Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org November 3, 2016
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On the Inside
2016 ELECTIONS
Countdown to Election Day
2016 ELECTIONS
Construction on the Ballot Bonds and Ballot Initiatives in the 2016 Election
TAX AND FINANCE
AGC Voices Opposition to Increased Death Taxes on Family Businesses
INFRASTRUCTURE
AGC Sends Innovative Finance Letter to Congress
LABOR
Webinar: Federal Contractors, Get Ready for the New Paid Sick Leave Rule!
AGC EVENTS
Registration for the Winter Financial Issues Committee
2016 ELECTIONS
Countdown to Election Day
 

There are just 5 days left until voters across the country head to the polls to elect a new president, 34 US Senators, 435 US House members, and countless state and local officials.

The construction industry and the millions of workers it employs have much at stake in this election. At a time when the industry is rebounding from the longest and deepest slump of any sector, it is especially important to elect leaders willing to work for common-sense solutions to the challenges facing the construction industry and its workforce.

In order for the voices of general and specialty contractors, service providers, and suppliers to be heard in this ever-changing political landscape, they must register to vote and cast ballots early, or on Election Day.

Jobs can be demanding and the hours long, and it can be difficult to balance work and family commitments, but voting must be a priority.

Voting doesn't have to be difficult or take up much time. AGC makes it easy by hosting a voter registration and election information center at ConstructionVotes.com.

Visit the site to:

  • Register to vote
  • Learn about the candidates
  • Find your polling location
  • Download employer resources to help Get-Out-the-Vote
  • View the Clinton-Trump Presidential Candidate Comparison Guide

For more information, visit www.ConstructionVotes.com.

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2016 ELECTIONS
Construction on the Ballot Bonds and Ballot Initiatives in the 2016 Election
 

As many as 13 states will be deciding questions relevant to construction at the ballot box next week. They range from funding for public construction programs to policy considerations dealing with labor, employment, and the environment.

On the school construction front, California is considering $9 billion for K-12 schools and community colleges; New Mexico is considering $142 million for higher ed, special, and tribal schools; and Rhode Island will consider $45 million in bonds for higher education. Rhode Island is also considering $70 million in port infrastructure bonds and $50 million in affordable housing bonds. New Mexico is looking at $15 million for senior facility bonds and $18 million in public safety infrastructure improvements.  Casino funding is also up in Massachusetts, where a new slots-only facility license is up for consideration, and New Jersey, where the state is considering allowing two new casinos in northern counties (ending Atlantic City’s monopoly on casinos in the state). On the transportation front, Illinois is looking to firewall its transportation funds, Louisiana is looking to dedicate certain revenues in the states “rainy day fund” toward transportation, Maine is considering $100 million in new transportation bonds, and New Jersey is considering dedicating all revenue from the states motor fuel tax to its transportation trust fund. Several localities also have transportation bonds on their ballots.

On the policy side of things, Alabama and Virginia are considering “Right to Work” amendments to their respective states’ constitutions regarding mandatory membership in unions, and South Dakota (already a “Right to Work” state) is considering whether to allow unions to charge a fee to nonmembers that receive the benefits of their services without paying into the system. Four states (Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington) are considering minimum wage increases. Of those four, Arizona and Washington include mandatory paid sick leave as part of the minimum wage increase provisions. Nine states (Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, and North Dakota) have either medical or recreational marijuana on the ballot. On the energy front, Florida will weigh a measure that provides property tax exemptions for solar power and renewable energy equipment installed in home, commercial, and industrial property. Washington is considering whether or not to become the first state to impose a carbon tax on fossil fuels and energy generated from them (while also lowering the state sales tax so as to remain revenue neutral). California is considering a measure that would require voter approval of revenue bonds over $2 billion, currently there is no requirement for voter approval at any amount.

AGC will monitor these provisions on statewide ballots and report on their success after the election November 8.

For more information contact Scott Berry at berrys@agc.org or (703) 837-5321

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TAX AND FINANCE
AGC Voices Opposition to Increased Death Taxes on Family Businesses
 

This week, AGC submitted formal comments to the Department of Treasury requesting that the proposed regulations on removing minority valuation discounts for family owned businesses be withdrawn in their entirety. Essentially, the proposed rules would eliminate “lack of control” and “lack of marketability” valuation discounts for family members receiving interest in a family-controlled business. Left as proposed, the rules would increase estate and gift taxes by 30 to 50 percent or more on family-owned businesses, resulting in few family construction companies surviving from one generation to the next.

