AED News

What to Watch on Nov. 8

November 7, 2016 9:22 pm

With only hours to go before the election, the nation’s political dynamics remain fluid. Nonetheless, the experts and political pundits all agree-there’s never been a campaign season like 2016 and the presidential contest and key Senate and House races are too close to accurately predict.

A Record-Breaking Cycle for AED PAC
The 2015-2016 election cycle was the most successful in the association’s history. In 2016 alone, AED members contributed more than $105,000. As of today, AED has disbursed $170,500 to 74 candidates, more than 50 of whom have had contributions hand-delivered by AED members ImPACt 2016 program. Based on plans for post-election ImPACt meetings and debt retirement. The association is well on track to meet the goal of $175,000 in contributions to candidates during the 2015-2016 cycle.

The Presidency
The race between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and businessman Donald Trump remains tight. Despite Clinton apparently coasting to victory for much of October, the race has tightened significantly. Leading up to the election, Clinton’s chance of winning is greater than 65 percent according to the well-respected political statistics blog FiveThirtyEight and PredictWise, which tracks prediction markets (betting), puts Clinton’s odds at 83 percent.

While national polling hints Clinton should win, the electoral college map shows key swing states are still toss-ups (Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina), giving Trump a slim path to victory. Our recommendation: Buckle up. Legal battles in key states could put the presidential election results in limbo well after Nov. 8.

The Senate
The Republicans currently hold a 54-46 advantage in the U.S. Senate. It’s anticipated the GOP will lose Senate seats; the question is, how many?

PredictWise has the chances of Democrats taking Senate control at 68 percent. Pundits predict Republican incumbents losing in Illinois and Wisconsin (though the Badger State race between Sen. Ron Johnson (R) and former Sen. Russ Feingold (D) is getting tighter). Nonetheless, several states remain so close that anything could happen. As results roll in, be sure to watch the outcomes in Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania (only Nevada is currently held by a Democrat).

The House
Democrats are also expected to pick up seats in the U.S. House and narrow the current GOP advantage in the chamber (246-186). However, there is bipartisan consensus that for the Republicans to lose the House it would be nothing short of a miracle.

Though Democrats will likely not recapture the House, one race in particular could serve as a bellwether for how many House seats the Democrats gain. Former Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman, John Mica (R-Fla.), a House member since 1992 loses, is in a tight race in a toss-up district. If he loses, it could signal Democrats will cut into the House Republican majority more than expected.

Vote!
With such close races, it is vital that the construction equipment industry turn out to support candidates committed to pro-growth, job creating policies.

Remember that the elections are about more than just who will be the next chief executive. Your representative and senator will be voting on future highway, water infrastructure, and workforce development bills and guiding the looming debate over a comprehensive tax reform, labor issues, and other proposals that impact your company’s cost of doing business.

Stay tuned to AED for post-election analysis from the association’s Washington team.

AED Commends the Construction Equipment Industry’s Congressional Champions

October 25, 2016 3:39 pm

With the elections swiftly approaching, AED unveiled its 2016 “Key Vote” analysis in Construction Equipment Distribution (CED) magazine’s September issue. The association compiles the scorecard every election year to educate and inform the equipment industry about lawmakers’ support for the industry legislation agenda. This year’s analysis includes votes on highway, tax, energy, regulatory, and trade legislation.

In the House, 52 out of 435 lawmakers scored 100 percent, while 13 senators out of 100 had perfect voting records on AED’s priority issues, The Illinois and Pennsylvania congressional delegations led the way with six top performers each followed close behind by the New York, Ohio and California delegations (five each).

“Congratulations to the distinguished men and woman who proved to be true champions for the construction equipment industry on Capitol Hill during the 114th congressional session,” said Brian P. McGuire, AED’s president & CEO. “These lawmakers represent a diverse group of states from across the country and deserve to be commended for their commitment to pro-growth policies. We look forward to growing this list in the next Congress as AED continues to educate lawmakers about the issues important to our industry.”

To read the full article and see voting records for all members of Congress, click here.

