On July 7, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce unanimously approved the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 5587). The bill, introduced on June 28 by Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Pa.) and Katherine Clark (D-Ma.), reauthorizes and reforms the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which is the central federal investment mechanism for training in high-skill, in-demand jobs.
On the same day the committee voted, AED joined more than 250 other organizations in a letter to the panel’s Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-Va.), urging action on the bill. The industry-wide coalition of signatories highlighted the broad appeal of career and technical education (CTE) improvements. Not only are all industries suffering from the inability to recruit and retain technically-skilled workers, the impacts of the skills gap on any individual sector inevitably ripple up and down customer supply chains.
The association has long argued that responsive federal workforce policy should provide states and communities with the tools necessary to stimulate the growth of skills that put students into jobs. The reauthorization bill provides a structure closely aligned with the goals expressed in AED’s legislative priorities: utilizing Perkins as a tool to further empower states to nurture the abilities in demand by employers. The legislation would do that by:
• Aligning CTE programs to the needs of the regional, state and local labor markets.
• Supporting effective and meaningful collaboration between secondary and postsecondary institutions and employers.
• Increasing student participation in work-based learning opportunities.
• Promoting the use of industry recognized credentials and other recognized post-secondary credentials.
Improving technical education programs is a business imperative for equipment distributors. A recent study sponsored by the AED Foundation and prepared by researchers at the College of William & Mary found the technician shortage is costing distributors approximately $2.4 billion each year in lost revenue and economic opportunity. The study found the top reason technician positions go unfilled is that applicants lack the necessary hard skills. Curricula at high schools, community colleges and technical schools are not aligned with employer needs, meaning high-paying jobs are going unfilled.
Congress worked hard in 2015 to restore certainty to federal transportation programs and tax policy through passage of the FAST and PATH Acts; unfortunately, the skills gap is preventing American businesses from fully capitalizing on the economic opportunities those laws have created. By passing H.R. 5587, lawmakers could continue to make good on their investment in American business and infrastructure.
The bill now awaits consideration by the full House. Stay tuned to AED as the process moves forward and click here to tell your members of Congress to help build the technical workforce of the future.
For more information about the bill and the committee’s work, click here.
Leaders of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce unveiled the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.” Introduced by Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Pa.) and Katherine Clark (D-Ma.), the legislation reauthorizes and reforms the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which is the central federal investment mechanism for training in high-skill, in-demand jobs.
Since 1984, the Perkins Act has provided federal support to state and local career and technical education (CTE) programs. Its grants have offered students the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to compete for jobs in a broad range of fields, such as construction, health care and technology. Overdue for reauthorization and unaltered since 2006, the law no longer reflects the realities and challenges facing students and workers.
Through the reauthorization bill, committee members seek to build on recent primary education reforms in order to:
- Deliver states more flexibility to use federal resources in response to changing education and economic needs.
- Ensure career and technical education prepares all students, including historically disadvantaged and vulnerable students, for success in high-skill, high-wage occupations and careers in nontraditional fields.
- Improve alignment with in-demand jobs by supporting innovative learning opportunities, building better community partnerships, and encouraging stronger engagement with employers.
- Enhance career and technical education through increased focus on employability skills, work-based learning opportunities, and meaningful credentialing so students are prepared to enter the workforce poised for success.
- Streamline performance measures to ensure career and technical education programs deliver results for students and taxpayers.
- Reduce administrative burdens and simplify the process for states to apply for federal resources.
- Reward success and innovation by directing federal resources to replicate promising practices that best serve students and employers.
- Provide parents, students, and stakeholders a voice in setting performance goals and evaluating the effectiveness of local programs.
- Empower state and local leaders to develop plans that improve the quality of career and technical education and take into account unique local and state needs.
Responsive federal workforce policy should provide states and communities with the tools necessary to stimulate the growth of skills that put students into jobs. The reauthorization bill provides a structure closely aligned with the goals expressed in AED’s legislative priorities: utilizing Perkins as a tool to further empower states to support needed skills.
Click here to tell your members of Congress to help build the technical workforce of the future. Stay tuned to AED as the bill – and the long-expected version from the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee – moves forward through the legislative process.
To read a fact sheet on the bill, click here.
To read a more detailed bill summary, click here.
To read the bill, click here.
On July 6, the House Transportation & Infrastructure and Senate Environment & Public Works Committees’ leadership awarded initial grants under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s new Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program. In all, 18 projects received $759 million.
