Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.orgApril 8, 2010
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On the Inside
RECOVERY ACT
President Obama Issues Memo Concerning Noncompliant Recovery Act Recipients
HEALTH CARE
Save the Date – Health Care Webinar
TAX
IRS Releases Special Payroll Tax Exemption Forms
Energy Incentives on Congress’ Spring Agenda
TRANSPORTATION
AGC Prepares for EPA hearing on California’s Air Rule Request
AGC Urges Senators Not to Divert Funds Away from Highway Trust Fund
Transportation Construction Coalition Fly-In May 25-26, 2010
RECOVERY ACT
President Obama Issues Memo Concerning Noncompliant Recovery Act Recipients
 

On April 6, 2009 President Obama issued a new memorandum calling for federal agencies to further intensify their efforts to improved reporting compliance by prime recipients of Recovery Act funds. The memo directs those agencies to take appropriate action by terminating awards; pursuing measures such as suspension and debarment; reclaiming funds; and considering, initiating, and implementing punitive actions.

The Recovery Act requires contractors, grantees and loan recipients to submit to FederalReporting.gov quarterly information on how they are spending the funds. During the most recent quarter -- the final three months of 2009 -- more than 1,000 recipients failed to file the reports. More than 300 of those recipients made the board's "repeat offender" list for also neglecting to file during the initial reporting cycle last October.

According to the memo, OMB Director Peter Orszag will, within the next 30 days, review and update the administration's Recovery Act reporting guidance to include additional agency actions and oversight strategies.

The current reporting period began on April 1 and ends April 10. Recipients will have until April 29 to make corrections to their reports. The third batch of recipient data will be published on Recovery.gov on April 30.

For more information, contact Marco GIamberardino at (703) 837-5325 or giamberm@agc.org   Return to Top

HEALTH CARE
Save the Date – Health Care Webinar
 
  • What Impact Will the New Health Care Law Have on Construction Contractors?
  • Thursday, May 6, 2010
  • 1:00 PM EST

This AGC webinar will detail the recently enacted health care bill and the sweeping changes to the delivery of health care in the United States. Focusing on the impact on employers in the construction industry as well as their responsibilities and requirements to offer health care benefits to their employees,  AGC has partnered with a prestigious law firm experienced in this matter to analyze the impact of the bill on construction employers and suggest preparations that employers should begin implementing to comply with the new law. Plus, AGC will detail its advocacy efforts during the debate and AGC’s chief economist, Ken Simonson, will close out the event with a preview of the impact the legislation will have on the demand for future health care construction.

Registration information will be available in the coming days.  For additional guidance, please review AGC’s analysis here and here.

For more information, contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or youngj@agc.org   Return to Top

TAX
IRS Releases Special Payroll Tax Exemption Forms
 

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Wednesday released a new Form W-11, the affidavit individuals must complete to confirm that they are qualified employees under a new law that provides tax incentives for businesses hiring new workers.  The IRS also released a draft Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return, on which employers can claim the payroll tax exemption for eligible new hires beginning with the second calendar quarter of 2010.  The IRS announced that the final form will be released next month along with the form’s instructions.

Under the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, employers can receive an exemption from their 6.2 percent share of Social Security payroll taxes on wages paid to qualifying employees, effective for wages paid from March 19, 2010 through December 31, 2010.  To qualify, employees must fill out the new Form W-11 under penalty of perjury to certify they have not been employed for more than 40 hours during the 60-day period they were unemployed.

The HIRE Act also provides an additional income tax credit of up to $1,000 for every new employee retained for 52 weeks. 

The FAQs regarding the HIRE Act’s employer tax benefits are available at IRS’ website here.

For more information, contact Karen Lapsevic at (202) 547-4733 or lapsevick@agc.org Return to Top

Energy Incentives on Congress’ Spring Agenda
 

Congress is expected to return to a busy spring agenda that will include incentives to encourage energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to create jobs and reduce energy consumption and related emissions.  The House Ways and Means Committee next Wednesday is scheduled to hold a hearing on “Energy Tax Incentives Driving the Green Job Economy” to consider tax options for an energy bill that will be debated this summer.  The hearing also will examine the roughly $40 billion in energy incentives enacted in 2008 and 2009 for ethanol, biodiesel, wind, solar, electric vehicles, carbon capture, and energy efficiency activities.  Many of these incentives expire at the end of 2010 and up for possible renewal or modification. 

