Business groups call on congressional delegation to reject federal tax increases

By ROI-NJ Staff (New Jersey)  |  Originally posted on

Eleven N.J. employer groups and trade associations this week called on the state’s congressional delegation to reject increases to the federal corporate tax rate and the Global Intangible Low-Tax Income rate.

While the recently passed $1.2 billion infrastructure agreement included no broad-based tax increases on American businesses, the groups — in an open letter to the delegation — said the prospect of massive tax hikes remains on the table during reconciliation.

Such a move, the groups said, would be a crushing blow to many New Jersey businesses.

“If increased, the ability of workers and businesses across the Garden State to properly rebound from the pandemic could be severely hampered, with our competitiveness on the global stage impacted in the process,” they wrote. “Particularly considering that New Jersey’s tax rates are already among the very highest in the nation, potential hikes at the federal level are cause for concern.”

The following groups signed the letter:

  • African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey
  • Associated Builders and Contractors of New Jersey
  • Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey
  • Chemistry Council of New Jersey
  • Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey
  • Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey
  • Insurance Council of New Jersey
  • New Jersey Bankers Association
  • New Jersey Business & Industry Association
  • New Jersey Gasoline, C-Store, Automotive Association
  • New Jersey Chamber of Commerce

The letter reads as follows:

Dear Members of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation,

We are writing to affirm our shared commitment to delivering New Jersey’s economy out of this current turndown, and to urge your support in this endeavor.

We were encouraged to see that the $1.2 billion bipartisan infrastructure agreement included no tax increases on American businesses. However, discussions are still ongoing for a budget that would be passed through reconciliation — and we understand that the prospect of tax hikes remains on the table.

Specifically, some federal officials have proposed raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% and the Global Intangible Low-Tax Income rate from 10.5% to 21%. If increased, the ability of workers and businesses across the Garden State to properly rebound from the pandemic could be severely hampered, with our competitiveness on the global stage impacted in the process. Particularly considering that New Jersey’s tax rates are already among the very highest in the nation, potential hikes at the federal level are cause for concern.

We are wary of such tax increases and believe they would do more harm than good to New Jersey’s businesses and communities today. New Jersey experienced many lows during the pandemic, including reaching a record 16.2% unemployment rate during the peak of the pandemic and seeing about 30% of the state’s small businesses close their doors, according to some reports. There is clearly a long way to go in our recovery and we must do everything we can to support and boost economic revival in our communities.

But raising the corporate tax rate only serves to further set us back. Such a hike would affect businesses of all sizes, not just the big corporations. As we’ve seen before, tax hikes can ultimately fall onto the Main Street businesses and small shops that form the backbone of local economies across the state. A recent analysis by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that 1.4 million small businesses employing 13 million Americans would be forced to pay the higher rate.

And doubling the GILTI rate from 10.5% to 21% poses a host of additional challenges. A study by the National Association of Manufacturers found that up to 1 million jobs could be lost and nearly $20 billion in economic activity may be forfeited.

To protect our state’s economy and ensure a swift recovery, we urge your offices to avoid adding further tax burdens to our business community at this time.

Construction input prices up 23.1 percent from last year

Originally posted on

ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu says today’s input price increases can meaningfully affect contractor fortunes by trimming margins and delaying the onset of projects.

Construction input prices rose 0.6 percent in July, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Producer Price Index data released today. Nonresidential construction input prices increased 0.8 percent for the month.

Construction input prices are 23.1 percent higher than a year ago, while nonresidential construction input prices increased 23.4 percent over that span.

Energy prices continue to experience substantial year-over-year price increases. The price of natural gas is up 146.7 percent, while crude petroleum and unprocessed energy materials prices are up 102.9 percent and 93.8 percent, respectively. Prices for steel mill products increased 10.8 percent for the month and are up 108.6 percent for the year.

“One’s definition of transitory needs to evolve with these data,” says ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “While it is quite likely that there will be less inflation a year from now, a rebounding economy, ongoing supply chain disruptions and limited productive capacity have conspired to generate rapid price increases.

“Many economists insist that the current situation is merely temporary; still, today’s input price increases can meaningfully affect contractor fortunes by trimming margins and delaying the onset of projects.”

According to Basu, the good and bad news is that the economy is flush with liquidity.