Referred to as “FASTLANE” grants, the program was created by the 2015 surface transportation reauthorization bill (the FAST Act) to help states and localities fund critical freight and highway projects across the country. The funds will help finance more than $3.6 billion in projects, which AED estimates will generate more than $230 million in equipment market activity (sales, rental and product support) for American dealers.
FASTLANE Grant Projects
|Total Project Cost|
|Interstate 10 Phoenix to Tucson Corridor Improvements||AZ||$54,000,000||$157,500,000|
|SR-11 Segment 2 and Southbound Connectors||CA||$49,280,000||$172,200,000|
|Arlington Memorial Bridge Reconstruction Project||DC||$90,000,000||$166,000,000|
|Port of Savannah International Multi-Modal Connector||GA||$44,000,000||$126,700,000|
|I-10 Freight CoRE||
|Conley Terminal Intermodal Improvements and
|I-390/I-490/Route 31 Interchange, Lyell Avenue Corridor Project||NY||$32,000,000||$162,900,000|
|US 69/75 Bryan County||OK||$62,000,000||$120,625,000|
|Atlantic Gateway: Partnering to Unlock the I-95 Corridor||VA||$165,000,000||$905,000,000|
|South Lander Street Grade Separation and Railroad Safety Project||WA||$45,000,000||$140,000,000|
|I-39/90 Corridor Project||WI||$40,000,000||$1,195,300,000|
|Truck Parking Availability System (TPAS)||FL||$10,778,237||$23,983,850|
|Cedar Rapids Logistics Park||IA||$25,650,000||$46,500,000|
|U.S 95 North Corridor Access Improvement Project||ID||$5,100,000||$8,500,000|
|Maine Intermodal Port Productivity Project||ME||$7,719,173||$15,438,347|
|Cross Harbor Freight Program (Rail)||NY||$10,672,590||$17,787,650|
|Coos Bay Rail Line – Tunnel Rehabilitation Project||OR||$11,000,000||$19,555,000|
|Strander Boulevard Extension and Grade Separation Phase 3||WA||$5,000,000||$38,000,000|
For more information about the program, visit www.transportation.gov/FASTLANEgrants.
Gradall Industries, Inc., rolled out its 20,000th excavator on Friday, June 24, during a celebration at its headquarters here that included employees, retirees, community leaders and a variety of local, state and federal government officials.
The 20,000th machine was a Discovery Series D154 model, specially wrapped in red, white and blue to signify Gradall’s association with the “I Make America” campaign organized by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. Discovery Series models are Gradall’s newest – introduced in February 2015 and positioned as an economical solution for governments that need multi-purpose machines for ditching, grading and street repair.
Mike Haberman, president of Gradall Industries, recognized the importance of government support on every level, welcoming U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, State Rep. Al Landis and Mayors Joel Day of New Philadelphia and Rick Homrighausen of Dover to the dais.
“Today is an important day,” he said, “as we look back on the history of Gradall, and look forward to the next 20,000 machines manufactured here.”
Haberman said three components will allow that continued growth to happen: energy independence, a focus on education and regulatory and tax reform.
“We need people who are focused on careers and living-wage jobs who can raise families,” he added. “I truly believe if you allow the American worker the ability, they will drive efficiency. They will drive quality and innovation. And those things drive jobs.”
Gradall supports over 300 jobs in New Philadelphia at its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, where it also produces Vacall vacuum and jetting machines for sewer cleaning, hydro excavation, sweeping and industrial cleanup.
But Gradall actually traces its roots back to the Cleveland area, when the idea of mounting an excavator upperstructure on the back of a mobile truck chassis was seen as a means to handle road construction during manpower shortages connected to World War II.
Warner & Swasey acquired the rights to the excavator and built the first units in 1946, moving the operation to New Philadelphia in 1950. Gradall has had a number of owners since then, including its current parent – the Alamo Group of Seguin, Texas.
“Gradall is part of the fabric of this community,” Haberman said, noting that Gradall has a history of being a good corporate citizen while also crediting its many local alliances including the Buckeye Career Center and the Kent State Tuscarawas campus. “We’ve been here a long time, and we want to stay here a lot longer,” he noted.
Gradall is the only manufacturer that produces excavators only in America, creating an appropriate link to the “I Make America” initiative of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), which was represented at the event. “I Make America” highlights the manufacturing issues at stake this election season, and promotes the public policies manufacturers like Gradall need to stay globally competitive.
