Joe Dan Parson, Rescue Rooter, Texas (left), and Jo Rae Wagner, CTO Inc., Texas (right), meet with J.D. Hale, legislative correspondent for Texas Sen. John Cornyn.

About 150 chapter leaders and members of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors – National Association met in the nation’s capitol for the association’s annual Leadership and Legislative Conference, April 30-May 3.

The meeting also coincided with National Plumbing Industry Week, a special resolution passed by Congress in recognition of PHCC’s 125 years of service.

PHCC staff and members lobbied their local senators and representatives on various concerns to the contracting industry in particular and small businesses overall. This year, for example, members made the case for extending homeowner tax credits for installing high-efficiency appliances. Energy laws passed in 2005 included the credits, but those expired last Dec. 31. The Clean Energy Tax Stimulus Bill, currently led by Sen.Maria Cantwell(D-Washington) and Sen.John Ensign(R-Nevada) would extend these credits.

As in past conferences, members also lobbied for reforming immigration laws; ending a 3 percent withholding tax on federal-state-local government construction projects that’s scheduled to begin in 2011; permanently repealing estate taxes, which are currently under a phase-out until 2011 when the tax rates will revert to pre-repeal levels again; preventing utilities from unfairly competing for replacement and service work; and promoting small-business health plans to increase competition and reduce costs.

For the first time, the PHCC members joined with members of three other trade groups - the American Supply Association, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, and the Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International.

Members for all groups kicked off the day spent on Capitol Hill with a special rally to draw attention to water conservation.

“Water conservation is a national issue affecting each American and with everyone’s efforts, we can make a big difference,” saidJim Finley, president of the PHCC. “If each American makes one modification, we can save millions of gallons of water this summer.”