Engineering Inc. - July/August 2004 - (Page 8)

L E G I S L AT I V E AC T I O N ACEC SCORES TAX WIN IN CONGRESS, TEA-21 CONFERENCE BEGINS, LABOR REFORM UNDER ATTACK ACEC Scores Tax Wins in House and Senate ACEC President Dave Raymond. This gets us closer to a well- ACEC and industry allies have secured targeted A/E tax relief lan- funded, six-year package that will increase the nation's investment in guage in legislation that has passed both the House and Senate. The transportation infrastructure. measures now go to conference. House and Senate conferees continue to deliberate over substantial In the Senate, a bipartisan group led by Senator Kay Bailey differences between the respective reauthorization bills, including the Hutchison R-Texas successfully attached an amendment to the final funding level. Conferees also must wrestle with developing a Jumpstart Our Business Strength JOBS Act S. 1637 , that will fair funding formula for each state, a process that will pressure extend a tax cut of approximately three percent to A/E firms. The House and Senate members, as well as the White House, to increase tax relief will come in the form of a new tax deduction equal to nine the size of the package to ensure that states receive a fair return in percent of qualified production activities , gasoline tax revenue. which includes any engineering or archi- In the meantime, another short-term extension was passed to keep tectural services performed in the U.S. for the highway and transit programs running after the previous exten- domestic construction projects. sion expired on June 30. See related TEA-21 story on p. 16 . The House followed suit in late June, New Labor Reforms Again Under Union Attack clearing the American Jobs Creation Act The Senate adopted an amendment offered by Sen. Tom Harkin D- H.R. 4520 , which provides A/E firms Iowa that seeks to prevent the Department of Labor from moving with a straight three percent tax cut for forward with final regulations to update large corporations, and similar reductions the Fair Labor Standards Act FLSA . A for small corporations. While the House- Sen. Kay Bailey similar move was narrowly rejected by the passed bill limits the tax benefits to corpo- Hutchison R-Texas House, setting the stage for further debate rations, the Senate bill extends the new tax in the coming months. benefit to all businesses. ACEC is pressing During floor debate in May, Rep. House leaders to adopt the Senate's approach and ensure that the G e o r g e Miller D-Calif. asked for a new tax benefit applies to all business entities. recorded vote on a motion that would put Both S. 1637 and H.R. 4520 seek to create a new tax benefit to the House on record as supporting legisla- replace the Extraterritorial Income Tax Exclusion ETI , which was tion previously adopted by the Senate that Rep. Jim DeMint R-S.C. found to be in violation of international trade rules in 2002 by the would prevent the Department of Labor World Trade Organization WTO . ETI benefits exporters of cer- from moving forward on implementing tain goods and services, and is designed to offset inequities caused by the final FLSA reforms. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay R- differences in the U.S. and European tax systems. A/E firms have been beneficiaries of this tax benefit since the enactment of ETI's ISSUE ON THE MOVE WHAT'S NEXT predecessor program in 1972. This is a terrific example of what ACEC can accomplish with House/Senate conference; Tax relief for A/E firms clears focused grassroots lobbying, said ACEC Chairman Bill Howard. final conference report likely House and Senate This will be a real, bottom line benefit for our industry. in the fall. TEA -21 Conference Under Way TEA -21 goes to conference; Conference report possible Negotiations by a conference committee to work out the differences current program extended before August. between the House and Senate TEA-21 reauthorization proposals are now under way after a deadlock was resolved in the Senate in May. Additional amendments FLSA challenges in House and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle D-S.D. agreed to drop his expected during Senate objections to allowing a six-year TEA-21 reauthorization bill to go to appropriations process. conference with the House, ending a standoff that lasted for more than three weeks. To secure Daschle's support, Senate Majority Comment deadline ends SBA size standards Leader Bill Frist R-Tenn. pledged that Republicans would not July 2; revised standards agree to a final conference report unless it had bipartisan support. expected in the fall. Getting to conference was a crucial part of the process, said 8 ENGINEERING INC. J u l y l August 2004

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Engineering Inc. - July/August 2004

Table of Contents
From ACEC to You
News & Notes
Market Watch
Legislative Action
ACEC's Newly Elected Leaders
Road Block Ahead
Building a Rainbow Coalition
2004 Convention Highlights
ACEC Fall Conference
Members in the News
One on One
Engineering Excellence Award
Institute for Business Management

Engineering Inc. - July/August 2004