The 20,000th machine was sold to GS Equipment, a Gradall distributor in Florida, owned by the Ferwerda family – descendants of Ray and Koop Ferwerda, the inventors of the first Gradall prototypes in 1944. Attending Friday’s event were Ray Ferwerda Jr., grandson of Koop, and Ray’s son, Fred.
“There’s a tremendous connection there from the beginning to the end,” commented Haberman.
Keys to the machine were handed over to the Ferwerdas by Ted DeMattio, a Gradall retiree who drove the first excavator off the manufacturing floor in New Philadelphia in 1950. The excavator will remain in New Philadelphia through July for community events, then shipped to GS Equipment.
McAllister Equipment Co. is pleased to announce the promotion of Park J. Allison to Vice President of Sales. Based at the company’s headquarters in Alsip-IL, Allison will be responsible for providing leadership and coordination for McAllister’s sales function. He will develop strategies to deliver profitable growth while creating and maintaining a culture of success.
Allison brings over 24 years of industry experience, including 12 years in various sales positions at McAllister. Over the years he has gained invaluable direct sales experience in both new and used equipment sales. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University, majoring in marketing with an emphasis on professional selling. He is very active in industry associations. Allison’s background, education and knowledge fortify him with the skills and knowledge to successfully lead McAllister’s sales team into a bright future.
About McAllister Equipment Co.: Established in 1955, McAllister Equipment Co. is a full-service construction equipment distributor with five branches in central and northern Illinois. Representing quality product lines like Volvo Construction Equipment, Link-Belt Cranes, Kolberg-Pioneer Aggregate Equipment and Doosan Portable Power, McAllister caters to all segments of the construction, industrial and municipal industries. For more information, please contact Trish Maher at email@example.com or visit www.mcallisterequipment.com.
In response to the Flint water crisis and a renewed focus on crumbling water infrastructure networks in municipalities across the country, congressional appropriators have proposed increasing Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) funding.
Reacting to both public and industry pressure, both the House and Senate fiscal year 2016 Interior and Environment Appropriations bills contemplate at least partially reversing recent cuts to the Drinking Water SRF programs. The House proposal, which was approved by the full Appropriations Committee on June 15, provides $1 billion for the Clean Water SRF and $1.07 billion for the Drinking Water SRF. The following day, on June 16, the Senate Appropriations Committee blessed legislation to increase funding for the SRF programs to $2.37 billion ($1.35 billion for the Clean Water SRF and $1.02 billion for the Drinking Water SRF). The Clean Water SRF is currently funded at $1.39 billion and the Drinking Water SRF at $863 million.
Both chambers are also seeking to provide funding for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA). Established in 2014 with enactment of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), WIFIA provides low interest rate financing for the construction of water and wastewater infrastructure. Unfortunately, due to various restrictions and inadequate funding, the WIFIA program has taken longer than anticipated to get off the ground. Nonetheless, the House Appropriations Committee proposes WIFIA receive $50 million while the Senate’s panel seeks $30 million.
Despite a recent flurry of action on the Interior and Environment Appropriations legislation, the proposals’ prospects are bleak. With a limited legislative calendar and controversial environmental-focused policy riders in both the House and Senate bills, conventional wisdom is the SRF programs will be funded through a continuing resolution or omnibus appropriations package later in the year.
On June 27, the nonprofit transportation research group TRIP released its most-recent report: The Interstate Highway System Turns 60: Challenges to Its Ability to Continue to Save Lives, Time and Money. The report found that as the U.S. Interstate Highway System turns 60 years old this week, it faces increasing congestion, unprecedented levels of travel – particularly by large trucks – and insufficient funding to make needed repairs and improvements.
While the nation’s highways tend to be in better condition than other roads and bridges, the aging system is becoming more and more congested but lacks the required funding for needed improvements and repairs. The current backlog of highway improvements is estimated by the Department of Transportation to be $189 billion. The nation’s current transportation investment falls far short of this level, and is less than two-thirds (61 percent) of the amount needed to keep highways in good condition and make the improvements necessary to meet the nation’s growing need for personal and commercial mobility.
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST Act), passed in 2015 after months of uncertainty, modestly increased spending without providing a long-term, sustainable revenue source. As a result, the nation’s Highway Trust Fund will face a $16 billion annual shortfall by 2020.
While the condition of Interstate pavement and bridges is acceptable, some deficiencies exist and could be exacerbated by recent surges in vehicle miles traveled. Reinvesting in American highways is a key tool for the federal government to pump resources into the economy, provide certainty for businesses up and down the supply chain, facilitate interstate commerce and help ensure the safety of millions of motorists each day.
