Engineering Inc. - March/April 2007 - (Page 6)

L EG I S L AT I V E ACTION FROM ACEC’S GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT ACEC WORKS WITH NEW CONGRESS TO MOVE TRANSPORTATION, WATER AND TAX RELIEF BILLS Congress Fully Funds Highways and Transit in Long-Term Continuing Resolution ACEC and its industry allies achieved an important legislative victory as Congress approved a $4 billion increase in highway and transit funding for 2007 authorized by SAFETEA LU. The funding was part of a larger “continuing resolution” to finance government programs through the end of the year. “This was a critical fight that we had to win,” said ACEC President Dave Raymond. “It goes beyond the debate over this year’s funding level to the larger issue of whether transportation trust-fund dollars will be used as intended by Congress and the taxpayer.” Cong re ss failed late last year to complete the appropriations bill that would have included the $4 billion increase in funding for highways and transit in 2007—passing instead a continuing resolution to maintain funding at last year’s lower levels. The passage of the long-term continuing resolution was preceded by a major grassroots effort by ACEC and its industr y allies to assure that the 2007 guaranteed spending levels authorized in SAFETEA LU were protected. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.), along with the committee’s senior Republican, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), played critical roles in the successful effort to protect the budget for highways and transit in 2007. On the Senate side, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) circulated a letter in support of restoring the transportation funding in the continuing resolution that garnered the support of 72 of his Senate colleagues. ACEC-Backed Legislation to Repeal 3 Percent Withholding Introduced in the House ACEC has endorsed legislation introduced by Congressmen Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) and Wally Herger (R-Calif.)—H.R. 1023— that seeks to repeal a tax withholding requirement for all government contracts and payments. The Meek/Herger bill would repeal Section 511 of the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005, which is a sweeping new requirement mandating that federal, state and local governments withhold 3 percent from payments for goods and services. The withholding mandate, which goes into effect in 2011, will cover all government contracts, as well as any payment to any person for a service or product provided to a government entity. ACEC is working with a broad coalition and actively lobbying Congress to approve H.R. 1023. Passage of this legislation also will be a major goal for ACEC’s “citizen lobbyists” during the Annual Convention in Washington, D.C. Tax Provisions Accompany Minimum Wage Hike The Senate has approved an $8 billion package of ACECsupported tax benefits for small businesses, which will be added to legislation to boost the federal minimum wage. A smaller tax package has been cleared by the House, which all but guarantees that business tax cuts will be part of the final package that boosts the minimum wage. The Senate package includes an extension of an expensing benefit that permits smaller firms to deduct the cost of qualified assets or property through 2010. The legislation also includes several technical changes to make it easier for firms to take advantage of the tax benefits of being a subchapter S corporation. Both the House and Senate propose to increase the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour over three years. President Bush has indicated his willingness to sign into law legislation that balances a minimum wage increase with tax relief. ACEC and its allies will continue to advocate for business tax relief as this package moves through the legislative process. ISSUES ON THE MOVE 3 percent contractor withholding Business tax benefits WHAT’S NEXT Repeal legislation to be introduced by spring Final passage expected in March Senate to introduce legislation in late spring House, Senate hearings; committee consideration in March House-passed water bill Congressman Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) Corps of Engineers projects bill 6 ENGINEERING INC. MARCH / APRIL 2007

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Engineering Inc. - March/April 2007

From ACEC to You
News & Notes
Legislative Action
Market Watch
Cover Story: Alternative Energy
The Greening of Wal-Mart
Re-Energizing the Industry
The BIM Boom
Help Wanted: Leaders for Tomorrow
The Path of Perseverance
ACEC/PAC Achieves Record Fundraising Year
ACEC Annual Convention
Helping Firms Manage Healthcare Costs
Facilities Management for A/E Firms
Business Insights
Members In The News
One on One

Engineering Inc. - March/April 2007