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  • Mon, August 08, 2022 1:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The so-called “Inflation Reduction Act” passed in the U.S. Senate when VP Kamala Harris broke the 50-50 tie on Sunday in favor of the controversial package. The bill rolls-up a number of items under a reconciliation package used to avoid the 60-vote filibuster thereby permitting the 50 Democrats and allies to pass the legislation. The $740 billion package included billions of more spending on extending Obama-care subsidies and more funding for climate related items, while also including massive new taxing authority that have left some questioning its true impact in the middle of a growing recession. The Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) contends that the measure will increase taxes on thousands of mid-sized to small businesses across the United States. “Any business that has [private equity] in its capital structure is now considered a subsidiary of that firm and thus subject to 15 percent book tax,”

    Overall critics have noted: “All Fifty Democrat Senators have voted for a massive tax hike during a recession, more subsidies during a period of runaway inflation, and “siccing” 87,000 new IRS agents on independent businesses at a cost of $80 billion.” Adding in sum: “Every single Democrat in the US Senate cast the deciding vote to raise taxes in a recession. Every one of them” given the 50-50 tie was brought about by all 48 Democrats and the two (2) Independents Senators that caucus with them holding ranks on the nearly trillion-dollar package.

  • Tue, July 12, 2022 1:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    #UPDATE TO STORY on Opposition to Mandatory PLA
    The Kilmer/Fitzpatrick amendment that would have codified into law President Biden’s required PLA / EO 14063 was withdrawn. After the Rules Committee meeting today, it does not appear that they are offering a substitute amendment that would be specific to the DoD and they do not have the ability to offer a floor amendment. [THEREFORE: The coalition letter will NOT be needed or sent at this time].

    Once again, a large coalition of design and construction organizations, groups, and firms have united in their opposition to a proposed amend to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (H.R. 7900) that will likely result in reduced competition, increased costs, delays, poor local hiring outcomes and litigation on critical federal construction contracts.  Amendment No. 1083, offered by Rep. Dale Kilmer, D-Wash., would codify into law President Biden’s Executive Order 14063, which requires project labor agreements on all federal construction contracts of $35 million or more.  CIRT is not opposed to PLA’s, but has consistently opposed “mandatory” or “required” use of PLA’s on direct or funded federal projects.

    SEE attached coalition letter to leadership of Congress for details.

  • Wed, June 22, 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A sign of how desperate President Biden has become to turn around the bad news associated with rising gas prices, he is proposing a three-month federal gas tax holiday (i.e., suspending collection).  An official announcement from the White House contends: “The President is also calling on Congress to make sure that a gas tax holiday has no negative effect on the Highway Trust Fund.”  To avoid jeopardizing infrastructure spending, one of the few bipartisan accomplishments to date, “the President believes that we can afford to suspend the gas tax to help consumers while using other revenues to make the Highway Trust Fund whole for the roughly $10 billion cost.”

    Congressional bills consistent with this approach have been introduced in the Senate and the House of Representatives – but, it remains to be seen even if the proposal does garner the necessary support, whether it will amount to any more than temporary relief from rising gas prices. [Some contend, in the long run it may actually increase inflation by removing a portion of the cost, for the next three months, that may have otherwise tamped down demand].  Notwithstanding, the proposal does not suggest reversing or temporarily suspending any policies and/or regulations that have blunted American production and refining to help address the supply side as a long term solution.

  • Wed, April 06, 2022 5:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In advance of a “bill markup” by the House Education and Labor Committee to reauthorize the “Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act” (WIOA); members of the Opportunity America Coalition have weighed in. The proposed legislation is welcomed by the Coalition to the extent that it will increase outlays on important aspects of workforce training and upskilling with proposed grants for industry and sector partnerships, changes to state eligible training provider lists, supports incumbent worker training, and codifies grants for community college education on these matters.