While the passage of the FAST Act was a victory for AED and its industry allies, the association continues its work to put the Highway Trust Fund back on stable fiscal footing and ensure the long-term health of the national infrastructure. The TRIP report underscores not only the importance of the Interstate Highway System, but also the absolute necessity of securing its future.
For more information about the report, including state-by-state traffic and congestion data, visit www.tripnet.org.
For years, AED has called for comprehensive tax reform that simplifies the code, simultaneously reduces rates for corporations and pass-through businesses, improves the climate for capital investment, protects family businesses from the estate tax, and raises more revenue for infrastructure investment. Past tax reform plans proposed by House and Senate leaders have come up short on most of the points. Now we have a proposal that checks most of the right boxes.
On June 24, the Republican leadership of the House Ways & Means Committee unveiled a blueprint for comprehensive tax reform that’s closely aligned with AED’s tax agenda. Among other things, the Ways & Means blueprint proposes to:
- Cut taxes on small businesses by creating a separate tax rate of 25 percent for pass-through companies, lowering the U.S. corporate tax rate from the highest in the industrialized world to 20 percent and shifting to a “territorial” system with more competitive rates.
- Provide a tax-free return on new capital investment by allowing full and immediate write-offs (i.e., 100 percent expensing for business assets).
- Eliminate the death tax, which can take up to 40 percent of a family business’s assets if the owner passes away.
- Eliminate the alternative minimum tax.
- Simplify the tax code by consolidating the individual system down to three tax brackets, lowering the top individual income tax rate to 33 percent, creating a larger standard deduction and a larger child and dependent tax credit.
- Make it easier to pay for higher education by streamlining the maze of education tax benefits.
- Cut taxes on savings and investment by allowing families and individuals to deduct 50 percent of the dividends, capital gains and interest received from stocks and mutual funds.
Unlike past House and Senate reform plans, the House Ways & Means proposal would not repeal LIFO (“With respect to inventory, the Blueprint will preserve the last-in-first-out [LIFO] method of accounting.”) However, the future of Sec. 1031 like-kind exchange (LKE; another AED priority), is less certain. LKE isn’t referenced in the blueprint, which may in part be due to the fact that the proposal contemplates 100 percent expensing. In the new tax environment, LKE may be less necessary given that if the proceeds from an asset sale are used to buy a new asset, the cost of the new asset can be immediately expensed, offsetting the tax associated with the gain from the original asset sale. However, the blueprint makes several references to “special interest” provisions of the code, so AED is on high alert regarding the potential impact of the plan on LKE, business interest deduction and other provisions important to AED members.
One area where the House Ways & Means plan falls short is on infrastructure. AED has long argued that Congress should use the tax reform process to create new user fees to shore up the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). Better infrastructure is critical to a growing, competitive economy. While economic growth is one of the blueprint’s major priorities, unfortunately it makes no mention of infrastructure, user fees or financing tools such as bonds. Rest assured AED will continue its aggressive advocacy on the infrastructure front to ensure the HTF’s long-term stability and more resources for other forms of infrastructure investment.
While the Ways & Means blueprint is an important step in the reform process, there is still a long way to go in the process. Over the next several months, lawmakers and lobbying organizations will be analyzing the proposal to determine its potential impact on the economy and specific sectors. Although pressure for tax reform is building, nothing significant will happen until the new president takes office next year and the new Congress convenes. In the meantime, AED members should be engaging aggressively with candidates to help shape next year’s tax debate.
“The House Ways & Means Committee blueprint is good starting point for the tax reform conversation,” AED President & CEO Brian P. McGuire said. “It’s clear that Chairman Brady and his colleagues have listened to the input AED, our members and others have provided about how to simplify and improve the code. We look forward to working with Chairman Brady and other members of the House and Senate in bipartisan manner over the coming months to pursue our collective goal: a tax code that supports a more vibrant U.S. economy.”
This summer, AED will be conducting a comprehensive member tax survey to gather member input on reform proposals and gather data to support our lobbying on the industry’s behalf. Look for our survey in your mailbox in July. Your prompt response will help AED be an even more effective advocate for the equipment industry.
To read House Ways & Means Chairman Kevin Brady’s (R-Texas) op-ed about the reform plan in the Wall Street Journal, click here.
Christine Wehrman, CEO and executive vice president of the American Rental Association (ARA), Moline, Ill., was presented with the European Rental Association (ERA) Lifetime Achievement Award during a special ceremony as part of the ERA’s European Rental Awards 2016 dinner at the ERA’s 10th annual convention in Stockholm on Wednesday, June 8.
