Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org August 11, 2011
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On the Inside
ADVOCACY
AGC Urges Member Push on 3 Percent Withholding During August
With 3 Percent Withholding Tax, and Budget Cuts, AGC Encourages Membership to Talk to Legislators
BUDGET
Deficit Reduction Committee Taking Shape
TRANSPORTATION
Highway and Transit Program Face Crucial September 30 Deadline
FAA Shutdown Ends
AGC EVENTS
Register and Save Now for the 15th Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference
Registration Open for AGC’s Joint Highway and Utilities Contractors Issues Meeting
ADVOCACY
AGC Urges Member Push on 3 Percent Withholding During August
 

As elected officials in Washington return to their districts for the August recess, AGC urges its members and chapters to contact their Senators and Representatives to ask that they co-sponsor legislation to repeal the 3 percent withholding mandate.


To date, 221 Representatives – more than half of the U.S. House – has signed on in support of a bill that would repeal the 3 percent withholding mandate; and there are 29 Senators behind similar legislation in the U.S. Senate.  However, despite this strong showing of support, Congress has yet to schedule debate on this issue.   


AGC members and the construction industry have been at the forefront of the repeal campaign.  AGC continues to ask its members to contact their elected officials and to reach out to local stakeholders and state and local agencies to let them know how 3 percent withholding will affect their businesses and why it should be repealed. 


Use AGC’s 3 percent withholding website to find additional resources including talking points, IRS regulations, videos on the impact of this legislation, letters sent to Congress by AGC, and ways to become involved.  Please continue to make contact with your legislators and encourage your employees to do the same by using AGC’s Legislative Action Center.


For a list of cosponsors in your state, please click here.


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

With 3 Percent Withholding Tax, and Budget Cuts, AGC Encourages Membership to Talk to Legislators
 

As the prolonged budget battle wrapped up last week, the construction industry still faces legislative hurdles and must remain active to protect its interests. Now is the perfect time for contractors to reach out to their legislators while they spend time in their district offices meeting with constituents.

The industry has already seen construction programs taking a disproportionate share of budget cuts in 2011. The industry also faces far more tax uncertainty in 2013 when the 3 percent withholding tax will be implemented. Congress needs to increase efficiency and reduce costs while still delivering the construction projects the country needs. With more than half of the U.S. House of Representatives supporting 3 percent repeal legislation, it is essential for Congress to repeal the tax now. Repeal would give contractors more certainty when making capital purchases, hiring and bid decisions.

Finally, it is important to note that the proposed spending caps in the deficit legislation only impact discretionary budget authority and will be felt in all federal construction programs in this category.  Construction programs funded from the Highway Trust Fund and the FAA Airport Improvement Program do not appear to be subject to these caps because these are trust fund programs which are considered a form of mandatory budget authority.  While this does not guarantee that these programs will escape cuts in 2012, multi-year reauthorizations of these programs would give the industry and state departments of transportation the certainty they need to properly invest in the nation’s infrastructure.

In preparation for AGC’s annual National Chapter Leadership Meeting in September, AGC will be hosting a webinar for registered members outlining the critical issues and deadlines facing the industry and how to communicate our needs with legislators at the Sept. 13 meeting.

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

BUDGET
Deficit Reduction Committee Taking Shape
 

A key component of the recently passed Budget Control Act of 2011, is the creation of a Joint Select Committee in Deficit Reduction that will be tasked with cutting spending between $1.2 and $1.5 trillion from federal programs to increase the debt ceiling beyond the initial increase of $900 billion.  The committee will be made up of 12 Members of Congress – three Republicans and three Democrats from both the House and Senate.

All four of the leadership offices have announced their selections to serve on the committee. Serving as co-chairs are Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).  Both Hensarling and Murray are members of their respective chamber’s leadership teams.  The Senate committee members are; John Kerry (D-MA), Max Baucus (D-MT), Pat Toomey (R-PA), John Kyl (R-AZ) and Rob Portman (R-OH).  Along with Co-Chairman Hensarling, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) named Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI) and Dave Camp (R-MI) to serve on the committee. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has named Representatives James Clyburn (D-SC), Xavier Becerra (D-CA), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

The joint committee will be asking for recommendations from each House and Senate committee on cost cutting measures for programs within their jurisdiction by Oct. 14.  Following that, the committee has 40 days (Nov. 23) to report their final product to the full Congress.  Once the House and Senate have received the report they have until Dec. 23 to have an up or down vote on the plan.  If the committee fails to meet their deadlines or the plan fails to pass the House or Senate, the spending cuts will automatically go into effect through a process known as sequestration.

AGC and its members have strong relationships with many of the members of the joint committee and will meet with them to discuss the importance of construction spending in a final package.  AGC will offer ideas to increase efficiency and reduce costs while still delivering the projects the country needs.