House

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.)
Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.)
Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.)
Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.)
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas)*
Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.)
Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.)
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Cal.)
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.)
Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.)
Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.)
Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.)
Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.)
Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.)
Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.)
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.)
Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.)
Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.)
Rep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.)*
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.)*
Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.)*
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.)
Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.)*
Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.)
Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.)
Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio)
Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio)*
Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.)
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.)
Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.)
Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.)
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.)
Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.)
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.)
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)
Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.)
Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.)
Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.)
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.)
Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.)
Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho)
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.)
Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio)
Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.)
Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio)
Rep. Dave Trott (R-Mich.)
Rep Michael Turner (R-Ohio)
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.)
Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.)
Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.)
Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Calif.)
Senate

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)*
Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.)
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)*
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.)
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)

* Indicates the lawmaker was not present for one or more AED key votes.

AED Needs Your Input on Taxes

October 24, 2016 6:45 pm

AED is in the midst of a major survey project to gather data about how equipment dealers are affected by the current tax code and how tax reform could impact the industry. Participation has been strong (41 dealers have submitted data so far), but additional responses will help ensure AED has a more accurate snapshot of the industry.

AED dealer members are asked to take the survey online here. The survey webpage also includes a link to a PDF that participants can print, complete and email or fax to AED’s Washington office.

The data is important because AED is engaging with the U.S. Treasury Department to develop safe harbor guidance on rental fleet depreciation. The information members provide will help AED ensure that dealer interests are protected and that any guidance covers the broadest possible swath of dealers.

Your input is also critical as the tax reform debate takes shape on Capitol Hill. AED will use the survey data you provide to:

• Ensure AED’s tax reform agenda matches your business needs;
• Educate members of Congress about how dealers are affected by the current tax code and proposed changes;
• Fight for a better business climate for capital investment and family companies;
• Develop advocacy materials to help members and AED staff engage with lawmakers to shape national tax policy;
• Draft congressional testimony, press conference statements, and docket comments on federal tax rules; and
• Identify topics for AED publications, articles, and presentation topics at association conferences

But before we can do any of that, we need to hear from you! How would your company be impacted if Congress eliminated the business interest deduction? Is your company an S-corp, C-corp, or something else? Is your company subject to the new 3.8 percent tax on rental income? Do you use LKE? How about LIFO? Did bonus depreciation encourage equipment purchasing? How much money is your company spending to protect itself from the federal estate tax? AED needs answers to those questions and a handful of others to make sure we’re representing you as effectively as we can.

To access the survey, click here.

If you have questions about the survey, please contact AED Vice President of Government Affairs Christian Klein at 703-739-9513 or caklein@aednet.org.

Administration Move on Cuba Regulations Is Another Important Step Towards Normalized Relations

October 14, 2016 6:16 pm

AED President & CEO Brian P. McGuire issued the following statement in response to the Obama administration’s announcement that it was amending Cuban sanction regulations to facilitate scientific collaboration, increased humanitarian support and trade and commerce between the United States and Cuba. 

We’re very pleased that President Obama has made these additional, commonsense improvements to the Cuban sanction regulations. This is further progress towards normalized relations that will benefit both the American and Cuban people.

But more has to happen. It’s time for Congress to publicly and comprehensively review our nation’s Cuba policy, which seems out of step with geopolitical realities, public opinion and America’s economic interests. Until Congress acts to lift the embargo, U.S. equipment distributors and manufacturers and other businesses cannot take advantage of opportunities to help upgrade Cuba’s infrastructure and help the Cuban people build a better future.

Obama Administration Issues Mandatory Sick Leave Rule

October 3, 2016 3:11 pm

Furthering its efforts to implement its policy priorities through executive action, on Sept. 30, the Department of Labor (DOL) unveiled a final rule mandating paid sick leave for employees of federal government contractors.

The mandate, which follows an executive order on the same topic issued by President Obama in Sept. 2015, will require covered federal government workers to accrue at least seven days (56 hours) annually to   The rule applies only to federal contracts awarded starting Jan. 1, 2017.

