Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org December 7, 2017
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On the Inside
TAX REFORM
Senate Approves Tax Reform Legislation
AGC Fights to Maintain Infrastructure Tools in Tax Reform
SAFETY
Senate Committee Holds Hearing for OSHA Head Nominee
Last Call: Construction Safety Excellence Awards Applications
2018 AGC Winter Safety & Health Conference
TAX REFORM
Senate Approves Tax Reform Legislation
Conferees Begin Negotiations
 

On Dec. 2, the Senate passed its version of tax reform legislation on a mostly party line vote of 51-49, with Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) being the only Republican to oppose the bill. Prior to the vote, Senate Republicans unveiled a host of last minute changes to the legislation, which included an increase of the pass-through deduction from 17.4 percent to 23 percent.  Combined with the Senate’s proposed individual rate schedule, this would lower the top marginal effective tax rate on pass-through businesses to 29.6 percent.  This is a significant improvement compared to the original Senate proposal.

Unfortunately, however, there were some negative changes as well. The final Senate bill reinstated both the corporate and individual Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), with the individual AMT income thresholds temporarily increased.  AGC is very concerned about this development, and we will work with the Congressional tax writers to ensure that the AMT is fully repealed in tax reform.

On Dec. 4, the House of Representatives voted to go to conference with the Senate to resolve the differences between the two bills. Speaker Ryan appointed Reps. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Don Young (R-Alaska), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), and John Shimkus (R-Ill.) as the Republican conferees.  Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi named Reps. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), Sander Levin (D-Mich.), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), and Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) as the Democratic appointees.

On Dec. 6, the Senate also voted to go to conference. Majority Leader McConnell appointed Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Thune (R-S.D.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) as the Republican conferees. Minority Leader Schumer appointed Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) as the Democratic conferees.

Conferees will meet over the coming weeks to negotiate the differences between the House and Senate bills, and eventually produce a conference report, which will then be voted on again by both the House and Senate.  AGC sent a letter to conferees outlining our preferences between the House and Senate bills, along with other outstanding concerns.  We will continue to aggressively push for the best possible bill for the construction industry during these negotiations.

For more information, contact Matthew Turkstra at matt.turkstra@agc.org or (202) 547-4733. Return to Top

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AGC Fights to Maintain Infrastructure Tools in Tax Reform
PABs, Advanced Refunding & Historic Tax Credit
 

This week, AGC—along with a broad group of stakeholders—urged congressional leaders to maintain key provisions in the tax code that help finance infrastructure projects throughout the country.  Among others, AGC addressed maintaining the tax exempt status of Private Activity Bonds (PABs). PABs are a traditional means of tax exempt financing for surface transportation projects, airports, ports facilities, water and wastewater facilities, and multi-family housing projects. PABs and their tax exempt status were eliminated in the House bill, but maintained in the Senate bill. 

AGC also continues to push to maintain the use of Advanced Refunding of Municipal Bonds, which is a tool that allows states and localities to free up borrowing capacity for new investment in infrastructure by taking advantage of lower interest rates on outstanding debt. Advanced Refunding was eliminated in both the House and Senate bills.  Additionally, AGC continues to push to maintain another tool – the Historic Tax Credit – as the House bill eliminates the credit and the Senate bill severely restricts its use.

Contact your Representative and Senators and tell them to not slash these important incentives for public and private construction. 

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

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SAFETY
Senate Committee Holds Hearing for OSHA Head Nominee
AGC Supports Senate Confirmation of Nominee
 

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing this week to consider President Trump’s nomination of Scott Mugno to serve as the next Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The Senators who participated in the hearing focused their questions on Mugno’s previous track record in the private sector and his views on OSHA’s role in workplace safety and his vision for increasing OSHA’s compliance assistance efforts. Given the makeup of the Senate, it is expected that Mugno’s nomination will advance and he will likely be confirmed in the next several weeks.

AGC sent a letter to the committee calling for approval of Mr. Mugno’s nomination. During his time at FedEx Ground, Mr. Mugno served as managing director of corporate safety, health and fire prevention from 2000 – 2011 until his promotion to vice president of safety, sustainability and vehicle maintenance. Over this period, he demonstrated that he possesses the leadership and collaborative qualities needed to lead OSHA.  He recognized that by working together, the regulated community and the agency can achieve results in further advancing safety in the workplace.

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

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Last Call: Construction Safety Excellence Awards Applications
Applications due Dec. 15
 

The Willis Towers Watson-AGC Construction Safety Excellence Awards (CSEA) is the industry’s elite safety excellence awards program for contractors of all types and sizes. The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, December 15, 2017. So, make sure your construction company doesn’t miss the opportunity to get recognized for its best-in-class safety program!

For more information on the Willis-AGC CSEA program, please visit www.agc.org/cseaReturn to Top

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2018 AGC Winter Safety & Health Conference
Jan. 10-12 in Long Beach, Calif.
 

The 2018 Winter Safety & Health Conference will take place Jan. 10-12, 2018 at the Hilton in Long Beach, California. Join more than 250 industry professionals and participate in the development of regulatory and legislative activity on both a national and local level; assist in the development and creation of new safety training programs and products; and hear the latest initiatives from OSHA and other industry experts. Full details on the Conference and links to registration and the hotel room block can be found here.  

For more information, contact Kevin Cannon at (703) 837-5410 or cannonk@agc.org or Nazia Shah at (703) 837-5409 or nazia.shah@agc.org. Return to Top

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