Legislative Updates

Legislative Updates

ABC Predicts Construction Sector Will Remain Strong in 2019

Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist, Anirban Basu, forecasts another strong year for construction sector performance, yet warns about inflationary pressures, according to a 2019 economic outlook published today in Construction Executive Magazine. Job growth, high backlog and healthy infrastructure investment all spell good news for the industry. However, historically low unemployment has created a construction workforce shortage of an estimated 500,000 positions, which is leading to increased compensation costs. “U.S. economic performance has been brilliant of late. Sure, there has been a considerable volume of negativity regarding the propriety of tariffs, shifting immigration policy, etc., but the headline statistics make it clear that domestic economic performance is solid,” said Basu. “Nowhere is this more evident than the U.S. labor market. As of July, there were a record-setting 6.94 million job openings in the United States, and construction unemployment rea ...

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Federal Update

The House and Senate will be in today to consider resolutions pertaining to the lying in state of former President George H.W. Bush who passed away late Friday night. President Bush will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda from Dec. 3-5. Trade Update: President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping reached a trade truce, with a 90 day time frame to reach an agreement on reforms, to avert higher tariffs that were scheduled to go into effect on January 1st. Trump also held a ceremonial signing of the renegotiated NAFTA agreement known as the USMCA. The President told reporters that he intends to formally withdraw from NAFTA in six months. He is presenting Congress with an all or nothing decision to approve the USMCA or return to pre-NAFTA. The U.S. is still working on a deal for Mexico and Canada to earn exemptions from steel and aluminum tariffs, which is seen by many as a critical step needed before Congress will consider approving the USMCA. Appropriations Update: With the Dec. 7th funding deadline approach ...

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Succession Planning Made Simple for Construction Companies

by Jay Silverstein, Partner, and Hiromi Young, Senior Manager, Moss Adams LLP A version of this article previously appeared in the May 2017 issue of United Contractors Magazine. Every business is different, and so is every business owner. No matter what path you took to build and grow your construction company, though, there’s one milestone you’ll eventually have to cross: transitioning the ownership of your business to a successor. Whether that successor is a family member, your management group, or a third party, it’s an event that will have far-reaching effects on your business, your family, your wealth, and your future. Succession planning can be a complex undertaking that’s filled with questions. For example: When do you want to transition out of your ownership role? How can you derive the greatest value from your business? Who’s the best candidate to lead your company into the future? How do you know you have the right management team in place? Many contractors, l ...

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How Contractors Can Prepare for the Next Recession

by Eve Dreyfuss, MOSSADAMS Partner, Tax Structuring Services A version of this article was previously posted in the August 2018 edition of UCON Magazine. Periods of economic growth and recession are cyclical. Downturns like the one that started in 2008 aren’t that uncommon, and neither are the booms that follow. That’s why it’s smart for businesses and their owners—especially contractors—to leverage some of the provisions in the new tax law and start planning for the next recession before it starts. Key Considerations With the passage of the 2017 tax reform reconciliation act, also known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), there are now new opportunities for contractors to reduce their tax burden while revenue is high. Rates are also significantly lower—including a 20% deduction for pass-through entities that applies through 2025—which is further helping increase cash flow. However, the TCJA also eliminates or limits many other tax breaks, such as the a ...

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November 2018 Legislative Updates

The House and Senate are out this week for the Thanksgiving recess and return next week with the goal of striking a deal on extending a government funding bill that is set to expire on December 7th. The most pressing issue surrounding the funding bill is the president’s request for border wall funding. Congress will also try to address expired tax breaks and potential technical fixes to the GOP tax law before the end of the year. Other pressing issues remain in the Senate with Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) demanding a vote on a bill to protect Robert Mueller and his investigation and Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) pushing for a vote on a bipartisan sentencing reform bill. Election Update: On Sunday, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson conceded the U.S. Senate race in Florida to Republican Gov. Rick Scott, giving Senate Republicans a 52-47 majority in the Senate with an expected 53 seats following the Mississippi runoff election later this month. In the House, Democrats hold a 232-198 ...

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Nonresidential Spending Retains Momentum in September, Up 8.9 Percent Year Over Year, Says ABC

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1—National nonresidential construction spending fell 0.3 percent in September but remains historically elevated, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data released today. Total nonresidential spending stood at $767.1 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized rate in September, an increase of 8.9 percent on a year-ago basis. Note that August’s estimate was revised almost a full percent higher from $762.7 billion to $769.1 billion, the highest level in the history of the series. Private nonresidential spending increased 0.1 percent in September while public nonresidential spending decreased 0.8 percent for the month. “Virtually no weight should be placed upon the monthly decline in nonresidential construction spending that occurred in September,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Rather, we should focus on the massive upward revision to August’s spending data. That revision finally aligns constructi ...

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Federal Update 10/15/18

The House and Senate are both in recess through the election with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel striking a deal with Senate Democrats to confirm three circuit court and 12 district court judges, allowing Democratic Senators in tough re-elections campaigns to hit the trail back in their home states. OSHA Clarification on Drug Testing and Incentive Programs On Oct. 11, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a memorandum clarifying its position on workplace safety incentive programs and post-incident drug testing included in the 2016 final rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses (also known as the Electronic Injury Reporting and Anti-Retaliation final rule), issued under the Obama administration. ABC National plans to offer a webinar on the memo—details should be announced this week. Infrastructure Update: On Oct. 10, the U.S. Senate approved the America’s Water Infrastructure Act, a waterways infrastructure bill that requires reau ...

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Federal Update

The House remains in recess through the November midterm elections and the Senate returns tomorrow to proceed with the House-passed Water Infrastructure (WRDA) bill. The Senate is currently scheduled to remain in session until October 26th, but could leave town earlier if a deal is made to confirm additional presidential nominations and circuit court judges. Please feel free to reach out with any questions/concerns. Kavanaugh Confirmation: Ending what is widely seen as the most controversial and heavily scrutinized nomination process for a Supreme Court Justice, on Friday, the Senate voted to invoke cloture on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court with critical yes votes from Senators Collins, Flake, and Manchin, while a lone Republican no vote from Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. The cloture vote limited debate on the nominee for 30 hours and a final vote of confirmation was held on Saturday, confirming Justice Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justi ...

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2018 ABC Voters Guide














Nonresidential Spending Reaches New High in August, Says ABC

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1— National nonresidential construction spending expanded 0.7 percent in August to its highest level since the U.S. Census Bureau began the data series in 2002, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis released today. Total nonresidential spending stood at $762.7 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized rate in August, which represents an increase of 8.4 percent compared to one year ago. Private nonresidential spending fell 0.2 percent in August largely due to a 1.3 percent decline in power-related spending, the largest private construction spending category, and public nonresidential spending increased 2 percent. “The good news on the nation’s economy and the construction sector just keeps coming,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “The increase in overall nonresidential construction spending was reasonably predictable given the predominance of positive leading indicators such as ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator, which r ...

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