AED’s Political Initiatives

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AED’s Policy Priorities

When you engage your elected leaders, know what to say on behalf of the construction equipment industry.

Download the 2020 Legislative Priorities brochure.

Rebuild Our Nation’s Infrastructure

The United States’ infrastructure is crumbling and our leaders in Washington must work in a bipartisan manner to provide long-term certainty and increased investments in federal infrastructure programs. A modern infrastructure system is essential to the nation’s economy and to ensure the efficient movement of all goods – from machinery to agriculture products – to customers and ports. With the current highway bill (the FAST Act) set to expire in 2020 and the Highway Trust Fund approaching insolvency, Congress must identify new revenue sources to restore the federal highway program’s long-term fiscal stability and increase investment levels. Our nation also faces a significant shortfall in dams, levees, airports, broadband, pipes and water system investments. Rural infrastructure is particularly underfunded. Congress and the administration must work to upgrade the United States’ infrastructure substantially.

Invest in the Next Generation of Skilled, Technical Workers

One of the greatest challenges facing equipment dealers is the lack of skilled service technicians. Federal laws should be updated to reflect the current workforce needs. Congress must also increase
funding for the Carl D. Perkins Act and other programs that support providing skilled technical education opportunities. Additionally, lawmakers should expand need-based Pell Grant eligibility to qualifying, short-term career and technical education programs and incentivize tuition reimbursement by making company contributions to their employees’ student loan payments tax-free, a benefit to both the employer and the employee.

Promote International Trade and Commerce

The United States operates in a global economy. Equipment dealers and manufacturers rely on free trade agreements and other accords that permit accessible and efficient international trade. The administration should refrain from implementing tariffs, particularly on our key trading partners, which increase the cost of imports, invite retaliation and create market uncertainty, detrimentally impacting equipment dealers, manufacturers, contractors, farmers and U.S. consumers. The United States must also pursue greater regulatory harmonization with Canada and improve the movement of goods across the northern border. Additionally, Congress and the administration should reject efforts to expand Buy America provisions that unnecessarily increase costs and delay infrastructure projects.

Restore Certainty and Predictability to the Tax Code

While the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act contained many pro-growth policies, including lowering the tax burden for pass-throughs, full expensing of new and used equipment purchases, business interest limitations tied to EBITDA and increased estate tax exemption levels, these provisions are temporary. Congress must work to preserve these critical capital investment incentives and make them a permanent part of the tax code to provide certainty for equipment dealers, manufacturers and their customers. Congress and the administration should also clarify that equipment rental income earned by taxpayers actively participating in an equipment distribution trade or business is exempt from Obamacare’s 3.8 percent passive income tax.

Provide Regulatory Relief for Job Creators

Recent regulatory reform efforts have provided much-needed relief to the equipment industry and its customers. However, more can be done to strike the correct balance between the need for health, labor, safety and environmental regulations and economic growth. To that end, Congress and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration should make commonsense revisions to the hours of service rules for drivers, such as equipment service technicians, where operating a vehicle is incidental to their primary job responsibilities. Additionally, policymakers should continue to streamline federal permitting so construction projects can start sooner and cost less.

Expand Domestic Energy Production

The United States must continue to develop its energy resources and become an even more significant global energy producer. Shale energy development has been a vital economic driver for communities across the country and the federal government should refrain from intervention, as its benefits are best understood at the state level. Congress and the administration should work together to renew the vitality of other energy sectors – including coal – that have been undermined by past federal policy. Finally, speeding the construction of new pipelines to transport and process energy must also be a priority.

Reform the Broken Immigration System

The United States’ immigration system is broken, which is hindering economic growth and prosperity. Congress and the administration must work in a bipartisan manner to reform the nation’s immigration laws to strengthen national security, enforce the rule of law, address workforce shortages and provide certainty to employers and employees. Strong border security is essential to overhauling the country’s immigration system. Additionally, the United States’ immigration laws must be modified to address current employer needs, such as expanding visa categories to fill in-demand jobs like equipment service technicians. Furthermore, a pathway toward legal status should be available to law-abiding, undocumented workers and individuals brought to the United States illegally as children by their parents (“Dreamers”).

AED’s 2020 Canadian Legislative Priorities

When you engage your elected leaders, know what to say on behalf of the construction equipment industry.

Download the 2020 Canadian Legislative Priorities brochure.

Rebuilding Canada’s Infrastructure

Canada needs a long-term approach to investing in infrastructure to improve the quality, accessibility and sustainability of services that Canadians use every day and significantly contributes to the country’s economic prosperity, job creation and international competitiveness. AED strongly supports the federal government’s Investing in Canada plan which provides $180 billion in infrastructure funding over 12 years. However, AED urges the government to ensure year-over-year consistency and long-term predictability in funding critical infrastructure projects. Furthermore, the federal government must improve coordination between provincial and municipal governments to more efficiently deliver funding and implement a more streamlined process to speed the start of projects. Particular attention should be paid to trade infrastructure, which will allow all goods, including machinery and agriculture products to be transported more efficiently.

Inducing Growth Through Tax Policy

Tax and regulatory policy that incentivizes capital investment is a necessary component to ensure sustained growth. The United States’ enactment of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act put Canadian businesses at a significant disadvantage. AED strongly supported and commends the government’s decision to triple first-year deduction for equipment purchases from 15 percent to 45 percent. The policy has allowed Canadian companies to increase cash flow, which is used for further capital investment (more machinery, expanding operations, etc.), that creates jobs and increases wages for current workers. However, AED continues to advocate for further pro-growth modifications that simplify the tax code while incentivizing investment and entrepreneurship. These policies won’t only support the equipment industry, but will also spur growth in the broader construction, agriculture and energy sectors.

Supporting Canada’s Natural Resource Sectors

Natural resources are necessary to Canada’s international competitiveness and future growth. AED supports climate action; however, particular attention must be paid to continuing Canada’s economic growth and supporting energy development. Furthermore, the federal government must establish a predictable and comprehensive approval process that provides certainty to companies seeking to invest in major projects of all kinds, from pipelines to hydroelectric dams.

Providing Regulatory Relief for Equipment Dealers

AED strongly supports efforts to reduce the regulatory burden on job creators and pursue regulatory harmonization with the United States. Policymakers much strike the correct balance between health, safety and environmental regulations and economic growth. The government should also reform current hours-of-service (HOS) rules to allow greater flexibility, particularly for individuals such as equipment service technicians. Service technicians spend 80 percent or more of their duty time on non-driving activities, such as repairing and maintaining equipment and related administrative duties, and do not face the same demands or fatigue concerns as long-haul truck drivers. For these drivers, operating a vehicle is incidental to their primary job responsibilities and they should be granted relief from the burdensome HOS regulations.

Addressing the Skilled Labour Shortage

The Canadian equipment industry is facing a shortage of skilled workers, particularly service technicians. The labour shortage encumbers the ability of AED members to service customers, hindering growth, delaying the completion of infrastructure projects and jeopardizing the ability of farmers to cultivate their land and harvest efficiently. While the federal government has made targeted investments in apprenticeships, more must be done to encourage all Canadians to consider careers in the skilled trades. AED is continuously advocating for investments in apprenticeships and public awareness campaigns around the opportunity in skilled trade careers. The government must also pursue policies to ensure better collaboration between post-secondary institutions and employers and incentivize individuals to enter the skilled trades.