Sheet metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

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Capitol Hill Update: SMACNA supports energy efficiency bills, Davis-Bacon

Aug 11, 2017

Capitol DomeSMACNA is working on Capitol Hill to support two bills amending the IRS tax code—to make the energy efficient building deduction permanent and to expense energy efficient HVAC equipment. SMACNA’s legislative efforts are also focused upon increasing funding for overdue airport infrastructure improvements—to meet future capacity demands and create job opportunities.

179D legislation introduced to boost energy efficient building retrofits

Reps. Dave Reichert (R-8th-Wash.), Earl Blumenauer (D-3rd-Ore.), and Tom Reed (R-23rd-N.Y.) recently introduced a bill (H.R. 3507) to amend the Internal Revenue Code to make permanent and modify the energy efficient commercial buildings deduction, the “179D” bill. 

The bill is a noticeable improvement to the one introduced in the House last year, including a most important permanent extension of the valued tax incentive for efficiency contractors. In addition, there are many modest but significant reforms to the energy efficient commercial buildings deduction. The bill is an important marker for the industry and energy efficiency.

HVAC equipment expensing bill targets high efficiency

A legislative proposal to amend the Internal Revenue code providing for expensing of qualified energy efficient heating and air-conditioning property (H.R. 3515) was introduced just before the August recess by Reps. Patrick Tiberi (R-12th-Ohio) and Ron Kind (D-3rd-Wisc.). The legislation is similar to the bills SMACNA has advocated and supported in the past to provide for expensing energy efficient HVAC equipment and accelerated cost recovery for qualifying efficient HVAC system property. 

Davis-Bacon, PLA repeal amendments fail floor action 

During the last week in July, SMACNA beat back a Davis-Bacon repeal amendment by Rep. Steve King, R-4th-Iowa, as part of the H.R. 3219, “Make America Secure” appropriations package, by 71 votes—a record margin. The final vote was 249 “no” versus 178 “yes” votes for repeal.

The PLA ban and a second Davis-Bacon repeal amendment were withdrawn by Rep. Tom Rooney (R-17th-Fla.) in the early morning hours of July 31. SMACNA and coalition allies are making incremental progress in selling the importance of prevailing wage laws to members of Congress, especially as a key factor in promoting a trained, skilled workforce.

Two big wins on airport infrastructure funding as FAA legislation advances in Senate

The Senate Appropriations Transportation Sub-Committee unanimously voted out the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) bill that SMACNA has long and actively supported. 

Infrastructure advocates have been pushing the Senate Appropriations Committee to approve reasonable adjustments to passenger fee levels frozen in 2000. In addition, support has been expressed for significant increases in federal airport grants as part of the must-pass airport legislation, the “Fiscal Year 2018 Transportation-HUD Appropriations Act.”

In two major wins for national airport infrastructure, the bill would allow airports to raise their Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) on originating passengers up to $8.50, and it would increase Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding to $3.6 billion next year. The bill also calls for large airport hubs benefitting from the PFC increases to forego a portion of their AIP entitlement, which would then cycle back into the Small Airports Fund. 

SMACNA has endorsed and lobbied Congress on these bills both alone and as part of the national coalition Beyond the Runway. During the Congressional break until after Labor Day, coalition members and SMACNA contractors will be working to generate more support for the two key provisions in the U.S. House. Both Congress and the White House have been hearing more positive feedback on the airport infrastructure issue as well as the comprehensive infrastructure package yet to be unveiled. 

According to the most recent survey on infrastructure needs by Airports Council International–North America, airports of all sizes face $100 billion in infrastructure improvements over the next five years. The adjustment to the federally imposed cap on the PFC, while increasing AIP funding, will allow our airports to address aging infrastructure needs and create substantial job opportunities.

New bill would create green jobs, boost manufacturing

SMACNA endorses the bill, which Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) recently introduced in the Senate, “The Job Creation through Energy Efficient Manufacturing Act of 2017” (S. 1687). The bill would create jobs and save money for manufacturers—particularly small and mid-sized manufacturers —by putting people to work retrofitting manufacturing facilities to be more energy efficient. 

Investments in energy efficient upgrades to manufacturing facilities will also create work for contractors in the construction sector that retrofit the buildings. According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, every $1 million invested in energy efficiency supports 20 jobs in the construction industry. 

Energy efficiency investments are job multipliers. Because retrofitting work can’t be outsourced and more than 90 percent of the materials used are made in the United States, energy efficiency investments help to grow American jobs and the economy.  

Show your support by communicating with Congress on this key legislation and more on SMACNA’s Advocacy webpage