The business community expressed concern that the requirement will lead companies that already provide benefits to offer less generous policies and that the new federal regulation add another layer to a complex maze of state and local laws on the topic.

For further information about the rule, including a DOL issued fact sheet and FAQ document, visit: https://www.dol.gov/whd/govcontracts/eo13706/index.htm

Summer Congressional Visits Reap Legislative Progress

September 26, 2016 1:40 pm

AED has made coordinating industry congressional facility visits and meetings a top priority. More than 50 such events have occurred in 2016 alone, with more planned before election day. The visits are reaping substantial benefits as Congress is making progress on the industry’s remaining legislative priorities despite it being a presidential election year, which oftentimes halts the lawmaking process.

At the end of 2015, AED scored major legislative victories as bonus depreciation was reinstated and extended, increased Sec. 179 expensing levels were permanently increased (and indexed to inflation), the crude oil export ban was lifted, the Export-Import Bank was revived and a multiyear highway bill was enacted. Consequently, in 2016, the association turned its focus to two remaining policy priorities—Carl D. Perkins Act reauthorization (to address the skilled worker shortage) and completing the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) (investment in Army Corps of Engineers projects). AED’s recent congressional meetings, facility visits and overall messaging focused on encouraging action on these issues.

Just before lawmakers returned to Washington following a lengthy recess, AED’s President & CEO Brian McGuire urged congressional leadership to address the nation’s skilled worker shortage and invest in Army Corps of Engineers projects, such as building, maintaining and improving harbors, dams, locks and navigation channels, before year’s end. McGuire and AED’s Senior Vice President Diane Benck of West Side Tractor Sales Co. personally hand-delivered the letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) during a meeting in Milwaukee on Sept. 1.

Additionally, to underscore the importance of Perkins Act reauthorization for the entire construction sector, on Sept. 8, AED organized 26 leading trade groups, urging Congress to swiftly pass and enact the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 5587). The bipartisan bill would reform, modernize and reauthorize the Perkins Act.

Subsequently, Congress made significant progress on AED’s legislative agenda, as the House approved legislation reauthorizing federal career technical education programs and the Senate passed legislation to fund Army Corps of Engineer construction programs and invest in underground water infrastructure.

While it’s been a busy few weeks on Capitol Hill, the Obama administration remains busy attempting to burnish its legacy through regulatory incursion and executive actions. On Aug. 4, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) restricting the discounting of shareholder stock in family-owned operations for the purpose determining federal estate tax liability. The long-expected proposal substantially alters the already onerous levy on family-owned companies. To learn more about the regulation and to submit comments via an easy web form designed by the Family Business Coalition, of which AED is an active member, visit www.noestatetaxhike.org.

AED is keeping the pressure on Congress and the administration to implement the association’s growth and job-creating policy priorities and refrain from placing unnecessary, burdensome restrictions on construction equipment companies. We’re optimistic more victories on the horizon. However, direct member engagement is essential.

There are many ways for AED members to engage in the policymaking process, including contacting your lawmakers directly about WRDA and the Perkins Act, granting the association permission to freely discuss the importance of AED PAC, hosting a congressional facility visit or simply taking a few minutes to complete the new AED tax survey (details were sent to AED primary dealer contacts and aides us in our advocacy efforts).

Also, with pivotal elections forthcoming, it’s important to vote and be educated about the candidates you must choose from. As an employer, you should also engage your employees and encourage their participation in the process. Be sure to visit ofmk.freeenterpriseaction.com/ to vote for further information on the voting process and resources to make sure your voice is heard.

Congress Considers AED-Supported Workforce, Water Infrastructure Bills

September 16, 2016 8:55 pm

AED’s 2016 legislative priorities are moving closer to the finish line as the House approved legislation reauthorizing federal career technical education programs and the Senate passed legislation to fund Army Corps of Engineer construction programs and invest in underground water infrastructure.

The congressional action comes on the heels of AED’s President & CEO Brian McGuire and Senior Vice President Diane Benck of West Side Tractor Sales Co. hand-delivering a letter on Sept. 1 to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) urging fast action on these AED-supported proposals.