Wehrman, who in January announced her planned retirement from ARA after a successor is named later this year, said she was honored to be recognized by ERA.
“It has truly been a privilege to serve ARA’s general and associate membership in my CEO position and work with such capable volunteer leaders and staff members throughout the association and the industry. They all share in this award on behalf of ARA,” Wehrman said.
“I also congratulate ERA on its 10th anniversary and thank those who have helped foster such a close friendship between ERA and ARA, including Gérard Déprez, ERA’s first president, and Michel Petitjean, ERA’s secretary general, as we expanded the Global Rental Alliance over the last decade and worked together to further the understanding of the global equipment rental industry,” Wehrman said.
Wehrman joined ARA in late 2000 as the association’s third CEO and executive vice president since its founding in 1955. As she prepares to leave ARA, the association has reached several milestones, including the most member stores in ARA’s 60-year history, solidifying the stature of The Rental Show as the world’s largest equipment rental-specific trade show and convention, development of performance metrics, expanded educational and risk management opportunities, market-leading research, publications and an active government affairs program.
“I am proud that the association has reached the current level of performance to benefit our members and the industry as membership engagement is at an all-time high and we continue to increase our global activity with our partners, such as ERA,” Wehrman said.
“ARA also integrates both rental and supplier/manufacturer members throughut the association and is a true partner with associate members to provide marketplace opportunities within the industry. Many associate members distribute their products and services around the world, which is one of the reasons ARA continues to advance its global activities,” she said.
About ARA: (www.ARArental.org) The American Rental Association, Moline, Ill., is an international trade association for owners of equipment rental businesses and the manufacturers and suppliers of construction/industrial, general tool and party/event rental equipment. ARA members, which include more than 9,500 rental businesses and nearly 1,000 manufacturers and suppliers, are located in every U.S. state, every Canadian province and more than 30 countries worldwide. Founded in 1955, ARA is the source for information, advocacy, risk management, business development tools, education and training, networking and marketplace opportunities for the equipment rental industry throughout the world.
About ERA: (www.ERArental.org) The European Rental Association (ERA), was created in 2006 to represent national rental associations and equipment rental companies in Europe. Today the membership includes over 5,000 rental companies, either directly or through 14 national rental associations. ERA is active through its working groups in the fields of Promotion, Safety and Sustainability, Statistics, Technical and General Rental Conditions. The 2016 ERA convention took place in Stockholm on 8 and 9 June. Extensive information on ERA’s activities, reports and publications is available in the ERA website.
On June 7-10, equipment distributors from across the nation descended on Capitol Hill as Washington, D.C. played host to the 2016 Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) Washington Fly-In.
The annual gathering, cosponsored this year by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), is the equipment industry’s foremost public policy event. The scores of participants personally engaged in the policy process, heard directly from lawmakers about the status of key issues, and network with other industry leaders. Topping the agenda were workforce development, tax reform, infrastructure investment, and the 2016 elections.
In total, more than a dozen members of Congress and congressional candidates personally participated in various portions of the meeting, including an evening reception with House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas). Attendees also met with the Federal Highway Administration’s Deputy Administrator David Kim and senior Treasury Department officials.
Over the course of the three-day conference, delegations of AED leaders and staff participated in meetings with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Higher Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee Chairman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), and House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas). Additionally, Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) received the 2016 AED Legislative Leadership Award for his efforts to reinstate bonus depreciation and permanently increase Sec. 179 expensing levels.
Throughout the Fly-In, whether during the panels, presentations or Capitol Hill meetings, members were reminded to remain informed on the issues affecting the equipment industry and active in the political process. They were encouraged to be a persistent grassroots voice for business as they are ultimately the best advocates for their concerns.
“AED does a great job at educating dealers about current topics that are important to our industry,” AED At-Large Director Gayle Humphries, CFO of JCB of Georgia said. “The meetings with legislators are crucial. It keeps these topics fresh on their mind as they are voting on bills that affect our industry. The Fly-In is a great networking event as well.”
Whether or not you were there, there are many things you can do to help keep up the momentum:
- Give AED PAC your solicitation consent so we can talk to you about our election year strategy.
- Contact Christian A. Klein about joining the AED Advocacy Action Group.
- Contact Daniel B. Fisher about hosting a member of Congress at your facility.
- Stay tuned for further information about the 2017 Washington Fly-In!