Newsletter 2017-24 June 16, 2017
The House of Delegates has just passed a highway funding bill on a vote of 59 to 32. The bill culminates years of work by the CAWV, West Virginians for Better Transportation and many, many others to adequately fund West Virginia’s roads and bridges maintenance and construction program. An amendment to reduce the wholesale gas tax and one to let voters decide to vote themselves a gas tax increase were defeated. A surprise amendment was offered to reduce the increase in the registration fee from $50 to $40 which did pass on a 49 to 40 vote. This will reduce the $135 million road funding program by $15 million. The CAWV will work to restore the fee when the bill goes back to the Senate. The bill is effective July 1, 2017.
Supporters received a major boost this year when Governor Jim Justice made a $2.8 billion highway funding program part of his economic development plan. S.B. 1006, as passed by the House, provides about $120 million this year – and will grow next year – that the WV Division of Highways plans to put to projects immediately.
The Governor’s $1.6 billion road bond amendment, S.J.R. 6, the “Roads to Prosperity Bond Amendment,” has already been approved by the legislature and it will be on the ballot sometime within the next three months. The outstanding piece of the governor’s highway plan is S.B. 1003 which has been passed by the Senate. This bill continues and increases tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike which would support about $500 million in bonds that can be used on new projects throughout the state. Without new legislation, tolls will cease in 2019 and maintenance of the 88- mile four-lane highway will revert to the WVDOH. A group of delegates who want the tolls to be eliminated continue to oppose the bill. At the press time, the House Finance Committee is debating the bill.
CAWV members will receive much more on this issue, including a breakdown of the new funding proposals and a list of delegates who voted for and against passage of the bill.
BUDGET STILL UNDER DISCUSSION
Yesterday evening the West Virginia Senate voted 30-2 to pass S.B. 1017, a tax and revenue bill that would fund a state budget for FY 2018. Today the House of Delegates amended that bill, striking all previous language and substituting it with the language that was produced in the conference committee earlier this week. The House then voted 67-22 to pass the amended bill.
As the bill now stands, the consumer sales tax rate remains unchanged at 6%, though various exemptions have been eliminated including: telecommunications, digital products, digital code, digital services, electronic data processing services, health and fitness centers, and some direct use exemptions. The latest language also increases the personal income tax exemption from $2,000 to $2,500. Under the latest language, S.B. 1017 is estimated to generate $67 million in new revenue. SB 1017 now returns to the West Virginia Senate for further consideration. If the Senate does not accept the House changes, a new conference committee could be appointed to work out differences between the House and Senate. To read the story in WV MetroNews about the latest action on the bill, please click here.
CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS COULD BE AFFECTED BY GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
If lawmakers do not approve a budget by Monday, June 19, the state Auditor and Treasurer’s Offices have said it will become more difficult for their offices to perform necessary functions, like paying bills or making future payroll. If a budget is not approved by June 30, state government—and all of its services—will shut down. Current language in state contracts notes that if there is no funding, contracts are void and will be terminated. In talking with State Purchasing Division officials today, they are not sure how this impacts ongoing construction contracts. At a minimum, contractors probably will not get paid during the shutdown period. In the case of WV Division of Highways projects, Secretary Tom Smith told the CAWV today that if WVDOH inspectors are furloughed, contractors will have to shut down their projects since inspectors will not be allowed to work during the shutdown.
This opens a number of discussions such as what this would do the construction project’s costs and schedules; would liquidated damages apply; what happens if the project is delayed for this year’s construction season and has to go through winter season or shut down until next spring; and what tax revenue would be lost to the state if construction workers were laid off. Since a total shutdown of the State of West Virginia has not occurred since the early 1970s, there are many questions with little or no answers. Tomorrow’s House and Senate deliberations will be crucial to a budget resolution.
