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Actionline

October 31, 2017 – VOLUME 14, ISSUE 10

Tax Reform Takes Center Stage …  This Time It’s For Real

As Actionline went to press, the nation’s capital was gearing up for the release of the House Ways & Means Committee’s tax reform bill on Nov. 1.  The prospects for tax reform were given a big boost in recent weeks with passage of budget resolution that will allow the legislation to avoid a filibuster by Senate Democrats.

The House bill is expected to mirror priorities announced earlier this year by senior administration officials and congressional leaders.  For businesses, that would mean lowering the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, reducing rates for pass-through companies, changing the way U.S. companies operating internationally are taxed and providing for 100 percent expensing of capital investments.  The number of tax brackets for individuals would be reduced to three, the alternative minimum tax would be repealed and the standard deduction would be increased and simplified.

While the broad parameters have been known for some time, there are myriad details yet to be worked out.  The budget resolution allows for up to $1.5 trillion in new debt associated with the tax code changes, but it will likely cost more to address all the priorities agreed to by GOP leaders and the White House.  In recent days, the focus has been on whether the changes would be done immediately or phased-in over a period of years to reduce the negative budget impact.  There has also been considerable speculation and anxiety about the possible fate of current deductions and credits as lawmakers look to simplify the tax code and reduce the cost of the bill.

The home mortgage interest deduction has attracted particular attention.  Although the tax reform framework developed by administration and congressional negotiators would preserve the interest deduction, raising the standard deduction would mean fewer taxpayers itemizing, which would, in turn, reduce the impact of the mortgage provision.  That concern led the National Association of Homebuilders, one of the nation’s most powerful construction organizations, to take the dramatic step of coming out against the House bill in advance of its release.

“The House plan to double the standard deduction, end personal exemptions and repeal the deduction for state and local taxes is a bad bill for the housing sector,” NAHB CEO Jerry Howard said.  “All the resources we were going to put into supporting are now going to go into opposing the plan.”

After the House bill is unveiled and the potential impact on various industries becomes clear, it is a virtual certainty that other organizations will join NAHB in opposition.  That’s not a death knell for tax reform, but it does underscore the challenges associated with the process.  Every provision in the code is there because someone fought hard to put it there.  Getting tax reform done will require convincing enough people to give up their current tax preferences and that they will be better off under the new system.

ACPPA is closely monitoring developments and will prepare an analysis for members as details become available.  In the meantime, we welcome input – particularly from tax and finance experts at member companies – about the possible consequences of reform.  Send your comments to ACPPA Counsel Christian Klein at christian.klein@potomac-law.com.


Have Regulatory Reform Ideas?
The White House Wants to Hear Them

With all the media stories about what the Trump administration has not accomplished, few have focused on an important untold story: the success of the president’s regulatory reform initiatives.

During his first six months in office, President signed 14 resolutions passed by Congress under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) undoing regulations adopted during the last year of the Obama administration.  Prior to Trump taking office, the CRA had only successfully been used once before.  While intelligent people will disagree about the merits of the regulations repealed under the CRA, Congress and the administration have demonstrated how effectively it can be used at the start of an administration to undo policies put in place by the new president’s predecessor.

In addition to the legislative CRA activity, the White House is pushing regulatory reform within the executive branch from the top down and bottom up. President Trump has issued several executive orders relating to regulatory issues, including requiring two regulations to be repealed for each new regulation issued, a net-zero economic impact of newly adopted regulatory policies and the formation of bodies within every agency to review regulations and recommend improvements.  Trump’s new department and agency heads have also sought to undo Obama-era regulations seen as harmful to the economy (the Environmental Protection Agency’s move to rescind a new definition of the “waters of the United States” and carbon emissions rules are just two examples of interest to ACPPA members).

While the Trump administration clearly has specific rules in its crosshairs, we have spoken to White House officials who have made it clear they want additional input about what regulations need to change or go away entirely.  With that in mind, there is a significant opportunity for associations like ACPPA to recommend regulatory improvements.  ACPPA members with regulatory reform ideas should seize the moment and contact ACPPA Counsel Christian Klein at christian.klein@potomac-law.com with their ideas.


Pressure Pipe Post

ACPPA’s Monthly Source for Industry News
October 2017

To keep members aware of the activities of government and standards organizations, we regularly sweep public databases and publications for the industry-specific terms indicated below. We then provide our members with links to documents identified in the search. Please note that in some cases the URLs may link to subscription-only databases. The purpose of this service is to identify emerging threats and trends as well as opportunities for collective action by ACPPA.

NEWS RESULTS

Concrete/Cement

A sustainable lining solution for stormwater pipe
10/26/2017 http://www.mswmag.com/editorial/2017/11/a_sustainable_
lining_solution_for_stormwater_pipe
Corrugated metal pipe has a limited life span. When the infrastructure nears the end of its design life — in most cases, after roughly 30 years under normal circumstances — structural fatigue, infiltration and corrosion can be prevalent. Full replacement can be time-consuming and expensive. Storm Seal is an ideal alternative.

 

Researchers Say They’ve Invented ‘Earthquake-Proof’ Concrete
10/15/2017 http://trueviralnews.com/researchers-say-theyve-invented-earthquake-proof-concrete/
Earthquakes have the ability to destroy buildings quickly and comprehensively with a devastating loss to human life. Engineers and architects around the world dedicate their lives to finding ways to ‘earthquake proof’ buildings for construction in earthquake-prone areas.

