Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org January 18, 2018
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On the Inside
GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
AGC Urges Congress to Fund the Government
ENVIRONMENT
AGC Testifies in Support of NEPA/404 Permitting Merger
INFRASTRUCTURE
U.S. Chamber Calls for 25 Cent Gas Tax Increase
TAX/ACCOUNTING
Tax Reformís Impact on Your Construction Business & Market
AGC Financial Issues Committee Winter Meeting Recap
TRADE & CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS
Section 232 Report on Foreign Steel Imports Reaches Trumpís Desk
GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
AGC Urges Congress to Fund the Government
What Contractors Should Do in the Event of a Shutdown
 

On Jan. 18, AGC urged Congress to pass a short-term funding bill that would avoid a government shutdown and provide temporary relief from several Obamacare taxes impacting construction employers. AGC has compiled resources – What Contractors Should Know in the Event the Government Shuts Down – to help your company deal with the consequences of a government shutdown.

As noted, the funding bill would additionally provide essential relief from a number of Obamacare taxes that would otherwise detrimentally impact construction contractors, especially small businesses. Specifically, the bill delays until 2022 the Cadillac tax, a 40 percent excise tax on employer-sponsored health coverage whose benefits exceed specific thresholds. The legislation would also provide a one year, 2019 moratorium on the health insurance tax that will increase the cost of health insurance for small business employers, the majority of AGC’s construction contractor membership. 

For more information, contact Jordan Howard at jordan.howard@agc.org. Return to Top

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ENVIRONMENT
AGC Testifies in Support of NEPA/404 Permitting Merger
House Transportation Committee Considers Environmental Streamlining
 
On Jan. 18, AGC’s Senior Counsel on Environmental Law and Policy Leah Pilconis testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in support of further federal environmental review and permit streamlining measures. Among AGC’s recommendations, the association called on Congress to merge the National Environmental Policy Act review and Clean Water Act Section 404 permit processes to reduce duplication and delay in the federal environmental approval process.  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations Major General Ed Jackson and Director of Civil Works James Dalton, among others, also testified on the panel that included AGC.

For more information, contact Leah Pilconis at pilconisl@agc.org Return to Top

INFRASTRUCTURE
U.S. Chamber Calls for 25 Cent Gas Tax Increase
AGC CEO Addresses Group
 

On Jan. 18, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called for increasing the federal gas tax by 25 cents as part of its recommendations for an infrastructure package announced at its “America’s Infrastructure Summit: Time to Modernize” event.  In addition to increasing the gas tax, the Chamber’s recommendations include leveraging more public and private resources, streamlining the permitting process, and expanding the workforce to build the infrastructure. AGC CEO Steve Sandherr was asked to participate in the event and shared the association’s efforts to address the workforce challenges facing the construction industry. 

AGC has been sharing a similar plan – An Agenda to Rebuild Our Infrastructure & Our Workforce – with Congress and the administration and looks forward to working with the U.S. Chamber and other stakeholders to ensure an infrastructure plan is enacted that provides increased funding and financing, streamlines the environmental permitting process and helps address the construction industry’s workforce challenges.

For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org. Return to Top

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TAX/ACCOUNTING
Tax Reformís Impact on Your Construction Business & Market
Complimentary AGC WebEd: Jan. 30 from 2:00 to 3:00 PM ET
 

Register today for this complimentary AGC webinar. Congress recently passed the most far-reaching tax reform legislation since 1986. No matter what your construction market—public or private—or construction firm—C-corporation, S-corporation, LLC, LLP, or partnership—the new tax reform law will have an impact on you.

During this webinar, you will hear tax and accounting firm CBIZ’s Cord Armstrong—a CPA and leader in the firm’s National Construction Industry Practice Group—AGC’s lead infrastructure and tax policy experts—Sean O’Neill and Matt Turkstra, respectively— and AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson discuss:

  • The impact of the new law on your construction business—no matter the type, C-corp, S-corp, LLC, partnership or so forth;
  • Things your business should consider before converting to a C-corp, such as the 20 percent pass-through deduction and how it works;
  • Changes to tax incentives for public and private construction, including but not limited to private activity bonds and the historic tax credit;
  • Ambiguities in the law to be aware of and the chances of this Congress enacting “technical corrections” to address them;
  • What’s next for the Department of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service when it comes to issuing guidance and regulations to help you understand how to comply; and
  • How AGC advocated for your construction business throughout this process and continues to do so. 

For more information, click here or contact Matt Turkstra at matt.turkstra@agc.org Return to Top

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AGC Financial Issues Committee Winter Meeting Recap
 

On Jan. 8-9, nearly 40 member company CFO’s and other senior accounting and tax professionals attended the AGC Financial Issues Committee (FIC) Winter Meeting in San Diego, California. Committee members discussed the recently passed tax reform legislation and how it impacts the construction industry and its priorities.

The group also discussed the use of Public Private Partnerships (P3s) with Mike Lucki of Lucki Advisors; received an update on the implementation of new accounting standards from Susan Cosper of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB); and heard from AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson about the economic outlook for construction.

The FIC Summer Meeting will be held June 7-8 at the Madison Hotel in Washington, DC.  Meeting and hotel information will be circulated in the coming months.

For more information, contact Matt Turkstra atmatt.turkstra@agc.org. Return to Top

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TRADE & CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS
Section 232 Report on Foreign Steel Imports Reaches Trumpís Desk
Could Have Implications on Construction Steel Prices
 

On Jan. 11, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross delivered his “Section 232” report on the national security threat posed by foreign steel mill product imports to the president. Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act allows the president to utilize his “statutory authority to adjust imports” without Congress’ approval if a government-led inquiry yields sufficient evidence of a threat. President Trump now has 90 days to review the Commerce Department’s findings and recommend remedies, likely in the form of tariffs, quotas, or some sort of hybrid package. Should the administration act on the report, the construction industry may see an increase in steel prices.

Section 232 is unique in that damage is not calculated based upon import volume. This is particularly important because China is the ostensible target of this investigation, despite a dramatic decrease in Chinese steel imports. And, while China is the biggest net exporter of steel – and has contributed mightily to the global glut – Canada and other European allies are, in fact, the United States’ largest sources of foreign steel.

President Trump is keen on shielding domestic steelmakers from unfair imports and few doubt that the report will fail to reinforce the administration’s view that national security is currently being compromised. In determining a response, President Trump will have to weigh the timing of any announcement, as well as the scope of a response—sweeping trade restrictions on foreign steel imports or more precisely targeted remedies.

AGC will continue to monitor the situation and update its members as more information becomes available.

For more information, contact Collin Janich at collin.janich@agc.org. Return to Top

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