Southwestern News

1HomePageMap small sw 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Arizona, Utah, Arkansas, ColoradoTexas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana

Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) filed a new bill, S.B. No. 476, on February 1.

The bill would change current tax laws by reclassifying auto repair as a whole as a “retail trade” entity.

According to ASA Texas, automotive repair and collision shops owned and operated by new or used car dealerships are taxed at half the rate used to tax the independently owned shops doing identical work under current Texas Franchise Tax Code.

This is justified in the tax code by classifying dealership sales as “retail” and allowing their service and repair business to be included under that banner.

The Houston Auto Body Association (HABA) held their monthly meeting on February 1 at 7:00pm at Russell and Smith Collision Center in Houston.

Part of the night’s agenda was to have an open discussion with the 25 or 30 members in attendance and the HABA Board Members about conducting a labor rates survey in the Houston area and which company should do this.

“We are currently getting bids from independent survey companies to conduct a labor rate survey in Houston and surrounding areas,” said HABA’s President, James Brown, “We strongly disagree with the insurance industries determination of what the prevailing rate is in our area.”

Freezing temperatures, snow and sleet pummeled parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana as it made its way northeast earlier this month. The storm hit hardest from January 31 through February 3 and again on February 9 and 10, although the threat of snow loomed through the area for most of the month.

In New Orleans, a mix of rain and sleet fell on the city's northern districts and outlying neighborhoods. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency January 27 in anticipation of the weather, activating the state's Crisis Action Team to monitor possible hazardous conditions that could affect parts of the state. State government offices in 55 Louisiana parishes were closed on January 28 because of the wintry weather, according to reports made by CNN.

The snow hit hardest in Oklahoma, as residents continued to slowly dig out of 20 inches of snow, sleet and ice that shut down major interstates and forced the closure of airports, businesses and schools.

New Okalhoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak appointed Randy Brogdon to the Deputy Insurance Commissioner Consumer Affairs Division in early January. Brogdon quickly found that the Oklahoma Insurance Department's (OID) anti-fraud division spent most of its time looking at citizens allegedly committing fraud, not insurance companies allegedly committing fraud. Brogdon's main focus is the anti-fraud division.

Commissioner Doak felt that the Oklahoma Insurance Department had "lost sight of its core mission," according to Public Information Officer Shawn Ashley.

The 10th Annual International Mobile Tech Expo was held at the Richard Borchard Fairgrounds in Robstown, Texas, last month.

January 20 was education day , while January 21 and 22 held the expo itself. January 23 also held a few classes as well as the 2nd Annual MTE Golf Outing at the NorthShore Country Club in Portland as a wrap-up for the event.

On display at the expo was a complete array of new products, services and business opportunities that automotive appearance specialists are looking for.

The Northwest Louisiana Collision Repair Association had Caddo Career and Technology Center speak at their January meeting about their job shadowing program.

Caddo looks to place interns in their auto collision and automotive technology programs into positions in the field while in their junior and senior years at the school. The job shadowing program allows students to be an apprentice for a day at a local participating business and hopes to place students with those businesses for a more long-term study.

Buddy Anderson with the Caddo Career & Technology Center was at the NWLCRA meeting and said Caddo received great support from the local Collision Center's for the job shadowing program. Caddo would like to speak at NWLCRA meetings at least 3 more times before the end of the year to promote more Shops to get involved. The purpose is to have a student from the Caddo Career & Technology Center go to the participating Shop (Collision, Automotive, Glass, etc.) and "shadow" someone by being an apprentice for a day.