Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org August 30, 2018
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On the Inside
LABOR/HR
Eighty Percent of Contractors Report Difficulty Finding Qualified Craft Workers to Hire
WebEd: The Construction Workforce Outlook
INFRASTRUCTURE
Tell Congress that the Time for Infrastructure Investment is Now
HIGHWAY/TRANSPORTATION
Transportation Department and Congress Seek Input on Hours of Service
ENVIRONMENT
EPA Determines Existing Regulations Sufficiently Protect Against Hazardous Substance Releases
TAX/ACCOUNTING
Treasury Issues Proposed Rule on State and Local Tax Deduction Workaround
AGC EVENTS
Join AGC’s Three-Part WebEd Series on Construction Risk Management
LABOR/HR
Eighty Percent of Contractors Report Difficulty Finding Qualified Craft Workers to Hire
AGC Releases Workforce Development Plan 2.0
 

Eighty percent of construction firms report they are having a hard time filling hourly craft positions that represent the bulk of the construction workforce, according to the results of an industry-wide survey released today by Autodesk and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Association officials said shortages pose a significant risk to future economic growth.

AGC also released a new Workforce Development Plan that identifies steps federal officials should take to support construction workforce development, including doubling the funding for career and technical education over five years and allowing more people with construction skills to legally enter the country. The plan also outlines new recruiting steps the association is taking, including launching a targeted digital advertising recruiting campaign and investing in innovative workforce solutions.

For more information, contact Jim Young at youngj@agc.org or (202) 547-0133 Claiborne Guy at claiborne.guy@agc.org or 703-837-5382.  Return to Top

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WebEd: The Construction Workforce Outlook
In-Depth Analysis of Autodesk/AGC Workforce Survey Data & More
 

Register today for the AGC member complementary ($79 for non-members) WebEd entitled: “The Construction Workforce Outlook: Challenges, Best Practices and Solutions” scheduled for Thursday, September 6 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. eastern time. During this WebEd, registrants will from a panel of experts who will review the results of the 2018 AGC Construction Workforce Survey supported by AutoDesk, detailing national, regional and state workforce data, and highlight a number of best practices and solutions to workforce shortages.

For more information or to register, click here Return to Top

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INFRASTRUCTURE
Tell Congress that the Time for Infrastructure Investment is Now
 

 As Congress returns from their August recess, unresolved issues towards enacting a comprehensive infrastructure plan remain.  As previously reported, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster released a discussion draft to make significant investments in our nation's infrastructure. Whether or not this proposal or any other infrastructure plan is successful depends upon you, and other construction industry professionals, collectively calling upon your federally elected officials to put partisanship aside and do what is right for our nation. Contact your U.S. representative so that they can hear YOUR voice and understand that investing in and improving our nation’s infrastructure helps America prosper.

The Shuster plan calls for investing a significant sum in America's aging and over-burdened infrastructure, streamlining the federal environmental permit and review processes to help deliver needed projects faster, calling for long-term solutions to funding existing federal infrastructure programs, including the Highway Trust Fund and the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.

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

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HIGHWAY/TRANSPORTATION
Transportation Department and Congress Seek Input on Hours of Service
Impacted AGC Members Should Comment and Contact their Representatives
 

As previously reported, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that it is seeking public comment on revising four specific areas of the current hours-of-service regulations. AGC is preparing a response to the proposal on behalf of its member companies; however, we also encourage Individual members to submit comments by the September 24 deadline. For additional information or to leave a comment please click here.

AGC is also working in support of the HOURS Act, which would expand the logging exemption for short-haul drivers from 100 to 150 miles, expand the on-duty time to 14 hours and eliminate the 30-minute rest requirement. Certain paperwork requirements would also be eased, and the Federal Motor Carrier Administration would be encouraged to move expeditiously to finalize a rule on the use of sleeper berth to meet off duty provisions. AGC is urging members to contact their Congressional representatives through AGC’s Legislative Action Center. 

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

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ENVIRONMENT
EPA Determines Existing Regulations Sufficiently Protect Against Hazardous Substance Releases
 

On August 24, AGC filed joint comments in support of a proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluding the existing regulatory framework adequately prevents and contains discharges of hazardous substances.  AGC supports the agency’s proposal not to initiate a new regulatory regime addressing spills of hazardous substances under section 311 of the Clean Water Act. The joint letter expands upon the legal justification for EPA’s proposal, affirms that EPA has the authority to take this action, and augments the agency’s information on the “potential overlap between existing requirements under statutes and regulations implemented by EPA and by other federal agencies...”. 

In addition to the overlapping regulations evaluated by EPA in the proposal, the joint letter highlights additional, related protective (and punitive) requirements within the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program, pretreatment programs relating to effluents entering a publicly owned treatment works, spill cleanup liability, and release reporting that serve to protect against releases. These existing requirements further support EPA’s proposal that additional regulation would provide de minimis regulatory benefit.

On the joint letter, AGC was joined by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Chemistry Council, American Forest & Paper Association, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, National Mining Association, and Utility Solid Waste Activities Group. 

For more information, contact Leah Pilconis at pilconisl@agc.org or (703) 837-5332.  Return to Top

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TAX/ACCOUNTING
Treasury Issues Proposed Rule on State and Local Tax Deduction Workaround
 

On Aug. 23, the Department of Treasury issued a proposed rule that seeks to limit the availability of a tax planning technique that some northeastern states have adopted in the wake of tax reform. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – passed in December 2017 – limited the amount of state and local taxes that an individual can deduct to $10,000 per year.  Since then, a number of states – including New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut – have adopted new laws that allow taxpayers in those states to pay their state taxes to a state-sponsored “charity” and receive a partial credit from the state for those taxes paid.  

For example, under New York’s proposal, individuals can “donate” a dollar to a state sponsored charity and receive an 85 percent credit against their state tax liability, and 95 percent against their local tax liability.  In theory, under this proposal, because charitable contributions were left uncapped in tax reform, an individual would be able turn their (capped) state tax payments into (uncapped) charitable contributions.

However, the rule proposed by Treasury last week seeks to severely cut back on the utility of these workarounds. Under the proposed rule, a taxpayer would only be able to deduct the uncredited portion of their payment to the state. So, in the New York example above, a taxpayer who makes a $100 contribution to the state-sponsored charity and receives and $85 credit from the state, would only be able to deduct $15 on their federal return.  This proposed rule could also impact additional states that have set up similar arrangements for private school vouchers.

Importantly, this rule does not affect proposals that some states are considering that would provide relief to owners of pass-through businesses, of which AGC is supportive.

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

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AGC EVENTS
Join AGC’s Three-Part WebEd Series on Construction Risk Management
Part One Kicks Off on Sept. 27 with a Look at Pollution Liability
 

AGC’s WebEd series on risk management is presented in three parts that focus on identifying pollution liabilities, understanding and insuring risk, and positioning subcontractor bonds to meet industry needs.  Join AGC on September 27, 2018 (2:00pm-3:00pm ET) for part one in the series and explore how to identify pollution liabilities and risk transfer solutions throughout the construction life cycle. 

This session is designed to help environmental managers and risk managers recognize the various pollution exposure they may face; provoke questions they should be asking of the owner/developer; and suggest mechanisms with which they can manage pollution risk either via insurance, their contracts, or best practices.  Speakers are Sharon Burger with IMA Financial Group and Dave Liverseed, PG, CHMM, CSP, with M.A. Mortenson Company. 

Go to http://meetings.agc.org/webed/risk/ for registration and details on all three parts in AGC’s WebEd Series on Construction Risk Management! Return to Top

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