SUBMIT YOUR COMPANY INFO FOR THE CAWV MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORY & BUYERS GUIDE 2017-2018
The 2017-2018 CAWV Membership Directory and Buyers Guide is currently underway. The directory is an indexed guide of all members and the services / products they provide. It contains a definitive listing of “who’s who” in West Virginia’s construction, engineering and design industries. It features contact information for contractor and associate members, the association’s top leaders, the various CAWV committees and state and federal agencies. Promote your firm’s products and services before thousands of the West Virginia’s top contractors, engineers, public officials, materials suppliers, manufacturers, safety professionals, researchers and educators.
The CAWV is asking members to take a moment to submit their company’s directory information using an online form. In order to be included in the 2017-2018 directory, company information must be submitted by Friday, June 30, 2017. Members will receive a confirmation of the information submitted. Any additions or changes can be emailed to Cassidy Webb at (304) 342-1166 or email email@example.com.
· Contractor Members – Click here to submit your company’s directory information.
· Associate Members – Click here to submit your company’s directory information.
AGC TO SURVEY MEMBERS ON NEW SILICA STANDARD FOR CONSTRUCTION
Even though OSHA has delayed enforcement of the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction until September 23, 2017, silica continues to be a hot topic and many members still have questions. The CAWV Safety Committee, in conjunction with BrickStreet Insurance, has held one seminar on the Updated Silica Standard for Construction on May 5 and is exploring whether additional Silica trainings are needed in order to educate CAWV members.
The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is continuing to work on the issue at a national level and is also working to identify resources and outreach opportunities to meet member’s needs. AGC is asking members to complete a short survey that should take approximately 10-15 minutes. Click here to take the survey.
CAWV FEATURED IN AGC IN THE NEWS - AGC Teams Up With Contractors Association of West Virginia to Push for New State Highway Funding
The CAWV was featured this week in the national Associated General Contractors of America publication, AGC in the News. AGC teamed up with the CAWV on May 31 to organize a media event in Charleston with West Virginia Department of Transportation Secretary Tom Smith to promote a new state highway funding measure. AGC's Chief Economist pointed out to reporters that Charleston has grappled with significant construction employment decline. Between April 2016 and April 2017, employment fell 16 percent in the area. Improved infrastructure funding could help significantly improve those numbers. Click here to read more in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
2017-2018 BOARD OF DIRECTORS BALLOTS SENT TO CONTRACTOR MEMBERS
Contractor members have received an official ballot for election of officers and directors of the CAWV for 2017-2018. For each office, the nominee with the largest vote will be declared elected at the association's General Business Session at the Annual Meeting, July 13-16, at The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs. Please mark and return the ballot by July 7, 2017.
FINAL PREPARATIONS BEING MADE FOR CAWV ANNUAL MEETING – LAST CHANCE
The deadline to register for this year’s CAWV Annual Meeting, which will be held July 13 - 16 at The Greenbrier, is Monday, June 19. The CAWV’s room block is almost sold out and members are urged to register immediately in order to be guaranteed a room in the hotel. The CAWV Program Committee has put together an excellent schedule of events. Golf, trap and fishing tournaments are scheduled for Saturday. Receptions will be held Thursday and Friday evening with the President’s Banquet on Saturday evening. Members have received information on sponsorship opportunities. For more information, please contact Wendy Long at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (304) 342-1166. To view the Annual Meeting information, click here.
The CAWV Scholarship Foundation would like to thank all the golfers, sponsors and supporters who participated in this year’s annual golf outing on June 2 at Berry Hills Country Club. There was a great turnout and the weather was perfect. Monies collected from this outing help support scholarships for construction-related degrees and civil engineering students. Since its inception in 1990, the CAWV Scholarship Fund has contributed over two hundred thousand dollars to hundreds of deserving students. This year’s event raised over $7,940 Golf Chairman Bob Brookover, WV Paving, Inc., thanks the following sponsors for their support:
12 Closest to pin CAWV Scholarship Fund
12 Hole-in-One CAWV Scholarship Fund
11 Longest Putt BrickStreet Insurance
7 Refreshments Brown, Edwards & Company, LLP
5 Longest Drive West Virginia Paving, Inc.
3 Closest to pin Daniels Law Firm
3 Refreshments Asphalt Pavement Association
GOLF BALL SPONSOR: Highway Safety, Inc.