Welcome to 2021!

jk.jpgBy Ronnie Miles, NGCOA Director of Advocacy

This was a year that none of us will forget. For many in our industry, it was a year of tremendous growth in individuals playing the game of golf. Our clubs found their place as being a haven for family-based activities. However, we were not without challenges. Our food and beverage business was the victim of the state and local executive orders that prohibited indoor activities and minimal group gatherings. So what might 2021 have in store for our industry?

Washington, D.C., will look different. As I write this, the runoff in the Georgia Senate race remains undecided. Should the Republicans lose both races, the Democrats will control the Senate, as they won the White House. So this would provide the Democrats with a much easier path to redress many of the legislative initiatives passed in the House in 2020 that failed to receive a hearing in the Senate.

The incoming Congress will include at least six new U.S. Senators and 60 U.S. Representatives. This small number of fresh faces provides us both opportunities and challenges. Will these members know how the golf industry affects their state, and districts? Educating these new members will be a priority for our We Are Golf coalition. We encourage members to invite your new Representatives or Senators to visit your property and share how their decisions affect your business.

While the coronavirus vaccine rollout will be well underway, an economic stimulus package will remain a front-burner issue. If the 116th Congress fails to correct the Paycheck Protection Loans’ tax liability, we will be encouraging the 117th Congress to make the fix retroactive for the 2020 business tax year.

The new Biden administration will set the Democratic plan for the next four years. So what can we expect? Based on his campaign promises, we can see greater participation in his tax and labor policies drafted with union influence. Will the Green Party impact his environmental policies? Will he overturn Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) Rule?  What level of additional Coronavirus help will he propose?

While the Georgia Senate race will decide the majority in the U.S. Senate, in the U.S. House, Democrats retained a 219 to 203 seat majority with a few district races still undecided. Hopefully this slim margin will cause more bipartisan legislation than we have seen in the past.

President-elect Biden has publicly endorsed a national $15 minimum wage increase. NGCOA does not support a 48% increase in the minimum wage. As we learned from the last wage and benefit study, most industry pay positions exceed $15—higher wages varied by region and state—two concerns of a mandated increase to owners and operators. One is will workers in high-cost areas demand a higher minimum? The other is how to migrate the existing workforce into a new pay scale?  NGCOA supports state and local communities in setting the pay level for their workforce.

NGCOA will continue to monitor the new administration and Congress’s agendas to set our plan for education and advocacy, ensuring we represent our industry’s position in their policy development.