    However, the Coalition’s support is tempered by concerns regarding: (a) diluting employer input at the state/local workforce board level, (b) provisions seeming to add barriers to companies that seek funding for on-the-job training, and (c) that the draft is not a bi-partisan effort that balances all the interests while creating a more practical vehicle that recognizes market-driven needs and aligns it with changing job requirements.

    The Coalition has vowed to press for a bi-partisan approach to the bill going forward, that addresses the needs across the spectrum while revamping a future workforce system.

    [For details, see the Opportunity America Coalition letter].

  • Thu, January 20, 2022 9:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With passage last year of the bipartisan $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Bill; i.e., The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” a number of titles or provisions were included that may not have been fully discussed and highlighted.

    SEE HERE for a PowerPoint presentation that Recaps the major elements of the bill.

    SEE the Factsheet on Grant Opportunities in Infrastructure Bill

  • Thu, December 09, 2021 12:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As the dust settles and more details emerge from passage of the massive $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Bill (“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act”), it is clear that both good and not so good elements were included in the final package.  While most of the headlines centered around the bitter partisan fight (which turned out to be a bipartisan vote), and the total dollar amount – with some concerns regarding the percentage being spent on “traditional” or typically defined as infrastructure (particularly transportation related), there were other policy and spending elements in the bill that will have important impacts.  The Reason Foundation has reported on a number of these elements.

    Positive Aspects:
    (1) The total $1.2 trillion includes all the funds authorized for five years of the federal surface transportation program.  That means, the net new monies authorized amounts to approximately $550 billion (or about half the total).

    (2) Federal-Aid Highway Program’s annual authorizations are approximately 26% above the FAST Act levels, when both new and old money is counted.

    (3) Transit dollars are up a larger 38% as well.

    (4) The new law also includes a $15 Billion increase to the “cap” on tax-exempt private activity bonds (PABs) that are often used in conjunction with P-3 projects.

    (5) TIFIA loans have also been continued, although at a slightly lower funded level.

    (6) The law as passed also includes a policy which avoids mandating Davis-Bacon prevailing wage provisions for projects issuing PABs.

    (7) A new Congestion Relief Program is funded, offering grants to urban areas seeking to implement integrated congestion management systems.

    (8) The Act also codifies the important regulatory streamlining approach of “One Federal Decision” that was implemented in the Trump term.

    Less than Positive Aspects:
    (1) The large amounts of federal funds (cash) included that will undercut the use of long-term financing for major projects.

    (2) Impacts on the bond markets from federal cash being used to directly pay for projects.

    (3) The likely off-loading of state and local jurisdictions committing their funds to important infrastructure projects – by instead relying on federal dollars to cover the need.

    (4) Similarly, toll-financed P-3 bridge replacements may be shifted to the new federal “Discretionary Bridge Program” – which is only short term and not meant to finance ongoing maintenance.

    (5) The bill’s silence as to the future needs of the most important transportation asset, i.e. – the Interstate Highway System (other than the select 10 bridge projects).

    (6) Unprecedented large “discretionary” spending program that shifts authority and priorities to the federal bureaucracy and away from the state and local officials.

    (7) The Infrastructure bill paves the way for expanded use of Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) – which generally include other provisions that align with labor interests, including: that union hiring halls refer all workers to the project; that workers referred to perform project work pay union dues for their time on the project; and that contractors contribute to union trust funds for workers’ retirement and health care.

    (8) Finally, with this large amount of money being authorized, combined with a number of union labor mandates, it is likely to drive-up the expenses of everything, especially in record-high inflationary times for construction.

  • Wed, November 10, 2021 4:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In the face spending that is already fueling a 31-year high inflation rate, major supply chain disruptions, and record national labor shortages, the potential taxes being proposed by the Biden Administration and his allies in Congress in the Build Back Better bill will touch every American in some form or another while jeopardizing continued economic recovery from the pandemic and shutdowns. The supposedly $1.75 Trillion price tag for the reconciliation spending binge of leftist pet programs and/or agendas – has already been challenged as being too low. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), a nonpartisan organization with an emphasis on federal finances, has said the Democrats bill will actually cost around $2.4 trillion.  [In addition, the Wharton School of Business has estimated the figure to be nearly $4.0 Trillion, with American taxpayers incurring $1.56 Trillion in new taxes; a far cry from the President’s claim of it costing ZERO!]. Either figure could be a deal breaker for the so-called moderate House Democrats that accepted a compromise with Speaker Pelosi and the leftist wing, to hold a vote . . . if the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) came back with a score comparable to the advertised $1.75 Trillion.

