Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org September 22, 2011
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On the Inside
TAX
AGC Chapter Leaders Lobby Congress to Repeal 3 Percent Withholding
FASB Issues New Multiemployer Plan Disclosure Standard; Update Represents Victory for AGC
BUDGET
Continuing Resolution Measure Challenged, Risking Potential Government Shutdown
Senate Appropriators Restores Nominal Funding for FY 2012 GSA Construction Accounts
TRANSPORTATION
Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2012 Transportation Funding at Current Levels
WORKFORCE
House Judiciary Committee Approves National E-Verify Legislation
AGC EVENTS
AGC Chapter Leaders Visit D.C., Call On Congress to Stimulate Demand for Construction
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
TAX
AGC Chapter Leaders Lobby Congress to Repeal 3 Percent Withholding
 

At this week’s National Chapter Leadership Conference, AGC chapter leadership and executives lobbied members of Congress to support legislation to repeal the 3 percent withholding mandate. 


There are now 246 members of the House that have signaled their support for repeal by cosponsoring H.R. 674.  Representatives that cosponsored the legislation this week after meeting with their AGC chapters include Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Representatives Austin Scott (R-Ga.), Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), and Michael McCaul (R-Texas). 


AGC continues to push for full, permanent repeal of the 3 percent withholding mandate.


House Republican leadership has identified repeal of the 3 percent government withholding mandate as a priority this fall and may consider the legislation as early as October.  While passage of 3 percent government withholding repeal is expected in the House when it comes up for a vote, the Senate has yet to schedule debate on similar legislation there despite a record 31 cosponsors. 


AGC will work closely with House Republican leadership as it prepares for debate on 3 percent government withholding, and in urging the Senate to take up the bill following House passage.  AGC continues to urge its members and chapters to contact their Senators and Representatives to ask that they cosponsor legislation to repeal the 3 percent government withholding mandate.


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 (703) 837-4733 or
lapsevick@agc.org. Return to Top

FASB Issues New Multiemployer Plan Disclosure Standard; Update Represents Victory for AGC
 

Sept. 21 the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued an Accounting Standards Update to require employers that participate in multiemployer pension plans to provide additional quantitative and qualitative disclosures in their financial statements.  AGC is very proud of the successful, painstaking efforts by AGC’s Tax and Fiscal Affairs Committee and the Construction Industry FASB Coalition of which AGC was an active member, in getting the most dangerous provisions of the originally proposed standard removed, including disclosures about withdrawal liability and retiree health and welfare benefits (though the latter might be addressed in a future initiative).

The new disclosures include the following:

  • The significant multiemployer plans in which an employer participate, including the plan names and identifying number.
  • The level of an employer’s participation in the significant multiemployer plans, including the employer’s contributions made to the plans and an indication of whether the employer’s contributions represent more than 5 percent of the total contributions made to the plan by all contributing employers.
  • The financial health of the significant multiemployer plans, including an indication of the funded status, whether funding improvement plans are pending or implemented, and whether the plan has imposed surcharges on the contributions to the plan.
  • The nature of the employer commitments to the plan, including when the collective bargaining agreements that require contributions to the significant plans are set to expire and whether those agreements require minimum contributions to be made to the plans.

Users of financial statements would be able to use the Employer Identification Number, the plan name, and, if applicable, the plan number, to obtain additional information, including the funded status of the plan(s), from sources outside the financial statements, such as the plan’s annual report (Form 5500). 

Employers are also required to make additional disclosures about the plans that otherwise may not be available publicly, including the following:

  • A description of the nature of the plan benefits.
  • A qualitative description of the extent to which the employer could be responsible for the obligations of the plan, including benefits earned by employees during employment with another employer.
  • Other quantitative information, to the extent available, as of the most recent date available, to help users understand the financial information about the plan, such as total plan assets, actuarial present value of accumulated plan benefits, and total contributions received by the plan.

For public entities, the enhanced disclosures are required in fiscal years ending after Dec. 15, 2011.  For nonpublic entities, the enhanced disclosures are required in fiscal years ending after Dec. 15, 2012.

