Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

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What We're Reading, Listening To, and Watching

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Housing - Two Takes on Why it is Expensive Los Angeles Times housing reporter Liam Dillon and CALmatters' data reporter Matt Levin chat about the latest developments in California housing policy and interview Dan Dunmoyer of CBIA and Cesar Diaz of State Building and Construction Trades Council. Diaz begins at 48 minutes. Listen
Analysts: Infrastructure, modularization, resiliency top industry drivers Approaching the halfway mark of the year, the commercial construction industry is strong, staving off any premature cooling before an impending economic downturn and integrating innovation in relatively slow but steady measures all the time. But what do experts anticipate for the rest of the year and going into next? Two presenters at last week's ENR FutureTech conference in San Francisco offered their takes on where the industry is heading - some that mirror the trends Construction Dive anticipated going into the year and some that represent minor shifts in the market. Story
States Sue Over Sprint-T-Mobile Merger: A group of 10 state attorneys general led by New York's Letitia James and California's Xavier Becerra is suing to block the $26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint." Joined by AGs from Colorado, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Virginia, and Wisconsin, the AGs argued in a written statement that the deal would kill jobs and harm consumers. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced in May that he planned to approve the deal, but DOJ antitrust officials "aren't satisfied with the T-Mobile-Sprint transaction as structured and have been negotiating with the companies on divesting assets." The merger would reduce the U.S. wireless market to three major players (the others are AT&T and Verizon). The state AGs' objections echo those of 37 House Democrats who sent a letter to federal regulators earlier this year arguing the deal will "destroy jobs and drive down wages." The Communication Workers of America estimates the consolidation will eliminate 30,000 jobs, and researchers at the Economic Policy Institute and the Roosevelt Institute, two left-leaning think tanks, estimate it will lower wireless workers' average weekly earnings by up to 7 percent in affected labor markets.
School Money: Los Angeles teachers union officials were banking on Measure EE's parcel tax allaying a fiscal shortfall that drove this year's strike, but EE failing badly last week raises the stakes for a statewide ballot initiative that would lift Prop 13 tax caps on commercial properties. United Teachers Los Angeles just kicked in another $50,000 for the measure and SEIU's long-term care local an additional $50,000. This comes after the California Federation of Teachers and SEIU California pouring on a combined $750,000 since March. Business money is flowing into the "no" side too, with real estate and railroad companies reporting a fresh round of contributions. And Governor Newsom weighed in recently noting that Measure EE going down increases the pressure on split role.
New Oregon Gross Receipts Tax Presents Special Challenges for Construction Projects Located in Oregon Oregon has enacted a new gross receipts tax (the "Oregon CAT"), primarily based on the Ohio commercial activity tax ("Ohio CAT"), but with significant differences. The Oregon CAT could prove especially burdensome for the construction industry, particularly for general contractors and design professionals, because a substantial portion of gross revenue received often is dedicated to the payment of subcontractors, suppliers and subconsultants (who each will again pay the Oregon CAT on their Oregon-source gross receipts). Further, the statute does not provide transition relief for contracts entered into before the Oregon CAT could be factored into bids and contract prices. Story