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Weekly Newsletter

Newsletter 2017-21                                                                                                 May 26, 2017

 

LEGISLATORS GO HOME AFTER REVENUE BILL DEADLOCK; SENATE PASSES HIGHWAY FUNDING BILLS

 

The West Virginia House and Senate this week passed their respective revenue bills and now seem farther apart than before on how to close a $260 million gap in the 2017-18 state budget.  Earlier Wednesday, along a mostly party line 18-13 vote, the Senate again passed its revenue plan, which would lower income taxes by 20 percent over two years, but would raise the state sales tax by 21 percent to make up for some of the lost tax revenue. A change solves the budget gap this year by raising the sales tax six months prior to lowering the income tax, but it’s projected to result in deficits in the coming years.

 

The House of Delegates — where leadership has adamantly opposed what is now a 7.25 percent sales tax increase, as well as the proposed income tax rollbacks — sent a strong message of opposition Wednesday evening with an 85-0 vote to refuse to concur in the latest version of the Senate plan. 

 

The House favors a plan to keep the sales tax the same and forego the broadest aspect of the income tax changes in favor of extending the sales tax to economic sectors such as telecommunications, communications and the first $40,000 of a construction or remodeling project.  The House plan is estimated to raise an additional $100 million in revenue for the coming fiscal year but stops another $100 million short of Governor Justice’s preferred $4.35 billion budget proposal.

 

It was anticipated the two bodies would appoint a conference committee to work out the differences between the two houses and continue the special session.  In an unexpected move, the Legislature agreed to put the special session on a second hiatus — to June 5 — to allow time to try to work with Gov. Jim Justice to come up with a compromise.  On Thursday, the governor met with the Senate President, the Senate Minority Leader, the Speaker of the House, and House Minority Leader in four separate rooms and is traveling from room to room to get a better understanding of the positions of each side.

 

SENATE PASSES HIGHWAY BILLS

 

The Senate this week overwhelmingly voted in favor of the governor’s highway funding proposals.  S.B. 1006 was approved by a vote of 26-6. The bill raises about $140 million annually in new revenue for the State Road Fund through a 1.5 cent increase in the retail gas tax, changing the floor on the wholesale gas tax, increasing various DMV fees and increasing the privilege tax on vehicles from 5% to 6%.

 

Senators voted 26-5 in favor of S.B. 1003, the bill to continue and increase tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike which would allow the issuance of about $500 million in bonds for highway and bridge expansion projects.  The bill also allows tolls to be implemented on other roads throughout the state.  An amendment was added to the bill on the Senate floor that the Legislature would have to vote to approve tolls to be applied on an existing highway. The bills were made effective from passage so the new revenue would start flowing almost immediately to the State Road Fund.

 

The highway bills were going to be taken up for consideration in the House Finance Committee but the they now appear to be on the back burner until the governor and Senate leaders agree to modify their position on the 7.25 percent consumer sales tax and the reduction of state income tax proposals.  The governor continues to push the jobs that will be created by a $2.8 billion road program.  In fact, the budget contains about $43 million in projected state income taxes that will be generated by workers who will be hired by contractors performing additional highway work.

 

ACTION REQUIRED:  CAWV Members need to call their House of Delegate members at their home or office before they come back to Charleston June 5.  They need to hear that it’s time to improve West Virginia’s highways and create jobs.  If the Legislature does not pass a highway funding bill this year, it is almost certain they will not pass a bill next session since it’s an election year.  Now is the time to take action.

 

To get a list of legislators contact information, click here.

 

SENATE VOTES ON HIGHWAY FUNDING BILLS

 

Below are the roll calls for S.B. 1003 and S.B. 1006.  If you see your senator over the next week, thank them for their support of roads and jobs, or ask them why they voted no on jobs and fixing West Virginia’s roads and bridges.

 
SB 1003
RELATING GENERALLY TO
WV PARKWAYS AUTHORITY
SB 1006
INCREASING FUNDING FOR
STATE ROAD FUND

Yea: 26

Nay: 5

Yea: 26

Nay: 6

Beach
Blair
Boley
Boso
Carmichael
Clements
Cline
Facemire
Ferns
Gaunch
Hall
Jeffries
Mann
Miller
Ojeda
Palumbo
Plymale
Prezioso
Romano
Stollings
Swope
Takubo
Trump
Unger
Weld
Woelfel
Azinger
Karnes
Maynard
Smith
Sypolt
Beach
Blair
Boso
Carmichael
Clements
Cline
Facemire
Ferns
Gaunch
Hall
Jeffries
Mann
Miller
Ojeda
Palumbo
Plymale
Prezioso
Romano
Smith
Stollings
Swope
Sypolt
Takubo
Trump
Unger
Weld
Azinger
Boley
Karnes
Maynard
Rucker
Woelfel
 