For background information on this issue, including AGC’s involvement, click here, here, here, and here.

For more information, please contact Karen Lapsevic at (703) 837-4733 or lapsevick@agc.org. Return to Top

BUDGET
Continuing Resolution Measure Challenged, Risking Potential Government Shutdown
 

A coalition of conservative Republicans handed Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) a major defeat on Sept.21 as legislation allowing the federal government to continue operating through Nov. 18 was defeated by a 190-235 vote.  48 Republicans voted no on the measure.

The measure went down due to several factors. First, Democrats were concerned that there were not nearly enough funds to pay for disaster assistance. Senate Democrats a week earlier called for $6.9 billion in aid; the continuing resolution (CR) also would have provided $2.65 billion in FY12 disaster spending.   Republicans wanted to reduce the spending level from  an annualized rate of $1.043 trillion, which was consistent  with the debt limit law approved in early August, but higher that the FY 11 budget deal approved in April 2011.

At press time, it was reported that Republican leaders were hoping to woo back some of the 48 Republican defectors by adding $100 million in additional offsets tied to the government program that provided loan guarantees to Solyndra, the solar energy firm embroiled in controversy as it was recently revealed that it had received more than $500 million in government loan guarantees and later declared bankruptcy. 

AGC will continue to closely monitor this developing issue and encourage Congressional leaders to move on all FY 2012 Appropriations bills to bring certainty and predictability to the numerous Federal construction programs.

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

Senate Appropriators Restores Nominal Funding for FY 2012 GSA Construction Accounts
 

On Sept. 15, 2011, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill for FY 2012. The legislation provides annual funding for the Treasury Department, the Executive Office of the President, the Judiciary, the District of Columbia, the Small Business Administration, the General Services Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and several other independent agencies.

The bill includes a total of $21.7 billion in funding for the agencies, which is only $224 million (one percent) below FY 2011 and $4.26 billion below the President’s fiscal year 2012 request. The General Services Administration’s (GSA) Federal Building Fund still has borne the brunt of these cuts, but the Senate did move to restore some funding for new construction projects, in the amount of $65 million. House Appropriators in June voted to eliminate funding altogether. The bill matches House figures for repairs and alternations in the amount of $280 million for FY 2012.

AGC has expressed concern to Congressional Appropriations leaders about these drastic cuts for these critical programs and will continue to press Congress on the need for investment in Federal facilities infrastructure.

For the text and report of the legislation by the House Appropriations Committees, please visit:

http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/FY_2012_FS_Full_xml.pdf
http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/FY_2012_FIN-SERVICES_FULL_COMMITTEE_REPORT.pdf

For the text and report of the legislation by the Senate Appropriations Committees, please visit:

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/t2GPO/http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112s1573pcs/pdf/BILLS-112s1573pcs.pdf
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cp2gpo.script/http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-112srpt79/pdf/CRPT-112srpt79.pdf

For more information, please contact Marco Giamberardino at (703) 837-5376 or giamberm@agc.org. Return to Top

TRANSPORTATION
Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2012 Transportation Funding at Current Levels
 

Sept. 21, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved Fiscal Year 2012 funding for the highway and transit programs at the same level as FY 2011. In addition, the bill provides an additional $1.9 billion in emergency relief funding and $550 million for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grants Program. These funding levels contrast significantly from the bill approved earlier by the House transportation appropriations subcommittee which set funding at far lower levels. Those funding levels adhere to the principles set in a budget resolution passed in the House earlier this year, which directed that highway and transit funding be set at levels supported by Highway Trust Fund revenue. The full House Appropriations Committee has not yet acted on the measure. It is unlikely action will be completed on this legislation before Sept. 30, 2011, the end of the current fiscal year. If not, the highway and transit appropriations may be included in a continuing resolution.

Last week Congress passed a six month extension to authorize the FAA and highway programs at current funding levels. The appropriations bill is needed to provide the cash necessary to meet the authorized funding levels contained in the extension.