 

Know your cement, get greener concrete
10/09/2017 https://phys.org/news/2017-10-cement-greener-concrete.html
An international team of scientists has created a new database of molecular dynamics models that simulate the properties of cement in all its varieties. It’s intended to help fine-tune this component of concrete and curtail emissions in its manufacturing process.

Fly Ash

 

Fly ash complaints hang over Capital Power following storm-related ‘spill’
10/04/2017 http://stateportpilot.com/news/article_74b1f5aa-a93d-11e7-b3f8-1bea6b12b33c.html
After a recent ash spill at Capital Power’s Southport plant, nearby residents are concerned about any environmental impacts associated with the incident.

 

What once seemed like a good idea is forcing repairs on city streets
10/02/2017 http://journalstar.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/what-once-seemed-like-a-good-idea-is-forcing-repairs/article_c361b389-2aed-5af2-ac8a-fbfc1e031627.html
It first appears as a dark spider web across concrete on city streets. As it worsens, causing large holes, the diagnosis is clear: Concrete cancer. Also known as ASR, or alkali-silica reaction, concrete cancer has forced Lincoln to repair and replace concrete in newer city streets over the past decade.

Local Infrastructure

[Massachusetts] North Attleboro neighborhood eyes access to town water
10/26/2017 http://www.thesunchronicle.com/news/local_news/north-attleboro-neighborhood-eyes-access-to-town-water/article_24d8a7a3-a449-5d81-8d37-603d6d5a90ee.html
It’s been nearly 50 years since the houses on Mendon Road and the surrounding Kings Grant Estates subdivision were built. In all that time, residents have never seen town water — instead receiving the utility from Kings Grant Water Co., privately owned and serviced by John Brady and his family since 1964.

 

[New York] New Comptroller’s report underscores need for SWAP to fix underground infrastructure
10/24/2017 http://blog.timesunion.com/tedisco/new-comptrollers-report-underscores-need-for-swap-to-fix-underground-infrastructure/2450/
A new report by the state Comptroller’s Office on the millions of tax dollars and gallons of water lost due to leaky pipes underscores the need for my SWAP — Safe Water infrastructure Action Program — legislation that I have been advocating for to address the lurking monster in our underground infrastructure.

 

[Colorado] On The Ballot: Colorado Springs Tries Again For Dedicated Stormwater Fee
10/24/2017 http://krcc.org/post/ballot-colorado-springs-tries-again-dedicated-stormwater-fee
For the second time in three years, stormwater is on the ballot in Colorado Springs. It’s not an issue readily apparent until it rains, when small ponds often fill the streets of the city. It also presents a legal issue with the city’s southern neighbor. A proposed fee, backed by the mayor and a majority of city council, would raise money to fund improvements and maintenance on the city’s stormwater infrastructure. Proponents hope this effort will succeed where others have failed.

 

[Oregon] Pipeline project along 124th Ave./Tonquin Road begins
10/19/2017 http://pamplinmedia.com/sg/77-news/376037-261578-pipeline-project-along-124th-ave-tonquin-road-begins
In addition to installing pipeline along 124th Avenue as part of the Willamette Water Supply Project, a water treatment facility is planned just off the roadway.

 

[Massachusetts] Rash Of Water Main Breaks Fixed, Says Arlington DPW
10/16/2017 https://patch.com/massachusetts/arlington/arlington-has-plugged-leak-rash-watermain-breaks-fixed-says-dpw
Sunday, the Water Department had to take care of numerous reports of water main breaks, bringing up the total number of water main breaks in town to 10 in the past four days.

 

[Indiana] Large sinkhole opens up on E. Indiana Ave. in South Bend
10/16/2017 http://wsbt.com/news/local/large-sinkhole-opens-up-on-e-indiana-ave-in-south-bend
A sink hole in South Bend could take nearly two weeks to repair. A city spokesperson says the hole is about 10-15 feet wide and deep.

 

[Quebec] Beaconsfield Rewarded for its Drinking Water Conservation Efforts
10/13/2017 http://media.mwnewsroom.com/Jacksonville/article?id=2165513
At the water excellence ceremony held by Réseau Environnement, the City of Beaconsfield was awarded a certificate of recognition for its various initiatives relating to conserving drinking water, as part of Réseau Environnement’s Municipalité Écon’eau program.

Safety

Construction Workers Save Boy Trapped In Pipe
10/27/2017 http://www.rightthisminute.com/video/rtmtv-construction-workers-save-boy-trapped-pipe
A 2-year-old boy fell down a 12-inch hole that was incredibly well hidden in the grass. The boy was trapped inside the pipe about 25-feet down.

 

Construction Worker Dies After Being Trapped In Streamwood Sewer Pipe
10/26/2017 https://newsofchicago.com/2017/10/26/construction-worker-dies-after-being-trapped-in-streamwood-sewer-pipe/
A construction worker died Wednesday night when he became trapped in a manhole in Streamwood while installing a new sewer lining.

 

Florida Construction Crew Finds 5-Foot Gator in Pipe
10/26/2017 http://www.nbcmiami.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Florida-Conctruction-Crew-Finds-5-Foot-Gator-in-Pipe_Miami-453341803.html
A Florida construction crew discovered a clogged pipe but stuck inside was a 5-foot alligator along the side of a highway in Martin County.

LEGISLATIVE RESULTS

Water Infrastructure

S. 692 | Introduced by Fischer, Deb (R-Neb.) | Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act
Passed Senate: 10/05/2017 https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/692
To provide for integrated plan permits, to establish an Office of the Municipal Ombudsman, to promote green infrastructure, and to require the revision of financial capability guidance.

 

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