Engineering Inc. - September/October 2014 - (Page 4)
Member Firm Action
Supports Cash Accounting
President Signs Highway
Trust Fund Patch Into Law;
ACEC Decries 'Band-Aid'
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2014
House Spending Bill
Includes Major Cuts to
Water Programs; ACEC
Works to Restore Funding
he House Appropriations Committee has
to fund the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) in
2015 that includes major cuts
to the State Revolving Fund (SRF)
would fund the
Clean Water SRF
program at $261 million
and the Drinking Water SRF
at $757 million. Combined,
these totals are $1.36 billion
less than the enacted 2014
levels for the programs.
ACEC is lobbying congressional leaders to increase
funding levels for these vital
The bill would fund EPA
at $7.5 billion in 2015, a 9
percent cut from fiscal
2014. It includes
$75 million for
While the full House
might vote on the measure
in September, the Senate is
not expected to take up this
or other spending bills until
after the November elections.
DAVID BANKS/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES
he president has signed legislation cleared by Congress
to transfer $10.8 billion into the Highway Trust Fund and
extend MAP-21 highway and transit funding through May
2015. The legislation (H.R. 5021) averts a funding shortfall that
would have forced the U.S.
Department of Transportation
to delay and ration project
reimbursement payments to
ACEC joined with business
groups, transportation users,
safety advocates and other
Rep. Bill Shuster
stakeholders in supporting a
short-term patch, while also
calling for a long-term funding solution. "The U.S. economy
requires a surface transportation infrastructure network that can
keep pace with growing demands," the group wrote in a letter
to Congress. "A long-term federal commitment to prioritize and
invest in our aging infrastructure and safety needs is essential to
achieve this goal."
The Council worked to defeat an amendment from Sen. Mike
Lee (R-Utah) to phase down the federal gas tax and turn over
funding responsibility to the states. ACEC has consistently
opposed these so-called "devolution" proposals, which weaken
robust federal infrastructure investment. The Lee amendment
"undermines more than 50 years of federal commitment to
transportation infrastructure and places an unbearable burden
on states," ACEC President Dave Raymond wrote in a letter to
every senator. The Lee amendment was soundly rejected 28-69.
Raymond also participated in a strategy session on next steps
with Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Transportation
& Infrastructure Subcommittee. Raymond supported Carper's
proposal to deal with long-term transportation funding this year
rather than wait until next year.
"The patch is a Band-Aid when the patient really needs major
surgery to survive," said Raymond.
The Senate initially voted to shorten the extension to end
on December 2014, which would have forced action in a postelection lame duck session. The effort, led by Environment and
Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sen.
Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), was rejected
by the House.
House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman
Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said the extension to next May will provide
stability to state programs, while giving Congress time to work on
a long-term solution.
CEC grassroots action prompted strong support in
the Senate for the preservation of cash accounting
for engineering firms and other businesses.
At the request of the Council and other business groups,
Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Angus
King (I-Maine) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) circulated a letter to
senators expressing opposition to imposing restrictions on the
use of cash accounting. ACEC members contacted their senators in support of the bipartisan letter, generating 46 co-signers.
The letter was drafted in response to a tax reform proposal
that would limit the use of cash accounting to firms with less
than $10 million in revenues and sole proprietors. ACEC
embarked on a similar effort last year, and 71 members of the
House of Representatives signed a bipartisan letter in support
of retaining the cash method of accounting for engineering
firms and other businesses.
Proposals affecting cash accounting and other tax code
changes have been discussed in the context of broader reforms
to the tax code. While action by Congress on tax reform is
not expected this year, ACEC and its business community
allies are working to shape the thinking of lawmakers in
advance of future action.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Engineering Inc. - September/October 2014
Engineering Inc. - September/October 2014
From ACEC to You
Evolution of Excellence
Big on Data, Long on Promise
2014 Fall Conference
Members in the News
Mergers and Acquisitions
Engineering Inc. - September/October 2014