Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org November 4, 2010
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On the Inside
ELECTION
Election Night Recap
Ballot Initiatives Impacting Construction Industry
Republican Leaders Begin to Detail Priorities for 112th Congress
TAX
AGC Files Comments on FASB Multiemployer Disclosure Draft
FEDERAL
GSA Moves to LEED Gold Standard for All New Federal Buildings
ELECTION
Election Night Recap
 

Republicans gained a net of 63 seats so far on Tuesday night, putting the House at 239 Republican seats, 186 Democratic seats, and 10 seats uncalled (list below).  The current Senate breakdown is 52 to 46 (Republicans picked up 6 so far) with 2 states – Washington and Alaska – yet to be finalized.

The AGC PAC contributed more than $1,000,000 to 252 candidates.  So far, AGC has contributed to 209 winners or a win percentage of about 83 percent.  That number will continue to be adjusted as the undecided races come in.

The likely incoming Republican chairmen of major House committees (Appropriations, Education and Labor, Transportation and Ways and Means) were all supported by the AGC PAC and by contractors in their states. 

The House Republican victory is the biggest seat gain by either party since 1948, which was the year of President Harry Truman’s reelection.  By campaigning against the Republican-held Congress, President Truman delivered 75 seats to the Democrats.  Since then, the biggest gain had been the 1994 Republican wave of 54 seats.

Read yesterday's special Construction Legislative Week in Review post-election analysis.

Interesting Election Facts
Tuesday’s election made the GOP more diverse. The new House Republican class includes two African-Americans – Tim Scott (S.C.) and Allen West (Fla.). An Indian-American woman – Nikki Haley – won the South Carolina governorship. Six Hispanics, including Marco Rubio (Fla.) in the Senate, Gov.-elect Susana Martinez (N.M.) and Brian Sandoval (Nev.), and Quico Canseco (Texas), Bill Flores (Texas) and Raul Labrador (Idaho) in the House.

Unaffiliated voters, yet again, made the difference in this election. After siding with Democrats by 18 points in 2006 and with President Obama by 8 points in 2008, Republicans won independents by 16 points on Tuesday. That stunning 34-point swing in the space of four years suggests that independents are loosely aligned with either party and makes courting them all the more important heading into 2012.

Former Congressmen Steve Chabot (Ohio), Steve Pearce (N.M.) Tim Walberg (Mich.), Mike Fitzpatrick (Pa.) and Charlie Bass (N.H.) all reclaimed their old House seats two or four years after they initially lost them.

Because committee chairs have longevity on their side, they typically have little to worry about.  But Tuesday’s election saw three committee chairs retired by the voters:  Reps. Ike Skelton (Mo.), John Spratt (S.C.) and Jim Oberstar (Minn.), who chair the Armed Services, Budget and Transportation committees, respectively.

Seats Left to Call

  • Washington Senate Patty Murray and Challenger Dino Rossi
  • Alaska Senate incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski ran a write-in campaign supported by AGC Alaska and its members, and now appears to be leading Republican Tea Party candidate Joe Miller.
  • AZ-07 (Raul Grijalva) and Challenger: Ruth McClung
  • AZ-08 (Gabrielle Giffords) and Challenger: Jesse Kelly
  • CA-11 (Jerry McNerney) and Challenger: Dave Harmer
  • CA-20 (Jim Costa) and Challenger: Andy Vidak
  • KY-06 (Ben Chandler) and Challenger: Andy Barr
  • IL-08 (Melissa Bean) and Challenger: Maria Rodriguez
  • NY-25 (Dan Maffei) and Challenger: Ann Marie Buerkle
  • TX-27 (Solomon Ortiz) and Challenger: Blake Farenthold
  • VA-11 (Gerry Connolly) and Keith Fimian
  • WA-02 (Rick Larsen) and Challenger: John Koster

2012 Election Cycle
The 2012 Election cycle started yesterday, but it is never too early in the cycle to find out how to become active with the AGC PAC. For more information contact Blair Hood at hoodb@agc.org or (202) 547-5013.

In addition to the president and all 435 House seats, the following Senators will face the voters in 2012. Republicans may pick up seats next election because they have an advantage just from the line up with 23 Democrats (including two independents who vote with the Democrats) and only 10 Republicans facing the voters in 2012. 

