Volume 44, Issue 2 - February 2009

Legislation & Legal

Finishing Contractors Call for Economic Stimulus to Support Construction

The Finishing Contractors Association (FCA) has joined 20 other trade associations, including the American Institute of Architects, the American Subcontractors Association and the Associated General Contractors of America, in calling on lawmakers to use part of the proposed stimulus package to fund construction and infrastructure projects. In a separate request, the groups also have requested tax incentives, such as a repeal of the 3-percent tax withholding on many government projects. 

In two letters to the Obama administration and the 111th Congress, the FCA called on lawmakers to include construction in the infrastructure portion of the package. The second letter calls for tax incentives.

In requesting that construction projects be included in the infrastructure plans, one letter points out that “in a strong economy, the construction industry employs more than 7 million people and represents more than $1 trillion annually in economic activity, including $500 billion in materials and supplies and $36 billion in new equipment. With additional investment, the industry will create jobs, contribute to economic recovery and build a world-class infrastructure to improve the nation’s overall quality of life, improve energy efficiency, provide long-term economic stability and maintain U.S. competitiveness. We ask that you not overlook building construction, alterations and repairs in the definition of ‘infrastructure.’”

“Our association represents [many finishing contractor groups including] union glaziers. Our members, and certainly our glaziers, understand the power of building projects to stimulate the economy, create jobs and sustain and build communities,” says Stuart Binstock, FCA chief executive officer. “Our members would like to see the stimulus package cover ‘infrastructure’ in its broadest sense. This means the building of schools, government buildings, public projects—all of which benefit the community and the economy.”

“We expect the stimulus package to include many infrastructure renovation projects,” adds Terry Webb of Eureka Metal & Glass Services in Philadelphia and a member of the board of directors of the FCA. “Typically this type of work has little direct impact on glazing subcontractors. However, as a result of these projects, our economy ‘perks up’ and private development becomes required again, which does involve our glazing subcontractors.”

FCA’s call has also gained the support of its labor partner, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. General president James Williams signed the letters, becoming one of the first union leaders to join in the call. 

FCA chairperson Ed Smith says having the support of the entire construction community is critical to alleviating some of the economic stress in the country, and he is pleased to bring the support of the IUPAT.

“We also support the investment in infrastructure, which we believe needs to be a national priority for the safety and well-being of all Americans,” Smith says. “We encourage lawmakers to look for projects that provide long-term community benefits, can be started quickly and keep good jobs in the community.”

Illinois Glazing Bill Dies

A bill that would have required that glaziers in Illinois be licensed, and which had been circulating in that state’s General Assembly since January 2007, died January 13. 

Illinois House Bill 359 2007-2008 was introduced by Representative Linda Chapa LaVia and would have established the Painting, Drywall Finishing and Glazing Contractor Licensing Act, and provide for the enforcement of the act by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and the Painting, Drywall Finishing and Glazing Contractor Licensing Board. In addition, the act would have amended the Regulatory Sunset Act to set a repeal date for the Painting, Drywall Finishing, and Glazing Contractor Licensing Act of January 1, 2018. The related Senate Bill 155 met the same fate. 

At press time, neither Linda Chapa LaVia nor her aides were available for comment as to whether this bill would be revisited in the future.

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