AGC is working with a number of organizations that jointly authored a letter circulating this week to the Ways and Means Committee in support of increasing the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction from $1.80 per square foot to $3.00 per square foot. 

In addition, AGC is supporting a legislation that would provide $6 billion in federal investment, through rebates and financing incentives, to cover about 30 percent of the cost of installing energy efficient products and/or providing energy efficiency-related services (such as energy audits) during 2010 in commercial and multifamily residential buildings.  On March 4, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced the proposal as the “Building STAR Energy Efficiency Rebate Act of 2010” (S. 3079).  It is estimated that funding for $6 billion for the Building STAR program would spur $18 to $24 billion in total spending, creating up to 200,000 jobs in the construction, manufacturing, and other related industries.  The program is designed to work quickly and includes simplified application procedures for building owners.

Building STAR is the companion to Home STAR, a similar rebate program for home owners being developed by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, held a hearing in March on both proposals. 

A House companion bill may be introduced shortly. 

AGC is a participating organization in the coalition that developed and is promoting Building STAR.

For more information, contact Karen Lapsevic at (202) 547-4733 or lapsevick@agc.org Return to Top

TRANSPORTATION
AGC Prepares for EPA hearing on California’s Air Rule Request
 

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has scheduled a hearing for April 14 in Washington to consider the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) request for a waiver to allow it to begin enforcing its off-road diesel equipment rule. The rule was originally scheduled to go into effect on March 1, 2010 but EPA never granted approval to CARB to move ahead with enforcement. AGC is preparing expert witness testimony asking EPA to deny California’s request.

This EPA action follows closely on the heels of a public hearing held by CARB on March 11 on the question of whether the off-road regulations should be further modified to account for the down economy and subsequent emissions reductions. AGC presented CARB with substantial empirical data demonstrating that the downturn in California’s economic conditions and the resulting drop in construction activity have made the rule unnecessary. AGC has pointed out that California’s own inventory data makes clear that off-road equipment operators will be well under the state’s aggressive diesel emissions limits for years to come without this rule.  AGC will make similar recommendations at the upcoming EPA hearing.

Unless blocked, the CARB rule will require California's contractors to retrofit, repower, retire and/or replace much of their off-road equipment. The Federal Clean Air Act grants unique authority to California to adopt its own clean air rules, including an off road diesel emissions rule. Other states are prohibited from developing their own regulations but may adopt California’s rules once EPA has approved them.  A study conducted by AGC shows that 32 states, including Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas, are poised to use the California requirements. Because of the impact on contractor’s nationwide, AGC joined with the AGC of California and San Diego AGC Chapter in a collective effort to stop the rule or significantly modify it.

For more information, contact Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or deeryb@agc.org Return to Top

AGC Urges Senators Not to Divert Funds Away from Highway Trust Fund
 

AGC along with other transportation industry groups sent a letter to Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) with a clear message that the climate and energy legislation they are currently drafting must place any revenue collected from a “carbon tax” on gasoline into the Highway Trust Fund.  It is widely anticipated that their bill will include such a tax that could be passed on to drivers when they purchase motor fuels.  AGC will continue to work with the Senators to ensure that any new fees placed on transportation fuels be dedicated to the Highway Trust Fund under a multi-year surface transportation authorization bill.  A copy of the letter can be found here.

For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at (202) 547-8892 or oneills@agc.org   Return to Top

Transportation Construction Coalition Fly-In May 25-26, 2010
 

While Congress has passed legislation to keep the highway and transit programs operating through the end of the year and provided funds to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent through the first quarter of 2011, much work still needs to be done. Senators and representatives need to understand the importance to your state’s transportation program, jobs and long term investment of enacting long-term well-funded highway and transit reauthorization legislation. The Transportation Construction Coalition has scheduled a Washington Fly-in for May 25-26, 2010 at the Capitol Hill Hyatt Regency to deliver the message: “Transportation Creates Jobs While Building the Future.” The Fly-in starts on May 25 with an AGC caucus at 11:00 am followed by a legislative briefing at 2:30 pm. CNN political commentator William Schneider will join key Congressional leaders in discussing the politics of getting the highway and transit bill passed. Schneider will also discuss the broad political landscape and upcoming elections. More information, including registration and hotel reservations, is available here.

For more information, contact Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or deeryb@agc.org Return to Top

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