On Feb.14, Congressmen Donald Norcross (D-1st-N.J.) and Phil Roe, M.D. (R-1st-Tenn.) introduced H.R. 4997, the Give Retirement Options to Workers (GROW) Act, a bipartisan effort that is designed to modernize and strengthen the multiemployer pension system for the future.
SMACNA enthusiastically supported the introduction of the bipartisan plan and was credited in an introductory news release Rep. Norcross issued on Feb. 14. The news release noted SMACNA’s participation at the January bipartisan roundtable discussion that Reps. Norcross and Roe hosted to unveil their plan that would give retirement options to workers.
“Cadillac tax” on employer health-care plans postponed
Rep. Mike Kelly Jr. (R-3rd-Pa.) recently led the movement in Congress to delay a planned excise tax on premium employer-sponsored health-care plans in the current Continuing Appropriations Act.
SMACNA, as part of the Construction Employers of America (CEA), strongly supports postponing this law to 2022 and allowing more time for Congress to reconsider the tax.
SMACNA believes the tax discourages firms from offering high-quality health-care plans.
This excessive tax penalizes employers who invest in their employees and who are doing the right thing to support their employees and their families by providing vital health-care benefits.
It is SMACNA’s position that taxing these benefits is short-sighted and will cause hard-working, blue-collar workers to lose high-quality employer-provided health benefits. The so-called “Cadillac Tax” grants a disproportionate market advantage to employers who provide no health care or substandard health coverage to their employees.
The CEA is a joint initiative of seven construction employer associations working jointly to strengthen the construction industry and coordinate action on labor, workforce, and construction issues.
SMACNA supports public-private partnerships that increase efficiency
SMACNA also endorses “The Energy Savings Through Public-Private Partnerships Act” (H.R. 723) sponsored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-16th-Ill.).
The bill would expand both energy efficiency and jobs if Congress moves to expand the Use of Energy and Utility Saving Performance Contracts (ESPCs/USPCs) inside and outside of the government.
SMACNA has long supported performance contracting at the state and federal levels and urges Congress to enact support for this type of contracting into law. SMACNA’s decades of experience on the frontlines of performing energy efficient construction reinforces our enthusiasm for performance contracts as the financial leverage necessary to boost the number and variety of these contracts.
Current law requires federal facility energy managers to evaluate and identify energy and water efficiency measures for federal facilities, however, agencies are not required to implement these measures. H.R. 723 would require agencies to implement these energy-saving measures, if they are cost-effective.
Under the performance contract financing system, private sector service companies finance and install new energy efficient equipment at minimal or no upfront cost to the federal government. Federal agencies then repay this investment over time with funds saved on utility costs.
SMACNA members can show their support for this bill and additional legislation by contacting their legislators on SMACNA’s Take Action webpage.