AED’s Political Initiatives

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AED’s 2018 Legislative Priorities

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

Download the 2018 Legislative Priorities brochure.

Rebuild our nation’s infrastructure

America’s power grid is operating at full capacity. Most of the U. S. energy system dates to the mid-20th century. The time is long overdue for a major upgrade to our energy infrastructure. Congress must focus greater attention on replacing aging equipment and accommodating increased demand. Additionally, investments are necessary to ensure that broadband infrastructure keeps pace with growing demands for internet access.

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 and business interest limitations tied to EBITDA, these provisions are temporary. Congress must work to make these important capital investment incentives a permanent part of the tax code to provide certainty for construction equipment dealers, manufacturers and customers.

Protect equipment distributors from harmful and unnecessary regulations

In recent years, AED members and other businesses have faced a deluge of new regulatory mandates from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), Department of Labor (DOL), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other federal agencies. Congress and the new administration should carefully review recent regulatory actions, including EPA’s “Water of United States” and greenhouse gas emissions rulemakings, OSHA’s crystalline silica exposure mandate, DOL’s overtime rules, and NLRB ‘s proposal to completely alter the current employment framework by redefining “joint employer” to unnecessarily ensnare businesses in the labor disputes of its outside contractors and suppliers. Congress should also enact regulatory reform legislation to permanently impose more accountability on regulators and enhance the role of the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy.

Invest in the next generation of skilled, technical workers

A recent AED Foundation study found that shortage of equipment technicians is costing dealers $2.4 billion per year in lost economic opportunity. Other industries that rely on skilled labor are similarly suffering. Congress must channel resources to training a new generation of technical workers. Policymakers should update laws 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. Finally, Congress must ensure federal training and educational programs, such as the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, receive adequate funding to build a skilled and dynamic technical workforce.

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.

Increase water infrastructure investment

Government and industry studies have estimated the nation’s water infrastructure needs over the next two decades in the hundreds of billions of dollars. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure a D-, the lowest grade of any infrastructure category. Investment in water infrastructure projects is a win-win for everyone, including government. Researchers at the College of William & Mary found that over twenty years, investing $1 in sewer systems and water infrastructure generates $2.03 in tax receipts ($1.35 for the federal government). AED encourages Congress to preserve and increase funding for the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. Lawmakers should also adopt alternative financing mechanisms, such as bipartisan legislation lifting the state volume cap on private activity bonds for water infrastructure projects to leverage private capital. Additionally, Congress should create a Clean Water Trust Fund to ensure stable funding for water infrastructure investments.

 

Promote international trade and commerce

The United States operates in global economy. While protectionist rhetoric makes good campaign soundbites, the reality is American companies rely heavily on free trade agreements and other accords that permit accessible and efficient international trade. Congress must continue to promote free trade by lifting the embargo of Cuba, ensuring the long-term viability of the Export-Import Bank, and building closer relationships with Canada, our closest ally and trading partner.

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.