Democrats

Republicans

Akaka, Daniel K. (D-HI)

Barrasso, John (R-WY)

Bingaman, Jeff (D-NM)

Brown, Scott P. (R-MA)

Brown, Sherrod (D-OH)

Corker, Bob (R-TN)

Cantwell, Maria (D-WA)

Ensign, John (R-NV)

Cardin, Benjamin L. (D-MD)

Hatch, Orrin G. (R-UT)

Carper, Thomas R. (D-DE)

Hutchison, Kay Bailey (R-TX)

Casey, Robert P., Jr. (D-PA)

Kyl, Jon (R-AZ)

Conrad, Kent (D-ND)

Lugar, Richard G. (R-IN)

Feinstein, Dianne (D-CA)

Snowe, Olympia J. (R-ME)

Gillibrand, Kirsten E. (D-NY)

Wicker, Roger F. (R-MS)

Joe Manchin (D-WV)


Independents

Klobuchar, Amy (D-MN)

Lieberman, Joseph I. (ID-CT)

Kohl, Herb (D-WI)

Sanders, Bernard (I-VT)

McCaskill, Claire (D-MO)


Menendez, Robert (D-NJ)

Nelson, Ben (D-NE)

Nelson, Bill (D-FL)

Stabenow, Debbie (D-MI)

Tester, Jon (D-MT)

Webb, Jim (D-VA)

Whitehouse, Sheldon (D-RI)


For more information, contact Blair Hood at (202) 547-5013 or hoodb@agc.org.


Return to Top
Ballot Initiatives Impacting Construction Industry
 

On Tuesday, voters across the country voted on ballot initiatives that will raise revenue for transportation, transit and other infrastructure programs. Despite the economic conditions, measures passed include increases in sales taxes, property taxes and vehicle registration fees to finance roads and transit projects. A number of school districts and localities issued increases in bonds for construction.

The success of many of the these measures and the increase in the number of measures over the last several years may be a result of tightening state and local budgets to finance these projects, as well as the uncertainty surrounding the federal government’s multi-year commitment to funding them. According to the Center for Transportation Excellence, 77 percent of transportation ballot measures passed in 2010. On Election Day, an additional $500 million in funding was approved.

Highlights include $997 million in bonds in Alaska. Proposition A, $600 million, will provide funds for veteran residential mortgages and Proposition B will provide $397.2 million in bonds for library, educational and research facilities.

A statewide ballot initiative was rejected by voters in Alabama. The constitutional amendment would have provided $10 billion over 10 years for road, bridge and transportation-related construction.

Arizona localities issued bonds: Mesa ($201.7 million), Scottsdale School District ($118 million) and Kyrene Elementary School District 28 ($116.95 million).

In California five localities (Alameda County, Marin County, San Francisco, San Mateo County and Santa Clara County) approved $10 increases in vehicle registration fees, with most revenue going toward transportation projects including road repair, congestion relief and transit operations. Also, California voters approved more than $600 million in community college bonds and about $2 billion for California School districts. Districts successful in passing bonds include Ohlone Community College ($349 million), San Jose Evergreen Community College ($268 million), San Marcos ( $287 million), Fresno ($280 million), Berkeley ($210 million), San Mateo Union High ($186 million), Anaheim City ($169.3 million), South San Francisco ( $163 million), Atascadero ($117 million) Monterey Peninsula ($110 million), Pittsburg ($100 million), Centinela Valley Union High ($98 million), Emery ($95 million) and Rialto USD ($98 million).  Contra Costa and Sonoma, Calif., rejected $10 increases in vehicle registration fees that would have generated revenue for roads and transit operations, while two school districts rejected bond issues: Western Placer ($163 million) and Claremont ($95 million). Also in California, bonds backed by marijuana taxes failed when Proposition 19 was rejected.

Colorado voters rejected Amendment 61, which would have banned borrowing by the state, and Amendment 60, which would have reduced property taxes. Proposition 101 failed and it would have reduced income, vehicle registration fees and other taxes that could have jeopardized future transportation funding.

In Florida, Hillsborough County and Polk County rejected increases in the sales tax for expanded transit and road improvements.

The statewide measure in Idaho that allows airports to issue debt for improvements in facility, equipment and property was approved.

Maryland voters in Baltimore County approved $284.9 million in bonds, including $68.1 million for streets and highways. Prince George’s Country approved $267.8 million in bonds, including $62.3 million for streets and highways.