These burdensome regulations would be particularly damaging to family-owned construction companies, which often have illiquid capital assets due to equipment and rolling stock, but maintain relatively modest annual incomes. In early October, over 730 family-owned AGC member companies signed a letter sent to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and key tax-writers in Congress requesting a complete withdraw of the proposed Section 2704 rules relating to minority shareholder discounts for estate tax purposes. AGC will be present at the public hearing scheduled at the IRS on December 1. AGC has also cosigned other industry letters with the same aim in mind to vacate the proposed regulations. AGC continues to meet with key congressional staff about the possibility for a solution in year-end legislation.

The expectation is that Treasury will finalize the rule prior to the end of the Obama Administration in January; and if finalized, the rules will be challenged in the courts, as there is past precedent from the tax courts, and prospects for a legal challenge are likely to be successful. AGC will evaluate the best course of action and at the appropriate time alert AGC members to the most effective way to impact changes to the proposed regulation. Meanwhile, AGC is coalescing its support for legislation to negate the effects of the proposed rule by joining other industries in promoting H.R. 6100 the Protect Family Farms and Businesses Act, introduced by Congressman Warren Davidson (R-OH). The bill has already gained the support of 60 cosponsors, including members of the Ways and Means Committee and House Leadership. Moreover, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) offered a companion bill, S. 3436 at the end of September.

For more information, contact Brian Lenihan at lenihanb@agc.org or (202) 547-4733. 

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INFRASTRUCTURE
AGC Sends Innovative Finance Letter to Congress
 

This week, AGC joined several other associations in sending a letter to Members of Congress seeking their support for legislation that would help finance infrastructure projects through the use of public-private partnerships. Specifically, the legislation would either create or increase the availability of Private Activity Bonds (PABs) for construction of public buildings, surface transportation and water projects. 

AGC has long championed the use of PABs as an essential tool for helping close the financing for major public infrastructure projects and will continue to push for Congress to pass the legislation that would help finance and fund these types projects.

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

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LABOR
Webinar: Federal Contractors, Get Ready for the New Paid Sick Leave Rule!
Wednesday, Nov. 16 | 2:00-3:30 p.m. EST
 

Virtually all construction contractors that perform work for the federal government will be required to provide paid time off to employees for sickness and other covered purposes under a new rule issued by the U.S. Department of Labor that takes effect on January 1, 2017.  AGC of America will hold a WebEd (webinar) on November 16 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time specifically to help construction contractors understand the rule’s myriad mandates and avoid costly sanctions for noncompliance.

Among the many issues addressed, the program will answer the following questions about the rule:
• What types of contracts are covered?
• Which employees are covered?
• How much time off are employees entitled to and how is it accrued?
• Does accrued leave carry over from year to year?
• For what reasons is an employee entitled to paid leave?
• What are the notice and recordkeeping requirements?
• Can a PTO policy suffice?
• How does the rule interact with state and local paid sick leave laws?
• How does the rule interact with collective bargaining agreements?
• Does the sick pay count toward Davis-Bacon prevailing wage obligations?
• What are the flow-down responsibilities?

Click here for more info or to register now at the AGC-member price of $79 or the non-member price of $99.

For more information, contact Denise Gold at goldd.agc.org or (703) 837-5326.

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AGC EVENTS
Registration for the Winter Financial Issues Committee
 

Register Now and Hotel Deadline is Dec. 26 

Timely guidance, accurate advice on reporting requirements and common practices are essential items for any financial professional’s toolbox. We invite you to join your peers at the Winter 2017 AGC Financial Issues Committee, January 10-11, 2017 at Trump National Doral in Miami, FL. The two-day meeting is filled with interactive sessions, covering the latest industry issues and their financial implications. The Winter 2017 FIC meeting will feature in-depth discussions with fellow contractors, FASB representatives, as well as AGC’s economist and legislative staff, and delve deep into the latest financial and accounting issues impacting the construction industry.

The CFO Roundtable will focus on cybersecurity issues from an industry expert. Get updated on the outcome of the 2016 elections and the impact on tax & accounting issues for 2017, and hear from AGC’s economist on industry trends and market conditions.

For more information, contact Brian Lenihan at lenihanb@agc.org or (202) 547-4733. 

 

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