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

TRANSPORTATION
Highway and Transit Program Face Crucial September 30 Deadline
 

When Congress returns in September they will only have a few short weeks to deal the with reauthorization of the Highway and Transit programs.  Failure to act by September 30 could lead to a shutdown similar to the recent FAA shut down. Both the programs and the gas taxes funding the program will expire on September 30.  While there has been some talk that anti-tax groups could try to block the extension of the gas tax, it appears today that most if not all understand that the failure to extend the taxes would not save the government any money (it would actually add to the deficit), it would not guarantee any price relief would be felt at the pump, it would not give states any time to take over the program and it would be a chaotic way to terminate or modify the existing program.

We will continue to communicate with members of the House and Senate about this important issue.  Please contact us if you hear from any member of Congress that they think blocking the extensions would be a good idea.

For more information, please contact Jeff Shoaf at (202) 547-3350 or shoafj@agc.org. Return to Top

FAA Shutdown Ends
 

Last week, President Obama signed into law a bill to extend Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization through Sept. 16, ending a two-week partial shutdown. The Senate – though it went into a month-long summer recess after Tuesday's vote to clear a debt-ceiling bill – held a "pro forma" session to approve the House passed extension legislation by unanimous consent. The shutdown resulted in 4,000 FAA employees being furloughed, 200 FAA funded construction projects being halted and an additional $2.5 billion of Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funded construction projects from moving forward. The lack of authorization also prevented the collection of the airplane ticket tax, which funds the Airport and Airway Trust Fund resulting in a loss of an estimated $400 million in trust fund revenue during the two-week shutdown.

The vote, however, does little more than put off the disagreements among lawmakers over the broader reauthorization of the FAA, which has been stalled over labor issues as well as funding levels and subsidies to rural airports. This means the FAA may face a similar shutdown threat when this short-term extension expires on Sept. 16. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) struck the deal with the Administration after AGC, other stakeholders and the general public began questioning why lawmakers were allowing the shutdown to continue while Congress was on break.


FAA’s authorization expired on September 30, 2007 and for the ensuing four years has been kept in operation through a series of 20 short term extensions. The extension contains a provision eliminating Essential Air Service (EAS) subsidies for 13 rural airports. Several senators had objected to including that policy change in a short-term authorization extension, but finally agreed to accept it in exchange for a pledge that Transportation Secretary LaHood will use his authority to waive the EAS eliminations, maintaining the status quo for rural airports – except those in Ely, Nevada; Alomogordo, New Mexico; and Glendive, Montana, whose loss of subsidies cannot be waived because they exceed $1,000 per passenger.


AGC will continue to work towards passage of a multi-year FAA reauthorization bill. You can send a message to your legislators through AGC’s web site urging Congress to complete action on this long overdue legislation.


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

AGC EVENTS
Register and Save Now for the 15th Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference
October 26-28, 2011, Las Vegas, Nevada
 

Jointly sponsored by AGC and the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), the 15th Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference, offers programs and workshops designed specifically for financial professionals in the construction industry. 

Register before Friday, September 9, 2011 for special “Early Bird” discounts.  Additional discounts are available for first-time attendees and for subsequent registrations from the same firm.  Register now and savings may be as much as $260 – or 30 percent – off the standard registration fee.

The three-day conference features 38 interactive sessions covering the latest industry issues and their financial implications.  Participants may earn up to 20 continuing professional education (CPE) credits.  This year’s sessions include:

  • Construction industry market trends
  • Tax, surety, financial, and credit market updates
  • Health care reform
  • Fleet management
  • Construction insurance and risk management
  • Financial statements
  • Construction information technology
  • Ethics and fraud
  • Crisis survival

Owners, chief financial officers, controllers, treasurers, certified public accountants, auditors, consultants, bankers, sureties, and others interested in the construction financial management will greatly benefit from this conference.

For more information, and to register on-line, visit www.agc.org/AGC_CFMA. Return to Top

Registration Open for AGC’s Joint Highway and Utilities Contractors Issues Meeting
November 10-12, 2011, Palm Springs, California
 

The premier event of the year for contractors involved in highway, bridge and utility construction is scheduled for November 10-12, 2011 in the Palm Springs Valley of California. The Highway and Utilities Contractors Issues Meeting will address the many issues that will be impacting your business over the next year and in years to come.

Topics that will be addressed included:

  • Congressional outlook for highway and water authorization legislation
  • Federal highway and water infrastructure funding
  • Successful efforts to increase state highway funding
  • Responding to Labor Compliance Audits
  • EPA’s new storm water regulations practical strategies to comply
  • Project Case Studies
  • Are veteran’s business preferences on the horizon
  • Contractor’s view working as part of a public-private partnership
  • Other recent developments

Date: November 10-12, 2011
Where: Indian Wells, California
Hotel: Miramonte Resort and Spa
Schedule: The meeting begins with a shotgun start of the golf tournament at 12:30 pm on Thursday, November 10 and concludes at Noon on Saturday November 12.


To register and for information on hotel reservations, please click here.


For more information, please contact Scott Berry at (703) 837-5321 or
berrys@agc.org, or Brian Deery at (703) 737-5319 or deeryb@agc.org.  Return to Top

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