Duluth school district in Minnesota rejected a bond measure ($128 million).

New Mexico voters rejected a bond measure ($155.6 million).

Charlotte, North Carolina issued bonds ($203.6 million).

Oregon voters rejected a bond measure ($125 million).

Horry County, South Carolina voters approved dedicated funding for transit systems.

Texas voters approved more than $1.5 billion in bonds for school districts and infrastructure. Austin approved $90 million for streets, sidewalks, bikes, trails and transit projects, while Sand Antonio Independent School District approved $515 million, Katy school district approved $459.8 million and Cypress Waters Municipal Management District approved $180 million, all for a fresh water supply district. Voters in Judson school district approved ($198.8 million) and Midland County ($375 million) rejected bonds issues.

Virginia voters approve bonds for transportation plan and other projects: Fairfax County ($120 million) and Arlington Country ($102.888 million).

Bellingham, Washington voters approved a sales tax increase for transportation projects.

There were some taxes for transit defeated in Wisconsin referendums.

These bond and tax measures are a sampling of the results AGC is tracking through various news sources. If you or your Chapter were involved in a local measure and would like to add it to our list to be highlighted in future newsletters, please let us know.

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

Republican Leaders Begin to Detail Priorities for 112th Congress
 

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) detailed on November 3 plans on how the incoming Republican Majority would govern the House of Representatives when the 112th Congress convenes in January 2011. He also announced that he will be running for the position of House Majority Leader for the 112th Congress.

In a document titled Delivering on Our Commitment: A Majority to Limit Government and Create Jobs, Leader Cantor said the House will make a sustained effort on job creation and reducing government spending, put in place a new standard for prioritizing legislation, and explained how the Congress will strengthen oversight.

The first effort will call for a comprehensive review of existing and proposed government rules, regulations and statutes that impose additional, unnecessary costs on employers and job creators. The second component addressing reducing spending will be a thorough examination of earmark reform, implementation of the “You Cut” initiative, entitlement reform and a review of president Obama’s health care act. The final component will revise practices for bringing legislation to the House floor, reform the legislative calendar and schedule, and enhance the oversight powers of Congressional committees to bring about real reform.

The House of Representatives will return to address leadership changes for the 112th Congress the week of November 16.

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

TAX
AGC Files Comments on FASB Multiemployer Disclosure Draft
 

AGC submitted comments Monday on the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) proposed accounting standard that would require the disclosure of withdraw liability from multiemployer pension plans on company financials. AGC’s comments urge FASB to withdraw the Exposure Draft and reconsider the proposal.

AGC’s concerns with the Exposure Draft (ED) are extensive. The draft under-appreciates the costs associated with compliance and overestimates the relevancy of the information that would be provided if the ED were to go into effect as written.  Any information included will be neither timely nor accurately reflective of the financial impact of participating in a multiemployer plan.  The draft significantly underestimates the complexity of the relationship between employers and multiemployer plans, as well as the importance of the construction industry exemption that makes almost any liability merely theoretical rather than material. 

To read AGC’s comment letter, click here. AGC also joined a group of employer organizations in submitting supplemental comments to the FASB. In addition, AGC and several AGC Chapters signed on to a business community letter led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  To view the letter, click here.

To read all of the comment letters submitted to the FASB, including several submitted by AGC Chapters and member companies, click here.

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

FEDERAL
GSA Moves to LEED Gold Standard for All New Federal Buildings
 

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) on October 28 announced it is upgrading the requirement from LEED Silver to LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council as a minimum in all new federal building construction and substantial renovation projects.

For projects funded prior to FY 2010 that are in design, GSA is requiring that LEED Gold be incorporated into ongoing designs where possible, after considering budget and schedule constraints on the current design and construction contracts. GSA's Facilities Standards will be updated to reflect these changes by the end of calendar year 2010. For GSA's leased properties, the requirement remains at the LEED Silver certification for new construction lease projects of 10,000 square feet or more. For leases in existing buildings, LEED for Commercial Interiors is optional, at the request of the tenant agencies. GSA administers more than 361 million square feet of space in 9,600 federally-owned and leased facilities.

AGC is in contact with GSA and will be meeting with the agency soon to gain additional information about these important changes.

To see an overview of GSA’s Sustainable Design Program, click here.

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

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