Side Story: Issues at Hand


July 2008

Legislative Conference

School Construction — masonry industry encourages Congress to pass legislation to address the need for updated and new infrastructure of America’s public schools.

Hidden Tax on Small Business — 3% Government Witholding Tax — masonry industry opposes the 3% withholding tax and urges members of Congress to support H.R. 1023 bill and S. 2394 to immediately repeal this overreaching new requirement.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform — 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 those undocumented and currently employed in the United States. Urges Congress to act quickly and decisively to address the ever-growing problem and to pass a comprehensive reform package, rather than piecemeal legislation that only addresses a few narrow components of the overall program.

Alternative Minimum Tax — masonry industry supports repeal of the AMT, or appropriate indexing of the AMT to its original date of enactment or date of enactment of a new AMT bill.

Workplace Crystalline Silica — masonry industry urges Congress to ensure that OSHA’s regulatory focus is not swayed by bad science on the matter of workplace exposure to crystalline silica. A comprehensive standard is needed to provide for exposure monitoring, medical surveillance and worker training, but the standard must be fair and grounded in fact. Masonry industry asks Congress to ensure that all factors and views are considered in OSHA’s rulemaking on this issue, particularly the fair consideration of medical and scientific studies that put the issue into proper perspective.

Estate Tax — masonry industry supports a permanent repeal of the Federal estate tax and urges the House and Senate to pass a permanent repeal in allowing the estate tax provisions in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 to expire in 2011. Masonry industry favors this so that masonry industry-related businesses will have the best possible chance of surviving the death of an owner without disruption to their businesses, the communities they serve and the quality of life of employees and their families.

Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors — Federal agencies should take steps to improved enforcement of current laws at both the state and Federal levels. Congress should direct the Department of labor and the IRS to work together to improve enforcement mechanisms and protocols. The current tax gap has reached epic proportions; addressing misclassification will help to address billions in lost revenue to the Federal government. Masonry industry urges member of Congress to support legislation that address this problem.

Military Construction (MilCon) — masonry industry urges Congress to direct the Armed Services to incorporate life cycle costs and other durability considerations heavily into design and construction protocols. The present policy, particularly that of the Army Corps, grossly undervalues life cycle cost and durability as criteria for awarding construction contracts. This policy is costing the government billions of dollars long-term.

National Energy Policy — masonry industry favors a broad-based approach to national energy policy, ranging from the responsible development of traditional sources of energy (oil, gas, nuclear and coal) to investment, development and support of new sources (passive solar and renewal energy-efficient technologies).



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