MCAA Legislative Conference 2010
Mason contractors get front and center with the issues
Members of the MCAA converged on Washington, D.C., in mid-may to get front and center with the politicians who make the decisions that most affect our industry. We were early to rise, pounding the pavement of D.C. and knocking on the doors of Congressman on both sides of the aisle. Following are the bills we lobbied for (or against), along with our official position on those bills.
Mine Safety and Health Act (MSHA) - EnforcementOur industry continues to maintain its commitment to worker and workplace safety as evidenced by the continuing reduction in instances of injury in our operations. Fair and consistent enforcement of mine safety regulations by MSHA will complement the industry’s efforts and lead to a safer and healthier workplace. Anything less than reasonable interpretation and consistent enforcement of the standards will be counter-productive and serve only to divert mine operators attention from valid safety issues that will make a real difference in the safety of our workers.
Military Construction (MilCon)The masonry industry urges Congress to direct the Armed Services to incorporate life cycle cost and other durability considerations heavily into design and construction protocols. The present policy, particularly that of the Army Corps, of grossly undervalues life cycle cost and durability as criteria for awarding construction contracts. This policy is costing the government billions of dollars long-term.
Comprehensive Immigration ReformThe Masonry Industry supports a comprehensive approach that includes provisions to secure our nation’s borders and creates a temporary guest worker program that meets the demand for labor and a process for addressing the undocumented currently employed in the U.S. We urge Congress to act quickly and decisively to address the ever growing problem and to pass a Comprehensive Reform package rather than piecemeal legislation which only addresses very few narrow components of the overall problem.
Alternative Minimum TaxThe Masonry Industry supports repeal of the AMT or appropriate indexing of the AMT to its original date of enactment or the date of enactment of a new AMT bill.
Misclassification of Employees as Independent ContractorsFederal agencies should take steps to improve enforcement of current laws at both the state and federal level. Congress should direct the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service to work together to improve enforcement mechanisms and protocols. Furthermore, the current tax gap has reached epic proportions; addressing misclassification will help to address billions in lost revenue to the federal government. The Masonry Industry urges Members of Congress to support legislation (H.R. 3408 / S. 2882) which addresses this problem.
3% Government Withholding TaxThe Masonry Industry opposes the 3% withholding tax. We urge Members of Congress to support H.R. 275 (Meek-Herger) bill and S. 292 (Specter-Vitter) to immediately repeal this overreaching new requirement.
Estate TaxThe Masonry Industry favors permanent repeal of the estate tax or the establishment of a reasonable exemption that gives employers and workers an opportunity to continue operations. We favor this so that masonry industry businesses will have the best possible chance of surviving the death of an owner without disruption to their businesses, the communities they serve, and, importantly, the quality of life of employees and their families.
MCAA Freedom and Prosperity AwardsHighlighting our trip were the presentations of the first-ever MCAA Freedom and Prosperity Award. The MCAA created the award to provide specific recognition to members of Congress that have embraced the spirit of the award and led the legislative fight for MCAA priorities.
The 2010 MCAA Freedom and Prosperity Award recipients are: Congressman Chet Edwards (D-TX),Congressman Wally Herger (R-CA), Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE), Senator David Vitter (R-LA), and Senator John Thune (R-SD).
About the Author
Jennifer Morrell was the editor of Masonry magazine. She has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry as a writer and editor, covering such topics as real estate and construction, insurance, health care, relationships and sports. A graduate of The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in magazines and is an award-winning newspaper columnist.