“Injections of money supply by the Federal Reserve, which has yet to indicate when it will begin to moderate its quantitative easing program, have helped create large pools of investable money,” he says.

A significant fraction of that money is also being invested in real estate, which Basu says will often translates into construction projects. That is consistent with the stable-to-rising backlog observed in recent months as well as ongoing confidence among contractors, reflected in ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator and Construction Confidence Index. However, Basu warns that liquidity also serves to help push prices higher.

“One can only conclude that the economy will continue to run hot into 2022 despite the malign impacts of the delta variant, producing both hefty advances in gross domestic product and unusually elevated inflation,” says Basu. “The fact that steel prices are rising is not only an indication of the recovery transpiring in goods-producing industries like construction and manufacturing, but also of the difficulty global suppliers are having keeping up with demand.

“That dynamic does not appear poised to change substantially in the very near-term, though there was some evidence of moderating inflation in the most recent Consumer Price Index report. Contractors should assiduously build contingencies into their contracts to protect themselves from additional materials price spikes. Given that construction firm services are in high demand, contractors should have enough negotiating leverage to accomplish that under most circumstances.”

Concrete and Cement Industries Brace for Demand Boom From $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

Originally posted on

Concrete is the foundation of just about everything. It’s used to construct buildings, highways, bridges, roads and more.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, concrete fell victim to the same phenomena impacting other essential materials and goods: snarled supply chains and labor shortages. And demand for concrete — and its essential ingredient, cement — appears to have only increased, after the Senate passed the $1 trillion infrastructure package to upgrade America’s roads, bridges and tunnels.

“In the short-term, we continue to have the supply chain difficulties, particularly in certain markets, and so prices are rising,” Anirban Basu, chief economist for the national construction industry trade association Associated Builders and Contractors, told CNBC. “So right now, apparently, supply is not rising up to meet demand.”

The industry also faces labor shortages of skilled workers and truck drivers. And the recent housing boom means more demand for concrete and cement, putting more pressure on the industry to increase capacity.

On top of all of this, there’s also a push to reduce the amount of carbon emissions that come from the industry. A study published by the National Academy of Sciences in 2019 estimates that global cement production accounts for 8% of global carbon emissions, making it the largest single industrial emitter of carbon dioxide.

Construction Industry Gains 11,000 Jobs in July as Jobless Rate Falls

Originally posted on

Construction’s unemployment rate dropped in July on a monthly and year-over-year basis to its lowest level in 17 months, as the industry added 11,000 jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported.

But the latest monthly BLS report on the nation’s employment picture, released on Aug. 6, also showed job losses in some parts of the industry’s nonresidential sector.

Construction’s unemployment rate for July declined to 6.1% from June’s 7.5%. Last month’s rate also improved sharply from the year-earlier level of 8.9%, BLS figures show.

July’s rate was the lowest since February 2020’s mark, the last month before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Notably, construction’s July jobs increase followed  three months of downturns.

The residential building category recorded the strongest July jobs results, adding 8,300.

The nonresidential sector overall was up by 2,900 positions, but a gain of 7,500 in the nonresidential specialty trade contractors segment masked declines of 2,500 in nonresidential building and 2,100 in heavy and civil engineering construction.

For the 12 months ended July 31, construction overall added 224,000 jobs, an increase of 3.1%, BLS data indicate.

The bureau’s jobs figures are adjusted for seasonal differences, but its unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.

ABC, AGC Economists’ Analyses

Anirban Basu, Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist, traced the big upturn in nonresidential trade contractors to “considerable work underway” in upgrading existing facilities.

Basu said in a statement, “That helps explain why nonresidential specialty trade contractors added thousands of jobs last month while general [nonresidential] contractors did not.” ABC focuses on nonresidential construction.

He also pointed to liquidity in the economy as a key factor behind the recovery. Some of that capital is being invested in real estate, he said, “which translates into additional construction work.”

Still, Basu acknowledged, new construction remains “suppressed” in such segments as lodging and office buildings, due to dislocations from the pandemic.

The Associated General Contractors of America pointed out that total nonresidential construction employment is running far behind pre-pandemic levels.

Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist, said in a statement, “Contractors are plagued by soaring materials costs, long or uncertain delivery times and hesitancy by project owners to commit to construction.”