Perkins Act Reauthorization
On Sept. 13, the House overwhelmingly approved (405-5), the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 5587), legislation that modernizes, reforms and reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. The Perkins Act is the federal government’s primary vehicle for investment in CTE programs and is long-overdue for update. H.R. 5587 contains many AED-supported workforce priorities, including:

• 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.

In a letter to House leadership coordinated by AED and delivered on Sept. 8, 26 leading construction industry organizations told Congress to swiftly pass H.R. 5587, citing an AED Foundation report prepared by researchers at the College of William and Mary. The study found that the equipment technician shortage is costing dealers approximately $2.4 billion per year in lost revenue and economic activity. Citing a lack of “hard skills” as the top reason technician positions are going unfilled, the report noted that vacancies at construction equipment dealerships remain open for longer than three times the national average.

The legislation now heads to the Senate where the association will press for action before the end of the year.

Water Resources Development Act
Meanwhile, the Senate was also hard at work finalizing a Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) (S. 2848), legislation investing in Army Corps of Engineers projects, such as building, maintaining and improving harbors, dams, locks and navigation channels. Additionally, S. 2848 provides about $270 million in mandatory funds for the EPA and other federal agencies to respond to drinking water emergencies and lead exposure, such as the Flint, Michigan situation.

A 2012 AED-commissioned study by researchers at the College of William & Mary found that every one dollar invested in “conservation and development structures” (such as those supported by WRDA) leads to $10.59 in economic output (GDP) and generates $3.18 in tax revenues, including $2.12 for the federal government and $1.06 for state and local entities over a twenty-year period.

The House is poised to approve its own WRDA bill (H.R. 5303), which is similar to the S. 2848, but doesn’t include any funding for drinking water infrastructure, before recessing until after the election. Earlier in the month, AED assisted Reps. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) and Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) in gathering congressional support for a letter to House leadership urging that H.R. 5303 receive House floor consideration before Sept. 30. In total, 143 members of Congress joined the effort.

Following House passage, House and Senate leaders are expected to commence negotiations to reconcile differences between the chambers’ WRDA proposals.

AED will continue to keep the pressure on Congress to complete work on these important priorities before the end of 2016.

Construction Industry Urges Congress to Tackle Skilled Worker Shortage

September 9, 2016 1:41 pm

In a letter to House leadership coordinated by AED and delivered on Sept. 8, 26 leading construction industry organizations told Congress to swiftly pass and enact the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 5587), bipartisan legislation that reforms, modernizes, and reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Act.

The groups told lawmakers that, “By making technical education a priority, Congress can help better prepare workers for well-paying careers, ensure that U.S. companies are able to seize new business opportunities and make the United States more competitive in the global economy. Businesses, schools and government officials must collectively commit to tackling the technical education crisis at all levels, and you can take a great step towards enabling that commitment by passing H.R. 5587.”

The letter from construction, contractor and supplier organizations highlighted the stark findings of a study sponsored by the AED Foundation and released in January. That report, prepared by researchers at the College of William and Mary, found the equipment technician shortage is costing dealers approximately $2.4 billion per year in lost revenue and economic activity. Citing a lack of “hard skills” as the top reason technician positions are going unfilled, the study noted that vacancies at construction equipment dealerships remain open for longer than three times the national average.

“Workforce challenges are impacting the construction industry and every other economic sector in the United States,” AED President & CEO Brian McGuire said. “While the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act won’t completely solve the issue, it makes significant improvements to current law and enhances aspects of the long-overdue-for-reauthorization Carl D. Perkins Act in order to better serve both workers and employers. The House should immediately approve H.R. 5587 and put pressure on the Senate to address the skilled worker shortage a top congressional priority before the end of 2016.”