    The CBO is a nonpartisan body tasked with scoring an estimate of the true cost of legislation and its impacts on the economy.  It is this “scoring” that has not yet been produced that moderates are seeking before they vote on the reconciliation package.  Reportedly, the Director of CBO explained the delay in processing saying: “The analysis of the bill’s many provisions is complicated.” Although he promised that “[the] CBO will provide a cost estimate for the entire bill as soon as practicable.”

    As for ways to pay for this massive spending proposal, the Build Back Better bill is loaded with increases, new approaches, and slight of hand to cover the debt-busting potential. The accompanying chart/table highlight the more impactful possibilities buried in the 2,000 page plus legislative proposal.

    SEE Summary of Tax Proposals / CIRT Advocacy Center.

  • Sat, November 06, 2021 7:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It went deep into the night as the Democrat majority in the House squabbled over rules and voting procedures until finally passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill after a multi-hour standoff between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and more radical left-wing members of her party who vowed to oppose it without voting on President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion reconciliation socialist spending package in tandem.  The more traditional infrastructure bill, pegged at $1.2 trillion dollars over a 10-year period for roads, bridges, ports, waterways, rural broadband access and more, passed on a 228-206 vote, with 13 Republicans and 6 Democrats breaking party lines to vote for and against the bill, respectively.

    The last minute deal was hammered out after a group of more “moderate” Democrat House members consented in writing that they would allow a vote on the massive reconciliation spending package -- if the CBO score was aligned with White House estimates.  Of course, that will leave open for interpretation whether if and when the CBO numbers do match the White House figures.  Even if they do, Democrat Senators have already signaled that many of the favorite left-wing spend and tax provisions in their version of the package are non-starters or likely to be stripped from the Senate version. 

    BUT, the House vote clears the final hurdle for the more “traditional” $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill to reach the President’s desk.

  • Wed, October 13, 2021 2:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    CIRT joined a large cross-section of organizations delivering a message to Congressional leadership that we strongly oppose the proposed new tax information reporting regime as described by the Department of Treasury, that would impact almost every American who has an account at a financial institution. The proposal, buried in the monstrous $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, will require providers of financial services to track and submit to the IRS information on the inflows and outflows of every account above a de minimis threshold of $600 during the year.

    Moreover, the organizations noted that “
    The privacy concerns for Americans are real and should not be taken lightly. The IRS is not impervious to being hacked and has suffered massive data breaches in the recent past where the personal information of taxpayers was stolen.”  And also, that tinkering around the edges to “soften” the new mandates and requirements to certain types of transactions, or groups of banking accounts, etc. was still an outrageous invasion of privacy and government overreach.

    SEE the Coalition Letter and Fact Sheet for further details.

  • Fri, September 17, 2021 3:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    CIRT joined over 100 other organizations to voice strong opposition to a proposal to sweep-up banking information under the guise of addressing what is euphemistically called “tax gap” concerns (namely non-compliance). The provision is tucked into the massive Build Back Better Act, that seeks to require financial institutions to report to the IRS on transactions in business and personal accounts.

    The group blasted the idea as: “Indiscriminate, blanket data collection [that] would amount to a troubling effort to profile American taxpayers based on account characteristics without grounds for suspicion of tax evasion. Such profiling is inappropriate in all law enforcement contexts.”  In other words, treat everyone like criminals, trampling rights and freedoms, in the search for evidence of a true wrong doer.

    For more details SEE Joint Letter to Congress Opposing Consumer Financial Account Reporting.

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