AGC TO RELEASE NATIONAL CONSTRUCTION EMPLOYMENT FIGURES IN CHARLESTON WEDNESDAY AT STATE CAPITOL

 

AGC of America will release the latest national metro construction employment data for April from the State Capitol on Wednesday, May 31.  AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson and Director of Public Affairs Brian Turmail will announce that the Charleston, WV Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) experienced the second highest decline in construction employment of any of the 358 metro areas AGC tracks.  AGC released the information in Charleston on August 30, 2011 when Charleston had the fifth highest construction employment growth in the country.

 

AGC and CAWV will join with Transportation Secretary Tom Smith to call for greater state investments in infrastructure to help boost demand for construction and to put West Virginians to work.  If his schedule permits, Gov. Jim Justice will attend to promote the jobs that will be created if the West Virginia Legislature approves his $2.8 billion highway construction and maintenance plan.

 

CAWV members are invited and encouraged to attend the data’s release. The event will be held Wednesday, May 31 at 10:00 a.m. in the Governor’s reception area at the State Capitol. Members will receive more information Tuesday on the release.

 

CAWV MEMBERS MAKE ENR TOP 400 LIST

 

CAWV members are part of ENR’s annual ranking of The Top 400 Contractors.  The list is included in the May 15 edition of ENR. The CAWV congratulates our members for their inclusion in this year’s rankings.  They are:  Kokosing, Inc., 71; P.J. Dick-Trumbull, 90; BBL Construction, 210; and Vecellio Group, Inc., 216.  ENR also lists the Top 50 Domestic Heavy Contractors.  They include:  Kokosing, Inc., 21; New Enterprise Stone and Lime Co., Inc., 25. P.J. Dick – Trumbull, 43; and Vecellio Group, 46.

 

Trump Budget – Status Quo for Federal Construction

This week, President Trump released his first budget request covering fiscal year 2018 that also looks out over the next 10 years (2018-2027). The proposal, “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” calls for $1 trillion in total tax cuts over the next 10 years, while also cutting federal spending by $4.6 trillion over that same time period. The budget assumes the economy will grow by $2.1 trillion, which would reduce 10-year deficits by $5.6 trillion and balance the budget in FY 2027.

 

As with most budgets submitted by respective administrations, President Trump’s is largely seen as a messaging document that primes the budget and appropriations debate for the coming year. This year however, the budget carries a bit more relevance due in large part to the president’s promise to include $200 billion for his infrastructure initiative. The budget did provide a fact sheet detailing four key principles for the White House’s initiative, but did not provide any details on a specific infrastructure plan.

 

In terms of federal construction accounts tracked by AGC, the budget is status quo with previous year’s appropriations and budget requests—approximately $120 billion. While the budget provides significant funding increases for border wall construction and a $5 billion dollar down payment on the administration’s infrastructure initiative, it also cuts TIGER grants, Capital Investment Grants for transit projects, rural water programs, and the Community Development Block Grant Program. Even more troubling, the budget assumes that funding for the Highway Trust Fund will be cut by $95 billion in 2021.

 

A full analysis of the FY 2018 budget for federal construction accounts can be found here. Additional details on budget funding and policy issues—including the infrastructure initiative—can be found here. (Reprinted from AGC Construction Legislative Week in Review.)

 

GREAT DAY PLANNED FOR CAWV SCHOLARSHIP GOLF OUTING FRIDAY, JUNE 2; LAST CALL FOR TEE-TIMES

 

The annual CAWV Scholarship Golf Outing will be held Friday, June 2, at Berry Hills Country Club in Charleston. Since over 250 CAWV members and guests played in last year’s event, we are limited to 20 "Sixsomes" for both the 7:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. starting times. For morning golfers, a luncheon will be held immediately after play. For the afternoon golfers, dinner will be held immediately after play. Awards will be presented at the luncheon for the morning flight and at dinner for the afternoon flight. Please know all morning spots are filled and only a few afternoon spots remain. All proceeds from the golf outing benefit the CAWV Scholarship Foundation. For more information, contact Wendy Long at (304) 342-1166 or email at long@cawv.org. Forms are attached to this week’s Newsletter.

 

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY FROM THE CAWV

 

The CAWV would like to wish all of our members a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. In observance of the holiday, the CAWV will be closed on Monday, May 29.