A comparison of the funding levels approved thus far follows:

FY 2011

House

Senate

Federal-aid Highways (Ob Limit)

$41.107 B

$27 B

$41.107 B

Federal Highways (Emergency)

Zero

Zero

$1.5 B

FTA Formula Grants (Ob Limit)

$8.343 B

$5.2 B

$8.343 B

FTA Capital Investment Grants

$1.597 B

$1.554 B

$1.955 B

High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail

ZERO

ZERO

$100 M

TIGER II/NII Discretionary Grants

$527 M

ZERO

$550 M

National Infrastructure Bank

Zero

Zero

Zero

FAA Airport Grants (Ob Limit)

$3.515 B

$3.350 B

$3.515 B


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

WORKFORCE
House Judiciary Committee Approves National E-Verify Legislation
 

On Sept. 21, 2011, the House Judiciary Committee approved, by a 22-13 vote, H.R. 2885, the Legal Workforce Act, sponsored by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).  The legislation would require all U.S. employers to use E-Verify.

Although E-Verify is not currently mandatory, federal contractors are required to use the system and many businesses voluntarily use the program.  Nearly 290,000 American employers use E-Verify and an average of 1,300 new businesses sign up each week. The bill aims to bring certainty to the verification process by preempting states and localities from enacting their own E-Verify laws.

AGC has expressed support for the legislation because the bill has a clear, safe harbor for employers who act in good faith. The legislation also has support from a broad coalition of industry partners, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Home Builders, National Restaurant Association, American Council on International Personnel, Society for Human Resource Management, Associated Builders and Contractors, National Council of Chain Restaurants, National Roofing Contractors Association, Tree Care Industry Association, International Franchise Association, American Hotel and Lodging Association, American Staffing Association, NumbersUSA, and Federation for American Immigration Reform.  It is not likely that the legislation will be considered by the House this year. The legislation  faces challenges from agricultural interests and states’ rights advocates.

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

AGC EVENTS
AGC Chapter Leaders Visit D.C., Call On Congress to Stimulate Demand for Construction
 

This week, AGC held its annual National & Chapter Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., which brought chapter leaders together to discuss best practices and meet with Members of Congress to address AGC's top legislative issues. During the meetings with legislators, AGC members used the opportunity to urge support for the repeal of the 3 percent withholding tax, advocate for a long-term transportation bill, and ask that negotiations with the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction 1) do not sacrifice federal construction investment; 2) reinforce trust fund financing for infrastructure investments; 3) provide comprehensive tax reform that reduces rate, spreads the tax burden; and,  4) provide tax certainty and strongly address entitlements. AGC also used the opportunity to deliver its national plan detailing measures to stimulate demand for construction by boosting private sector construction activity, improving aging infrastructure and cutting needless and costly regulations. The plan, Building a Stronger Future: A New Blueprint for Economic Growth can be read here.

During the meeting, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Ks.) and Representative Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) said that sustained, long-term federal infrastructure investments are needed to jump start the economy. The two GOP members of Congress chided the Obama administration for neglecting long-term legislation in favor of making large, temporary, political payoffs that did little to rebuild infrastructure as part of the stimulus. They also said growing federal regulatory burdens were stifling small business growth and hiring and said they were working to repeal the “idiotic” 3 percent withholding measure. As Representative Hanna, a former contractor said, “If businesses don’t succeed, government doesn’t succeed.”

AGC members visited with nearly 200 members of congress and their staff, including many members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

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

Register and save now for the 15th Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference
Oct. 26-28, 2011, Las Vegas, Nev.
 

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

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. Discounts are available for first-time attendees and for subsequent registrations from the same firm. 

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
Nov. 10-12, 2011, Indian Wells, Calif.
 

The premier event of the year for contractors involved in highway, bridge and utility construction is scheduled for Nov. 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: Nov. 10-12, 2011
Where: Indian Wells, Calif.
Hotel: Miramonte Resort and Spa
Schedule: The meeting begins with a shotgun start of the golf tournament at 12:30 pm on Thursday, Nov. 10 and concludes at Noon on Saturday, Nov. 12.

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

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

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