January 8, 2013 Legislative Update:
- How Does Recent Federal Tax Deal Impact You?
- 2013 Local 49 Legislative Agenda
- 2013 Local 49 Lobby Day Set
- Email Updates More Frequent Now
For the last few months we have all been hearing a lot about the fiscal cliff. This was a set of spending cuts and tax increases that were going to automatically go into place on January 1st if the President and Congress could not come to an agreement to avoid them. If no deal had been struck taxes on middle class people like us would have gone up thousands of dollars per family per year. Thankfully that did not happen, they came to an agreement that avoided those crushing tax increases. The agreement was not perfect, and it is not a complete deal as it only related to some of the tax issues that we face and none of the spending reductions that also need to happen. A long term structural deal is still being discussed and will still need to be worked out if we are to get our economy really moving again. This partial agreement on taxes was a positive step forward, and here is what it means for you:
- Wind Production Tax Credit that was set to expire was extended another year - this tax credit makes large wind projects possible, and we have lots of members that work on those projects – this was big win for Local 49 jobs, we worked hard on this issue.
- Alternative Minimum Tax Fix – this is a tax that was designed to hit high income people but because they never adjusted it was starting to hit middle income people – they permanently fixed this so that middle class people will not be impacted in the future
- Made Permanent Tax Cuts for 98% of Americans – means your taxes WILL NOT go up anytime soon
- Raised Taxes on individuals that make more than $400,000 and families that earn more than $450,000 – this raises money to deal with deficit and for critical needs like infrastructure
- Extended Unemployment Insurance – long term unemployment insurance for chronically underemployed construction workers was set to expire, they extended it for another year
I want to give a special thanks to MN Senator Al Franken. He was instrumental in making sure the Wind Production Tax Credit was extended – we talked with him personally about this issue and he did a great job fighting to make sure those jobs were saved.
Legislative Sessions in both North Dakota and Minnesota begin today, January 8th.
We will be exploring the possibility of introducing a bill to create a state prevailing wage law. We had some discussions last session, have continued to have discussions with contractors that are interested in this, and other trades as well. We believe it will be critical for North Dakota to have wage standards in place for local projects if they hope to protect themselves from irresponsible, unsafe, low wage contractors coming into their state to take all the work. North Dakota will need to invest millions of taxpayer dollars to build their infrastructure to manage future growth. It would be criminal if their own workers that are paying for this infrastructure didn’t have an opportunity to work on it because their leaders did not put in place wage standards. We think the time for this discussion in North Dakota is now.
Below is a link to an in depth look at our legislative agenda. We will, like always be laser focused on job creation. New funding for transportation infrastructure, the building of new industries like copper-nickel mining and industrial sand mining that bring with them the potential of thousands of jobs, and the restoration of Local Government Aid so that our public sector members can continue to plow roads and maintain local infrastructure. We will be looking to work with both parties and the Governor to move a jobs agenda.
There's a more detailed version of Local 49's Legislative Agenda for MN available right here on the website.
Minnesota residents mark your calendars for Thursday, March 14th, this will be Local 49 Lobby Day at the State Capitol in St. Paul. Once again this year we will be joining forces with some of our fellow trades, we will have joint appointments, and also an afternoon rally for jobs in the Capitol Rotunda.
This is your opportunity to talk to your legislators about what you do and how important it is to your family that they are creating jobs for construction workers.
We are meeting now to iron out the details for the day and when that is complete I will get something on the website and send out another email.
Sessions in North Dakota and Minnesota have begun, so you will be hearing from me on a more regular basis, most likely once every week or two. But things come up fast so be checking your emails regularly, this will be the way I communicate the need to come to the Capitol for a hearing or call your legislators.
You can also follow me on Twitter – I will be using that more this year to get information out. Be warned though, this is my personal twitter account so you will have to endure smart ass comments about sports and other things if you follow me.
Follow me on twitter: @JGeorge49
Legislative and Political Director