In a recent letter to the U.S. House of Representatives, SMACNA urged support for H.R. 7079, The Clean Start: Back to Work Tax Credit Act, introduced by Representatives Darin LaHood (R-IL-18) and Stephanie Murphy (D-FL-7). While Congress included funds through expanded Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to small businesses, SMACNA is concerned that the countless unanticipated safety, sanitation and health protocols for construction sites and firms can burden recovery from the economic downturn created by COVID-19. This oversight would be corrected if Congress passes H.R. 7079.
If enacted, H.R. 7079 would permit businesses to apply the tax credit toward expenses for industry-recognized training and certification, purchase necessary cleaning products, tools, machinery, personal protective equipment, and other sanitary-related equipment. Each business would be eligible for a 50 percent tax credit of up to $25,000 per location and up to a maximum of $250,000 per business entity. Eligible expenses must be made by March 31, 2021 to help offset increased expenses associated with a potential second wave of COVID-19 during the coming fall or winter. This is an important tax credit that directly addresses the productivity and cost burdens post-pandemic construction and small business operations already are experiencing.
SMACNA has been advocating to Congress that necessary safety and health protocols will overburden small businesses and wipe out much of the construction project margin routinely expected before COVID-19. Unfortunately, The Paycheck Protection Program, passed into law this year, did not anticipate or contain provisions to cover these expenses.