The following organizations signed the letter:

Air Conditioning Contractors of America
American Coal Ash Association
American Concrete Pavement Association
American Concrete Pipe Association
American Concrete Pressure Pipe Association
American Institute of Steel Construction
American Rental Association
AED Government Affairs Office
121 North Henry Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Telephone: 703.739.9513
Facsimile: 703.739.9488
Electronic Mail: aeddc@aednet.org
American Road & Transportation Builders Association
American Supply Association
American Traffic Safety Services Association
Associated Equipment Distributors
Association of Equipment Manufacturers
Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute
Distribution Contractors Association
Heating, Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International
Mason Contractors Association of America
National Asphalt Pavement Association
National Association of Manufacturers
National Ground Water Association
National Ready Mixed Concrete Association
National Roofing Contractors Association
National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association
National Utility Contractors Association
Portland Cement Association
Power and Communication Contractors Association
Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute

To download a copy of the letter, click here.

Equipment Industry Says WRDA, Workforce Are Must-Do Priorities for Returning Congress

September 7, 2016 7:01 pm

As Congress returns to Washington, D.C. following the August recess, AED has called on lawmakers to finish the job on two of the construction equipment industry’s top policy priorities: Carl D. Perkins Act reauthorization legislation and a Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).

In a Sept. 7 letter to congressional leadership, AED’s President & CEO Brian McGuire acknowledged the limited days left in the legislative calendar, but encouraged lawmakers to address the nation’s skilled worker shortage and invest in Army Corps of Engineers projects, such as building, maintaining and improving harbors, dams, locks and navigation channels.

Highlighting the results of a recent AED Foundation-commissioned study by researchers at the College of William & Mary, which found the technician shortage is costing equipment dealers approximately $2.4 billion each year in lost revenue and economic opportunity, McGuire urged both chambers to finish work in 2016 to reauthorize, reform and modernize the outdated Carl D. Perkins Act. AED has endorsed the bipartisan House Education & the Workforce Committee-approved Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 5587) as a great step toward tackling the country’s technical education crisis.

Additionally, McGuire reminded lawmakers that enacting a WRDA bill this year will create jobs, spur economic growth and support American competitiveness. A 2012 AED-commissioned study by researchers at the College of William & Mary found that every one dollar invested in “conservation and development structures” (such as those supported by WRDA) leads to $10.59 in economic output (GDP) and generates $3.18 in tax revenues, including $2.12 for the federal government and $1.06 for state and local entities over a twenty-year period.

McGuire and AED’s Senior Vice President Diane Benck of West Side Tractor Sales Co. hand-delivered the letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan during a meeting in Milwaukee on Sept. 1.

“Congress’s work for the year isn’t over,” McGuire told Ryan. “To place the economy and the construction sector on solid footing for many years, we strongly urge you to make the most of the waning legislative days left in this session and enact Perkins Act reauthorization legislation and a WRDA bill in 2016.”

IRS Proposes Significant Restrictions to Estate Tax Discounting Rules

August 31, 2016 1:18 pm

On Aug. 4, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) restricting the discounting of shareholder stock in family-owned operations for the purpose determining federal estate tax liability.

Under current law, married couples are allowed $10.9 million in a lifetime exclusion for federal estate and gift taxes. Assets above the threshold are taxed at a 40 percent federal rate.

Traditionally, the IRS and the courts, for purposes of the federal estate and gift taxes, have permitted the valuation of privately-owned business interests to include a “lack of control” and “lack of marketability” discount because some stakes are worth less since they are harder to sell or represent a minority interest. The proposed rule, which applies to corporations, partnerships and limited-liability companies, disregards any restrictions on liquidation or redemption an heir uses to claim a valuation discount if that restriction either lapses after the transfer or the heir or heir’s family has the ability to remove the restriction after transfer. The IRS is also seeking to eliminate the lack of control discount to assignees.

The agency is accepting comments on its proposal until Nov. 2 and will host a public hearing in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 1. As AED considers its response, we would appreciate hearing from members about whether and how eliminating the lack of control discount would affect member companies and their estate plans for the current generation of owners. Send an email to AED Senior Director of Government Affairs Daniel Fisher at dfisher@aednet.org.

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