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NECA Top Three 11/3/17

Nov 02, 2017

1. On November 2, the House Ways and Means Committee unveiled its long-anticipated tax reform measure, H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The measure would overhaul our nation’s tax code for the first time since 1986. The bill has several major NECA-supported provisions, including the following:

  • Lowers the corporate tax rate from 35 percent down to 20 percent.

  • Lowers the S Corporate tax rate down to 25 percent.

  • Reduced the number of brackets from seven to four, at the following rates: 12, 25, 35, and 39.6 percent.

  • Doubles the exemption and fully repeals the Estate Tax after six years.

  • Allows businesses to immediately write off the full cost of new equipment.

  • Preserves the Research & Development Tax Credit.

  • Repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax.

  • Increases the standard deduction from $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals, and $12,700 to $24,000 for married couples.

  • Allows 529 plans to be utilized to pay for costs directly related to participation in a DOL-approved apprenticeship program.

NECA’s Look Ahead: There are many items in the legislation that will greatly benefit NECA contractors and their employees for decades to come. NECA has worked for nearly a decade advocating for numerous provisions in the legislation. There are still numerous provisions that must be examined closely, particularly how passthrough companies will ultimately be treated under the draft bill. Any final legislative package must take into consideration that electrical construction firms would be hurt if the passthrough provisions do not amount to a significant rate reduction.

House leaders plan to move fast on this bill with a goal of House passage by Thanksgiving. The Ways and Means Committee will meet Monday, November 6, at 12:00 PM ET to begin amending the bill. Visit waysandmeans.house.gov/live to watch the markup. We will continue to work in the coming days and weeks to advocate for real reform.

2. On October 31, The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) released a set of recommendations on the Section 201 solar trade case. The ITC recommended tariffs on imported solar panels of as much as 35 percent. NECA CEO John Grau was quoted in a recent story by the Associated Press saying, “Solar energy is a proven job creator for electrical workers nationwide who install utility-scale and rooftop solar systems around the country. These are good, middle-class jobs that promote apprenticeship, community-­based hiring and veterans. We urge President Trump to reject tariffs or other restrictions.”

NECA’s Look Ahead: The agency will send its proposals to President Donald Trump, who will have to make a ruling on the case by the end of January 2018. NECA will continue to meet with and advocate for the dismissal of the ruling with the Trump Administration.

3. For the past three months NECA has tirelessly advocated for the bipartisan bill, H.R. 3395, which seeks to allow 529 savings plans to be used for peripheral expenditures associated with DOL approved apprenticeships. This week, the bill hit a new high of 60 cosponsors, which run the political gamut from left to right. The 529 OPTIONS act has proven to be a unifying effort as the political community rallies behind expanding workforce development.

NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA will continue to work on growing support for this bill and we are pleased to report that this legislation was included in the overall tax reform plan. NECA will continue to urge that the language remain in the final legislative package.