in the article, I wanted to offer clarification on some ‘new’ 1099 rules.
When Obamacare was passed into law a few years back, part of the rules required that all businesses file a 1099 for any services, invoice, or similar transaction over $600 a year in aggregate payments. This caused a huge uproar in the business community and especially among small business owners.
However, the law was recently amended and, by and large, these forms will no longer need to be submitted. So essentially, the ‘new’ law is that the ‘old’ law is back in place. That is, if you were previously required to send out a 1099 for a contractor who comes in regularly, then you still need to do that each year. But, the rule that you were to send out 1099’s for just about any transaction that totaled $600 or more a year is no longer going to be imposed on you. While this is good news for any small business owner, and will save you huge paperwork headaches at the end of the year, please consult with your accountant or tax professional!
In this week’s Policy Patrol, we have on The Radar Screen more about the just introduced S-1243, sponsored by Senator Joe Vitale (D-Middlesex) and Senator Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic). This bill would mandate that the difference between your cash price and credit price can only be 4%. We all know the way government works, once they start restricting your business one way, they’ll keep tightening the noose until they’ve eliminated cash/credit pricing completely. This week I sent a letter to the sponsors of the bill and sent copies to the other members of the Senate, especially the Senate Transportation Committee. You can read the letter yourself by clicking HERE. Rest assured, we will be fighting this bill and any others which would restrict or eliminate you’re ability to provide a discounted price for customers who pay with cash.
Of course, this week’s Policy Patrol also includes other State Street Shenanigans (AKA The Manure Pile). However, in honor of Groundhog Day, we thought to repeat last week’s message. These idea are so silly, we couldn’t help but reprint’em: Let’s start off with S-170, which “requires cemeteries to implement woodchuck management strategies”. Do we really need a law to cover this? Now I think if we, as a state, have managed to make it this far without requiring cemeteries to implement a groundhog management strategy (whatever the hell that means), then we can survive a bit longer, at least until our property taxes are lower. And to think, these are the people who we pay to govern us…
I will share each week in my message another piece of silly feel good legislation that legislators see fit to introduce. You can at least get a laugh. Please know that this is not a joke. These bills are real bills!
Thanks for listening - See you next week!
NEWS AROUND THE STATE
Plans for mid-Atlantic wind farm advances
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar approved an environmental study for a wind farm along the mid-Atlantic coast. The proposed windmill installations will stretch from Virginia to New Jersey. Though still being developed, the approval of the environmental impact report is a major hurdle in seeing the project completed. Click above to read the full article.
Gas prices remain high due to foreign demand
According to a new report, US gasoline consumption has fallen under 8 million barrels a day, a volume last seen in January 2001. However, prices remain high despite the dip in demand due to the growing economies of developing nations such as China, India, and Brazil, which continue to consume petroleum products. Read the full piece above.
Governor proposes major revamp of higher education
A task forced charged with studying how to improve higher education in New Jersey has delivered a report that would overhaul the state’s public universities to make them more attractive for research grants and donations. Under the proposal, which has been endorsed by Governor Christie, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey would be split into pieces and reconsolidated with other state entities. The plan calls for portions of the former UMDNJ with Rutgers University, part with Rowan University, and other portions to be recombined into a new Health Sciences University. The plan also calls for combining Rutgers-Camden with Rowan University. Read full details above.
State drivers avoiding toll roads
With tolls rising 50 percent, many drivers are looking for alternative routes to get around the Garden State. Officials from the New Jersey Turnpike Authority state that traffic on the state's two major toll roads dropped when compared to the same period a year ago. However, while the drop is bad news for state coffers, authorities say they anticipated a higher drop due to the increase in toll fares.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ARTICLES IN OUR “NEWS AROUND THE STATE” ARCHIVE
-ALL CLASSES WILL BE HELD AT NJGCA HEADQUARTERS-
66 Morris Avenue - Springfield, NJ 07081 (Union County)
PLEASE NOTE: FUTURE DATES WILL BE ADDED UPON REQUEST AND ACCORDING TO DEMAND. CONTACT DEBBIE at 973-376-0066 or DEBBIE@NJGCA.ORG TO LET HER KNOW YOU ARE INTERESTED IN TAKING A SPECIFIC CLASS. THIS WILL ALLOW US TO GAUGE YOUR NEEDS AND KEEP TRACK OF THOSE WISHING TO PARTICIPATE!!
