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 2019 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.

The United States faces a more than $740 billion backlog in much-needed highway and bridge improvements and nearly half of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. With the current highway bill (the FAST Act) set to expire in the 116th congressional session 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 large shortfall in funding for dams, levees, airports, broadband, pipes and water systems. Congress and the administration should work together to identify funding while facilitating private sector investment to substantially upgrade the United States’ infrastructure to drive economic growth, job creation and international competitiveness for decades to come.

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 passthroughs,
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 important capital investment incentives and make them a permanent part of the tax code to provide certainty for construction 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

While the Trump administration’s regulatory reform efforts have provided much-needed relief to the construction equipment industry, more work needs to be done to balance the need for regulatory protections with their economic impact, particularly regarding the burden on small-medium-sized businesses. 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.

Congress must also enact permanent regulatory reforms that will ensure the American people and businesses are protected from onerous regulations in the future. Lawmakers should approve legislation to impose more accountability on regulators and strengthen small business protections during the regulatory process. Federal agencies should also dedicate more time and resources to compliance assistance and outreach.

Invest in the Next Generation of Technical Workers

Equipment distributors have identified the technician shortage as a major strategic challenge for the industry. A 2016 AED Foundation study found that the lack of equipment technicians is costing dealers $2.4 billion per year in lost economic opportunity. A dearth of skilled workers is hindering economic growth and Congress must channel resources to educating a new generation of technical workers.

Federal laws should be updated to reflect current workforce needs and to allow greater flexibility for state and local entities, nongovernmental organizations, community colleges and technical schools, and industry to work together to address the skilled worker deficiency. Congress must also provide additional resources to fund new sector-based workforce strategies that connect employers, schools, and local governments and incentivize students to pursue short-term, skills and job-oriented training programs rather than full-blown college degree programs.

Expand Domestic Energy Production

The United States must continue to develop its energy resources and become an even more significant global energy producer. Congress should ensure that shale energy development is allowed to continue across the country and must recognize that its benefits are best measured and 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 federal policy in recent years. Finally, speeding the construction of new infrastructure to transport and process energy must also be a priority.

Promote International Trade and Commerce

The United States operates in a global economy. American companies rely heavily on free trade agreements and other accords that permit accessible and efficient international trade. Consequently, to provide much-needed trade certainty with our closest allies and economic partners, Congress should expeditiously approve the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Policymakers should also work to ensure the long-term viability of the Export-Import Bank and work closer with Canada, through greater regulatory harmonization and improving the movement of goods across the United States’ northern border. Additionally, Congress and the administration should reject efforts to expand Buy America provisions that unnecessarily increase costs and delay infrastructure projects.

AED’s 2019 Canadian Legislative Priorities

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

Download the 2019 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 plan to invest $180 billion over 12 years to fund infrastructure upgrades. 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. While AED also supports the concept of Canada’s Infrastructure Bank, reforms are needed to better facilitate investment partnerships between the private and public sector.

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 will allow Canadian companies to increase cash flow, which can be used for further capital investment (more machinery, building new locations, etc.), creating jobs and higher wages for current workers. However, AED continues to advocate for further pro-growth modifications that simplify the tax code while incentivizing investment and entrepreneurship.

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. To that end, finalizing an electronic logging device mandate that mirrors U.S. requirements should be a priority. However, the government should reform current hours of service (HOS) rules to allow greater flexibility, particularly for equipment service technicians. Service technicians spend 80 percent or more of their duty time on non-driving activities, such as repairing and maintaining heavy 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 burdensome HOS regulations.

Addressing The Skilled Labour Shortage

The Canadian construction equipment industry is facing a shortage of skilled workers, particularly diesel technicians. The labour shortage encumbers the ability of AED members to service customers, hindering growth and delaying the completion of infrastructure projects. 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 continued focus on apprenticeships and public awareness campaigns around the opportunities 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.

Pro-Growth Energy Policies

A robust energy sector is necessary to Canada’s international competitiveness and future growth. Consequently, the government must strike the correct balance between regulation and environmental protection to ensure the continued viability of Canada’s energy producers and developers. Furthermore, in order to transport oil and gas to market, the federal government must establish a comprehensive and predictable pipeline approval process that takes into account all stakeholders, including Indigenous peoples, to provide certainty to companies seeking to invest in major projects.