AGC Members Speak Out on Legislative Priorities for 2009
AGCs Legislative Affairs Office reports the results of its survey of members and thanks those who took part. The survey will help determine AGCs legislative priorities for the 2009 session. One of the Legislative Offices key initiatives is to improve communication with and enhance the participation of members in advocacy activities. The issue survey is an important element in that plan and the responses will help shape AGCs 2009 Legislative Agenda and guide the government affairs team as it responds to proposals pushed by others.
Several themes are evident from the responses. First those issues that embody impediments to project initiation or progress – regulations – were rated as of top priorities. This includes such issues as workers compensation employment security the streamlining environmental permitting and a Mike M. Johnson fix. Secondly transportation-related issues were also high priorities but use of existing transportation revenue streams or reallocation of other existing revenues were somewhat favored over new revenue sources as the method of funding transportation.
General Business Regulation. Three issues scored essentially equally. These were:
1. Allow Early Settlement of Workers Compensation Claims
2. Prevent Diversion of Workers Compensation Funds to Non-Workers Compensation Uses and
3. Prevent Increase in Unemployment Insurance Tax Rate.
Environmental Regulation. Two long-standing issues scored highest. These were:
1. Provide Flexibility to Stormwater Regulations and
2. Streamline Environmental Permitting Process.
Notably expected greenhouse gas legislation and regulations scored lowest in this category. It is believed that this is because the scope and potential effects are not yet commonly known.
Public Contracting. Again two issues that have been previously seen scored strongest in this area. These were:
1. Provide Mike M. Johnson Fix and
2. Limit Expansion of Apprenticeship Utilization Quotas.
Basic Infrastructure Investment. This area covered the single issue of revenue sources for funding basic public infrastructure (other than transportation). As stated above the preference was for:
1. Seek Redirection of Current Revenue Streams
However this was followed by:
2. Seek Authorization of Public-Private Partnerships and
3. Authorize Tax Increment Financing/Community Financing Districts.
Transportation Investment. In this area there was a separation between using or modifying existing avenues of revenue versus implementation of new revenue sources. The top three responses were:
1. Index Fuel Taxes for Inflation
2. Eliminate Sales Tax on Transportation Construction Projects
3. Allow Corridor Tolling
Following behind were:
4. Allow Tolling for Maintenance and Operations
5. Institute Congestion Pricing
6. Institute User Fee Tax on Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT)
The response was sufficient to draw some inferences and reflected the breadth of the membership. There were over 40 respondents with 70% of those being from the general contracting membership category. In addition 51% of the respondents were building contractors 24% highway contractors and 17% civil contractors.
There was also a fairly even split between public work contractors and private contractors – 56.5% of the contractor respondents said less than 50% of their work came from public work and 43.5% said that more than 50% of their work came from public work.
For more information on the survey or AGCs legislative activities contact the AGC Legislative Office at 360-352-5000 or 800-690-2630 or email Rick Slunaker Director of Government Affairs.