NECA TransmissionsNotes from the front lines of the electrical contracting industry

An Open Letter to Our New Leaders

Posted on Nov 07, 2008 by John M Grau

Congratulations President-elect Barack Obama and Members of the Newly Elected 111th Congress.

ECPAC didn’t support all of you in your election races.  Regardless, we do celebrate our democracy, and the fact that we freely and openly choose our leaders.

Whether we supported you or not, you can expect to hear from us. We are the voice of the nation's electrical contracting industry. We are a significant segment of the construction industry, which is one of the largest employers of American citizens and represents a major portion of our nation's gross domestic product.

We will offer you our thoughts, ideas, support when we can - and criticism when necessary. We look forward to a productive working relationship.

We know you will have your hands full with a number of important issues. Here are a few things we would like Congress and the new Administration to place on your agenda.

We need some help with our pension plans. It won't cost you anything, unlike the Wall Street bailout. Just give us some extra time to fund our obligations. We suspect that, in contrast to the last Administration, you won't have a bias against union multi-employer plans.

We also suspect that we won't have to fight very hard to keep Davis-Bacon provisions intact. You're with us on that one. But please don't go so far with your promotion of union issues that you trample on the rights of small employers. We'll be watching you closely on that.

We're encouraged that you will promote investment in infrastructure, energy conservation measures, and alternative sources of energy. That's right up our alley, and our members can help you rebuild, renew, and re-energize America.

We most likely will part ways with you on some tax issues. Remember that, by and large, we are small, family-owned businesses. You claim that we are the engine for job growth in our country. Please don't stifle our ability to grow our businesses.

Estate taxes, corporate tax rates, and marginal income tax rates do matter. As a matter of good faith, why not repeal the 3% withholding tax that Congress sneaked into some legislation a couple years ago? We all know it was a bad idea, so let's get rid of it.

There's also the matter of regulation. We see the fallout from lax regulation in the financial markets. Don't use that as an excuse to swing the pendulum too far the other way. We see the need for regulations, and we will work with you to make any new regulations sensible and workable. We have a very productive coalition with OSHA that is advancing safety efforts in the line construction industry. Please don't destroy that.

We know you will be busy setting up your offices, hiring your staff, and preparing to govern our country. So we won't bother you any more right now. We just wanted to introduce ourselves and let you know that you'll be seeing us down the road.

Once again, congratulations, and good luck!

About NECA Transmissions

NECA Transmissions is a collaborative effort from CEO John Grau and NECA staff to provide insight and feedback on key issues from the front lines of the electrical contracting industry.

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