MEMBER BENEFIT PARTNER MESSAGE
TMP Energy Solutions
Another Way to Save on Your Energy Bills
We have had a number of NJGCA members successfully reduce their rate per kWh signing up through our energy saving program. We know it’s difficult to collect 12 months worth of previous electric bills to get an “accurate” analysis when comparing a variable rate to a fixed rate, but we now have another option available.
This new solution is a power purchase option; the other program is still in full force and has saved members thousands of dollars. If you sign up for the power purchase option, you will be grouped with other NJGCA members until the minimum KW demand is acquired. By pooling the member’s usage together, you will be able to take advantage, as large energy users do, and receive a lower kWh rate.
Each member will receive their own contract. Each member is responsible to sign and return the agreement the day it is received in order to secure the price for their group.
Please do your due diligence, so when you receive the proposal and the agreement you will be able to make an intelligent decision.
If by chance, you still want us to assess you bills, to give you a price to compare, we will require12 months of your most recent utility bills.
There are no bills required, but we would still like to have one bill per meter on file to check account #’s, meter #’s service addresses and other pertinent information incase there is a problem.
The term of the agreement is for 12 months. During this term period, you will have price protection against any energy price increases along with a low fixed kWh rate.
If you are interested in becoming part of this power purchase option, please contact Phil Apruzzi at the NJGCA.
Remember when you sign up your energy through the NJGCA Energy Program, TMP makes a considerable donation to the NJGCA Scholarship Fund through their proceeds. This has no affect on your rate, and costs you nothing out of pocket.
We hope to help hundreds of NJGCA members reduce their utility costs by participating in this and our other cost reduction programs. Our purpose, in the endeavor, is to help NJGCA members lower their energy costs while supporting the NJGCA Scholarship Fund.
Contact Phil Apruzzi at 973-376-0066 or email Phil at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mention that you are interested in saving money on your energy bills. NJGCA & TMP Energy Solutions will handle all the rest.
POLITICAL PARTICIPATON: THE NJGCA PAC
DEFENDING OUR MEMBERS.
PROTECTING YOUR INTERESTS.
ANSWER THE CALL & CONTRIBUTE TODAY!!
Promoting our agenda in Trenton is of utmost importance to NJGCA and our members.
To truly understand the importance of supporting our allies, consider our successes in Trenton:
However, in order to truly affect the debate, we must ensure our friends in the Legislature are re-elected. It is for this reason that your Association has established the NJGCA PAC.
For too long, the weight of funding our Political Action Committee, the arm of the Association responsible for political donations, has rested upon a few. This is not only unfair to those few members who have shouldered this burden, but means we are not utilizing our full strength to affect the debate in Trenton.
We defeated BELOW COST SELLING
We made history in getting FIRST RIGHT OF REFUSAL signed into law!
We have built large support for RIGHT TO REPAIR and got it passed out of the Assembly
We defended your small business against the false accusations of Attorney General Anne Milgram
We gained wide support to move New Jersey to an all PIF Inspection System and close the CIF lanes
...and MUCH MORE!!
In each instance, we achieved these goals with the help of our friends in the Legislature!
If every member contributes just $100.00 we will be able to provide the help necessary to ensure victory for our allies.
PLEASE SEND YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO:
66 Morris Avenue
Springfield, NJ 07081
Please make your donation payable to NJGCA PAC
I understand that times are tough for all NJGCA members, but this is just as important as any battle we have fought in the past.
We have made great progress in Trenton. I hope that you will answer the call.
THE MEMBER TOOL BOX
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