Simonson added, “Recovery has been especially slow in infrastructure construction,” noting that contractors in that category have regained only 37% of jobs lost in the pandemic.

Overall, the U.S. economy added 943,000 jobs in July, and the unemployment rate edged down to 5.4%, from June’s 5.9%.

ABC-Led Coalition Announces Six-Figure Advocacy Campaign

Originally posted on

WASHINGTONBuild America Local, a coalition of construction industry and business organizations led by Associated Builders and Contractors, today announced a six-figure issue advocacy campaign aimed at educating Americans and members of the U.S. Senate about controversial government-mandated project labor agreements that reduce competition and increase costs for the construction of taxpayer-funded affordable housing, clean energy and infrastructure projects across America.

The campaign urges senators to oppose government-mandated PLA schemes as bipartisan infrastructure negotiations continue between a select group of Senate Republicans and Democrats and the Biden administration.

“As Congress works to craft infrastructure legislation, it is critical for the U.S. Senate to oppose government-mandated PLAs so all qualified contractors and construction workers have the ability to fairly compete and build America’s infrastructure,” said Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs. “Ensuring fair and open competition on taxpayer-funded construction projects will ultimately result in savings to taxpayers, more opportunities for all qualified small businesses, minorities and women in the construction industry, and the construction of more quality infrastructure projects so America can Build Back Better and faster.”

When mandated by the federal government, PLAs exacerbate the U.S. construction industry’s skilled labor shortage, effectively prevent the 87.3% of the U.S. construction workforce that chooses not to join a labor union from fairly competing for contracts and drive up the cost of critical infrastructure projects by 12% to 20%, resulting in fewer construction projects and local jobs.

The Build America Local website houses a variety of educational and social media materials and also gives constituents access to a grassroots tool to tell their elected leaders to support local workers and businesses by opposing government-mandated PLAs in federal infrastructure legislation.

The Biden administration’s American Jobs Plan infrastructure outline encourages Congress to tie federal investment of taxpayer dollars in infrastructure to costly PLA requirements. Other Biden administration policies encourage state and local governments to mandate PLAs on infrastructure projects receiving federal dollars. It has been reported that the Biden administration is also working on an executive order encouraging the use of PLAs on federal contracts for construction services.

Controversial terms in typical government-mandated PLAs discourage competition from qualified union and nonunion contractors and result in a rigged bidding process that forces contractors to:

  • Use union hiring halls to obtain most or all workers instead of their existing workforce.
  • Obtain apprentices exclusively from union apprenticeship programs.
  • Follow inefficient union work rules.
  • Pay into union benefit and multi-employer pension plans that any limited number of nonunion employees permitted on the project will be unlikely to access unless they join a union and vest in these plans.
  • Require their existing workforce to accept union representation, pay union dues and/or join a union as a condition of employment on a PLA job site and receiving benefits, resulting in an estimated 20% hit to the paychecks of local craft professionals.

ABC to Senate: The PRO Act Is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Associated Builders and Contractors | Originally posted on

Washington, July 22—Ahead of today’s U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions’ hearing on the Protect the Right to Organize Act, Associated Builders and Contractors released the following statement:

“The PRO Act legislates away the basic employer and employee freedoms and choices that create long-term careers and make the construction workforce safer and more productive,” said ABC Vice President of Legislative and Political Affairs Kristen Swearingen. “Make no mistake: the PRO Act is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and the American public deserves to know that it is nothing more than an attempt to strip workers of their privacy, freedom and choice.

“Among the many harmful provisions in this dangerous piece of legislation, the PRO Act tips the scales against workers and small businesses in union elections, eliminates basic employer and employee rights and imposes unbearable burdens on job creators,” said Swearingen. “Lawmakers must fully reject this bill and instead focus on creating legislative solutions that offer more freedom for workers to achieve their career dreams, not eliminating their choices. The workforce, and America, wins when people have that choice.”

Ahead of the hearing, ABC sent a letter opposition to the Senate HELP Committee.

2020 Christmas on Broadway Celebration

Associated Builders & Contractors of Indiana/Kentucky is proud to once again be
a sponsor of the 16th Annual Christmas on Broadway celebration!

ABC kicked things off on Saturday, November 7 by erecting the tree stand that supports the event
centerpiece. The wood for the stand was donated last year by Home Lumber, and the stand was erected
by seven ABC Prep Academy students, instructor Dan Reuille and his son Nicholas,
and ABC council manager, Felisha Anderson.

