Engineering Inc. - March/April 2015 - (Page 6)

Legislative Action Tax Reform Momentum Builds P Andrew HArrer/Getty ImAGes resident Obama and several congressional leaders continue to express interest in simplifying the federal tax code, though significant differences remain. Treasury officials are focused on lowering the top corporate tax rate, which at 35 percent is the highest among developed nations. The chairmen of the House and Senate tax-writing committees also want to lower tax rates paid by pass-through businesses, such as S corporations and partnerships. ACEC continues to advocate for comprehensive tax reform that treats all business structures equally. There is also disagreement over whether tax reform should be revenue-neutral or increase the overall tax burden. The administration and many in Congress agree that tax reform could present an opportunity to divert needed revenues into the Highway Trust Fund. The window for complex legislation such as tax reform will begin to close as the presidential election cycle accelerates. However, the tax-writing committees are expected to continue working toward tax reform even if a bill won't be up for a vote until after the 2016 election. ACEC continues to engage with congressional leaders to ensure that the engineering industry's tax policy priorities are considered. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) offers his vision for comprehensive tax reform beginning on page 8. 6 ENGINEERING INC. MaRCh / apRIl 2015 Congress Eyes Highway Trust Fund Fix, Long-Term Transportation Reauthorization L eaders in the House and Senate are working to identify a way to shore up the depleted Highway Trust Fund and advance a long-term reauthorization of federal highway, transit and safety programs. The current shortterm extension expires May 31. ACEC joined with other stakeholders in securing the signatures of 285 members of Congress to a letter urging House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to make passage of a long-term transportation bill a top priority. "We are united in our conviction that now is the time to end the cycle of short-term extensions that kick the can down the road by doing the work needed to pass a multi-year surface transportation bill," the bipartisan group wrote. "To make this happen, we support efforts to develop a long-term sustainable revenue source for our nation's transportation network as soon as possible. Otherwise, we will not be able to enact a transportation bill that truly meets our nation's economic and infrastructure needs." The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is expected to unveil its reauthorization legislation in the coming weeks. In a recent hearing, Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said passage of a long-term, fiscally responsible bill is the committee's foremost priority. "The conservative position is to pass a bill instead of short-term extensions," which cost taxpayers more money because of project deferrals and delays, he said. The bill will likely be similar to the six-year bill unanimously approved by the committee in 2014. The most significant challenge facing Congress is how to fund the program and bridge the $15 billion annual gap between current funding levels and revenues into the Highway Trust Fund. Several Senate Republicans have expressed openness to increasing federal gas and diesel taxes as one potential option, in part because the price of oil has dropped significantly over the past year. House leaders have been less supportive and point to other tax code changes, including repatriation of overseas corporate earnings, as a path forward to supplementing the Trust Fund. Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have introduced legislation to provide a onetime tax holiday on repatriated earnings, cutting the rate from 35 percent to 6.5 percent and depositing the revenues into the Highway Trust Fund. Reps. John Delaney (D-Md.) and Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) have introduced the Infrastructure 2.0 Act, which establishes a mandatory 8.75 percent tax rate for existing overseas earnings. According to the sponsors, it could produce enough revenue to fill the gap in the Highway Trust Fund for six years and capitalize a new $50 billion American Infrastructure Fund to finance transportation, water, energy, communications and educational facility projects. President Obama has supported a similar approach in his 2016 budget proposal. Recent comments by congressional leaders suggest that some form of repatriation is under serious consideration as a way to shore up the Highway Trust Fund, though some members prefer that repatriation be handled in the context of corporate tax reform. Introduced legislation creating a one-time tax holiday on repatriated earnings as revenue for Highway Trust Fund. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) Introduced Infrastructure 2.0 Act to boost Highway Trust Fund. Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) Rep. RIchard Hanna (R-N.Y.)

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Engineering Inc. - March/April 2015

Engineering Inc. - March/April 2015
From ACEC to You
Market Watch
Legislative Action
Senator Orrin Hatch
Breaking the Mold
App to Order
Making a Quality-of-Life Difference
Leading the Pac
2015 Annual Convention Preview
Guest Column
Business Insights
Members in the News
Mergers and Acquisitions

Engineering Inc. - March/April 2015