The MCAA held its annual legislative conference the week of May 7 in Washington, D.C. The conference was held in conjunction with NCMA (National Concrete Masonry Association) this year. Together, the two groups heard from and visited with numerous Congressmen and Senators along with staff. Over the last 12 years, I have attended numerous legislative conferences and have seen the importance of this program. The impact our leaders in Washington have on our bottom line is extremely important to the well-being of our businesses. This year, we addressed the following issues:
- The Estate Tax – The MCAA supports full, permanent repeal of the estate tax.
- Alternative Minimum Tax – The MCAA supports permanent repeal of the AMT.
- Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors – Federal agencies should take steps to improve enforcement of current laws at both the state and federal level.
- OSHA Rules on Workplace Crystalline Silica – The MCAA urges Congress to ensure that OSHA’s regulatory focus is not swayed by bad science on the matter of workplace exposure to crystalline silica.
- Check-Off Program for the Concrete Masonry Industry – The concrete masonry industry needs an industry-wide, coordinated, and continuous program of research, promotion and education to support specific generic products.
- Multi-Employer Defined Benefit Pension Reform – The MCAA strongly supports a broad-based pension reform that will allow for transition away from the Defined Benefit Plans, ultimately de-risking these plans by paying down the unfunded liabilities, while transitioning to alternative type plans.
The full positions MCAA takes on these issues are available on our website or from anyone of our staff members. Each and every issue has dynamic effects on our masonry businesses.
While in Washington, we presented four Freedom and Prosperity Awards to Senator Scott Brown from Massachusetts, Congressman Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, Senator Mike Johanns from Nebraska and Congressman Buck McKeon from California. All four of these gentlemen have been a proponent of masonry and have helped our industry. Please drop them a note thanking them for their help, now and in the future.
While in Washington, we also had a meeting with James Boland, president of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers along with Gregory Davis, Labor’s International Union of North America, assistant director of the construction department. Items of discussion were from portability to pension reform. These gentlemen opened the doors to continue discussion between union contractors and our union workforce.
I would like to thank those who attended and helped to present our issues, and encourage those who did not attend this year to attend the conference next year. We fight a continuing battle to keep masonry as the preferred building material, and we need to be in front of our members of Congress. I can guarantee you that our competition is.