Thanks to the generosity of Liberty Developing, Inc., new cables, clamps, and turnbuckles were purchased
to better support the 40’ blue spruce that was delivered and erected today, November 16! Dan, Felisha,
Angela Miller (Prep Academy student) and volunteers from Smith Construction and Mudrack
stabilized the tree which was covered live by ABC 21 and Sunny 103.9 FM. The tree will be decorated
with close to 40,000 lights throughout the upcoming week using a lift provided by MacAllister Rental.

The ceremony will be held this Friday, November 20 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. and it is recommended that
everyone watch virtually if you can. ABC 21 will be covering the event live from a flat bed trailer donated by
ABC member Lengacher Bros. Construction! Don’t miss the incredible tree lighting and fireworks as well
as watch as Santa & Mrs. Claus drive down Broadway in a 1976 Pierce Fire Truck.

We hope you will tune in for this amazing community Christmas celebration!
For those who may choose to attend the event in person, masks will be required, and the event will be open
to the number of attendees that safely allows for six feet to be maintained between different family groups.
Thank you to our generous In-Kind Sponsors who help make our contribution to this event a success!

ABC Fort Wayne Groundbreaking Ceremony 9/3/20

ABC is excited to be co-hosting a groundbreaking ceremony for our newly acquired facility this Thursday, September 3 at 1:00 p.m. with Felderman Design-Build. Felderman was awarded the remodeling project at the facility which is located at 4201 Parnell Avenue, Fort Wayne-the old HHGregg building.

We would like to invite you, our members and friends, to join us for this momentous occasion! This event will be held outside, but please be sure to bring a mask. We will have masks available should you need one.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Board Trustees for their efforts in securing this facility and for their due diligence in providing us with the visibility and space that were so greatly needed. 

Rob Griffith, Gaylor Electric, Inc. – Chair

Kris Griffith, Ferrer Mechanical Services, Inc.

John Fredericks, Fredericks Inc. Contractors

Brian Muncy, Somerset CPAs

Travis Ayers, Lehman’s Mechanical Contractors

Scott Starks, Royal Flush Plumbing

Dan Babcock, James Babcock, Inc.

Jacob Kerr, Brandt Construction, Inc.

Vic Szczechowski, ATS, All Trades Staffing, Inc.

Mike Webster, freije engineered solutions company

Mendel Smith, SCS Construction Services, Inc.

Dan Drewry, Drewry Simmons Vornehm

Please call or email me to let me know if you can attend, and I hope to see you Thursday!

Felisha Anderson

Council Manager – Northeast/Northwest

4615 Ellenwood Drive

Fort Wayne, IN  46806

260-441-9897, Ext. 160

260-441-9846 Fax

2019 EIC Award Winners

COVID-19 and The FFCRA: Employment Law Impacts for Contractors

ABC’s Chapter Attorney, Drewry Simmons & Vornehm, LLP, will be presenting a webinar tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. EST via Zoom on:

Covid-19 and the FFCRA: Employment Law Impacts for Contractors

One of the biggest challenges for employers during this pandemic is understanding how new legislation like the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFFCA”) and the Governor’s Executive Orders will affect the workplace. Employers are faced with difficult decisions in how to manage in this new environment while promoting the health and safety of their employees. How do the new rules and norms impact the prior standards?  This seminar will provide a breakdown and explanation of new legislation and the implications of recent Executive Orders, and provide recommendations and insight on best practices and how to navigate the various employment issues that stem from COVID-19.

Key Topics will include:

    • Overview of Legal Issues and Impacts on Businesses
    • Work From Home (WFH) Considerations
    • Ongoing In-Person Operations
    • Indiana EO 20-08  and EO 20-18 “Directive for Hoosiers to Stay at Home” and “Continued Directive”
    • Federal FFCRA- Emergency Paid Sick Leave
    • Federal FFCRA-Emergency extension of FMLA
    • Unemployment Claims/WARN
    • Pay Issues
    • Special Considerations under Discrimination Statutes

Presenters:     Melanie Dunajeski, Partner & Christopher Drewry, Partner, Drewry Simmons & Vornehm, LLP

Don’t miss out on this very informative presentation. Click HERE to register!

Thank you, and stay safe!