The U.S. Senate Nov. 10 unanimously approved legislation to repeal a federal mandate that government agencies withhold part of their payments to contractors, reported theEngineering News-Record. The House approved a version of the bill Oct. 27.
However, the Senate added an amendment to provide tax credits to companies that hire veterans, so the bill must go back to the House for another vote. The bill is expected to pass the House, and PresidentBarack Obamaindicated he will sign the amended bill. Read the full storyhere.
The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors-National Association and the Mechanical Contractors Association of America have been focused on grassroots efforts with members and legislators to repeal the withholding bill.
In addition to the withholding repeal, the legislation provides a $5,600 tax credit for each veteran a company hires who has been unemployed for at least six months, theLos Angeles Timesreports. Companies also would be offered a $9,600 tax credit for hiring out-of-work veterans with service-related disabilities. Read the full storyhere.
Unemployment among the youngest veterans, age 18-24, was 30 percent in October 2011, according to aBusinessweek.comreport, up from 18.4 percent a year ago. The overall U.S. unemployment rate is at 9 percent. Read more about this storyhere.
“An overwhelming bipartisan majority of senators understand that repealing the 3 percent tax withholding mandate is essential to boosting economic growth,” saidStephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America. “With construction activity down by $400 billion and the industry’s unemployment rate at 13.7 percent, the last thing construction employers need is to be forced into giving interest-free loans to the federal government. … As our members made clear in a recently released survey, many firms will be better able to offer positions to the veterans this legislation also supports without the enormous cost of this measure looming.”
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