The construction industry, through the efforts of AGC of America with significant input and support from AGC of Missouri members, stepped up to fight for legislative action to support construction markets, construction firms and the construction workforce.
On Dec. 21, Congress passed the $2.3 trillion COVID-relief and federal government funding package. The president signed it into law on Dec. 27.
Although not everything AGC fought for made it into the final package, there are several significant construction industry priorities that AGC helped secure, including but not limited to:
- Blocking a surprise federal tax increase of up to 37 percent on Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness by overturning the IRS position barring deductions for PPP loan-forgiven business expenses;
- Enabling eligible contractors to claim tax credits up to $14,000 per employee through an extension of the Employee Retention Tax Credit into 2021;
- Securing $46 billion for the federal-aid highway and transit programs to help ensure ongoing and planned highway and transit construction projects move forward through at least September 30, 2021;
- Providing $10 billion for state departments of transportation to help mitigate the impacts of transportation revenue losses; NOTE: Estimates show that MoDOT should receive $236 million in NEW MONEY as part of this legislation.
- Ensuring that some of the $82 billion for public and private K-12 schools and higher education in COVID-relief is eligible for construction/renovation projects related to pandemic needs;
- Obtaining $25 billion in tax incentives for community buildings development through the extension of the New Markets Tax Credit for five years;
- Expanding tax credits for constructing more than 550,000 multifamily housing units via the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit;
- Securing nearly $3 billion for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure ;
- Landing upwards of $3.3 billion for broadband installation and removal construction activities; and
- Guaranteeing the investment of an additional $10 billion towards harbor maintenance dredging;
Although many of AGC’s legislative goals were achieved, there were construction industry priorities that were not included and that AGC will seek to advance in 2021. Those include but are not limited to: enacting more robust, multi-year infrastructure investment both at the federal and state levels; securing greater incentives for spurring public and private building construction; providing targeted/reasonable liability protections against legal COVID-19 claims; and addressing the viability of the multiemployer pension system by providing the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation funding and tools – including the authorization of composite plans – to avoid insolvency.
“People need to realize that there were some significant ‘wins’ for our industry in this bill,” observed Leonard Toenjes, CAE, AGCMO’s president. “AGCA’s government relations team worked day and night for months, fighting for our industry. In the last few months, our members really stepped up by following up on our requests and reaching out directly to their congressional representatives and senators, and by identifying highest priorities for our industry. I’m proud of the role AGCMO played in this legislation.
“Finally, while the additional funds for MoDOT that are part of this bill are helpful, they are certainly not a solution for Missouri. Sustainable, long-term funding for transportation infrastructure in Missouri remains at the top of our list.”