Lobbyist Updates from DC
On December 20th, the final tax reform bill, titled Tax Cuts and Job Acts (TCJA) was approved by the House and the Senate and signed by the President on December 22. Most provisions are effective starting in the 2018 tax year. Many of the changes with respect to individuals will extent them (generally expiring 12/31/25). Corporate changes are permanent.
For those interested, the House and Senate conference committee report (legislative text and Joint Committee on Taxation estimate) and the conference committee's Explanatory Statement are both available for review and download.
Below are the changes that should have the most impact on WCOE members. It is not a comprehensive summary. This summary is for your information only. WCOE members should continue to consult their own accountants and tax advisors.
- Maintains seven tax brackets, but at reduced rates, including a top marginal rate of 37 percent with the other rates being 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32% and 35%. Provisions sunset at end of 2025. Note: Income levels will now be indexed to "chained CPI" which will result in a smaller rise in rate brackets.
- Increases the standard deduction to $12,000 for single filers, $18,000 for heads of household, and $24,000 for joint filers, while eliminating the additional standard deduction and the personal exemption. Provisions sunset at the end of 2025.
- Retains the charitable contribution deduction
- Retains the mortgage interest deduction for acquisition, but limited for new purchases to $750,000 in mortgage debt, while eliminating the deduction for equity debt. Current homeowners to keep current limitation of $1 million. Available for second homes. Reverts back to $1M in January 2026. (Note: Could hurt the housing industry).
- Caps the state and local tax deduction at $10,000 (property plus choice of income or sales taxes, as under current law), except for taxes paid or accrued in carrying on a trade or business.
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Gilbane Building Company's Linda Graves Honored for Building Stronger Communities
Gilbane Building Company is pleased to announce that Linda Graves has been honored with the Corporate Diversity Development and Advocacy Award by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).
Linda was recognized with this great honor during the Governor's Conference on Minority Business Development held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The award recognizes Linda's leadership in championing and strengthening supplier diversity programs in various organizations and in the local Milwaukee community.
"Linda is an industry leader, and it has been a great honor to partner with her over the years," said Adam Jelen, Gilbane Building Company Senior Vice President. "Linda has a passion to build the community, both the workforce and local businesses, in a sustainable way. This recognition is a well-deserved honor. Congratulations to Linda!"
A passionate community and industry advocate, Linda Graves serves as vice president and director of diversity and community affairs with Gilbane Building Company. She serves in this National leadership role positioning Gilbane's diversity and inclusion efforts as a comprehensive strategy to achieve business and workforce commitments. Linda works tirelessly on behalf of small and diverse businesses with the ability to rapidly assess opportunities and influence a shared sense of purpose.
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Balfour Beatty Receives Recognition for Exemplary Work Furthering Diversity in the Industry
Balfour Beatty and Balfour Beatty's Senior Inclusion and Diversity Director in the US, Sophia Cavalli, has been recognized by four industry organizations for outstanding leadership and contributions that promote diversity and the advancement of women in the industry.
The National Association of Minority Contractors-Southern California Chapter (NAMC) awarded Balfour Beatty "Contractor of the Year Award" during the organization's 18th Annual Leadership Awards Dinner in Los Angeles. The honour recognised Balfour Beatty's efforts to advance minority-owned businesses through contract awards and customized training initiatives.
The Women-In-Non-Traditional-Employment-Roles (W.I.N.T.E.R.) presented Balfour Beatty with the "Company of the Year Award" during the organization's 15th Annual W.I.N.T.E.R. Awards Gala held in Los Angeles. The award recognised Balfour Beatty's efforts to expose women to careers in construction, pathways to industry careers and to close the skilled labour gap.
Sophia Cavalli, Balfour Beatty's Senior Inclusion and Diversity Director was presented with two awards. The Women Construction Owners and Executives USA awarded her with the "National Advocate of the Year" during the organisation's Women Build America Annual Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., recognising her commitment to increasing opportunities for women-owned businesses and the advancement of women in the industry. Additionally, The Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce presented Cavalli with a "Mujeres Del Año" or "Women of the Year" Diversity Award during its annual Awards Gala held in Long Beach, California. The award recognised Cavalli's efforts in inclusion, diversity and youth engagement inspiring the next generation.
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Two Construction Trends That Could Affect Your Business
Construction Business Owner reports that, 'While growth in the construction segment is a good sign, it comes with a new set of challenges that the industry needs to address. Managing costs and maintaining margins are increasingly more difficult to handle, especially with labor shortages, despite opportunities to grow revenue.'
'The Teletrac Navman 2017 Telematics Benchmark Survey: Global Construction Edition not only highlights these challenges, but also uncovers the ways in which the construction industry is beginning to solve for them.'
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Four Priority Steps That Will Help You Successfully Prepare for a Cybersecurity Attack
According to Engineering News-Record, there are two things that you can to do prepare yourself for a cybersecurity attack.
Priority #1: Know what you have to defend
'The first step in defending is knowing what you have. An accurate asset inventory is critical in helping design the appropriate detection, response and recovery processes to use.'
Priority #2: Know how to detect bad things
After completing the first step, '[Once] you know what you are defending and which assets may require some more attention, you have to design and implement an intrusion detection system. With the wide variety of cybersecurity threats, this isn't a one-box or one-vendor solution. Your ability to detect multiple threats against a diverse set of equipment and software depends on having multiple detection locations and technologies.'
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Trump's $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan Set for January Rollout
According to Construction DIVE, 'White House advisers are reportedly wrapping up a building program that would see a minimum of $200 billion in federal dollars put toward the nation's roads and bridges, with a goal of generating hundreds of billions more from local governments and private investors for U.S. road, rail, water and utility work.'
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NY to Require Employers to Offer Family Leave January 1
An article in Construction DIVE states: 'The New York Paid Family Leave Law (PFLL) will go into effect Jan. 1, making employees of private New York-based construction companies eligible for paid family leave. The law applies to all employees who work for private firms, even if the employee works from home or outside New York. Employees qualify after working for 26 consecutive weeks for 20 hours or more per week, or after 175 days of employment if they regularly work less than 20 hours per week.'
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