Skilled Construction Trades and Respected Contractors
Building Wisconsin Together ®
Welcome to Construction Business Group's Industry Updates.  This monthly e-newsletter will help us communicate the important initiatives that we have underway and relevant updates on issues that impact Wisconsin's construction industry.  
Message from Executive Director  Robb Kahl
CBG has expanded many times over the years since inception in 1992 with its' original members the Operating Engineers and Wisconsin Transportation Employers Council.  
  • AGC of Wisconsin joined CBG in 1993
  • Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association joined in 2004
  • Wisconsin Underground Contractors Association joined in 2005
  • North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters started participating in 2016 and joined in 2017
  • AGC of Greater Milwaukee and ACEA formally joined in June 2017. 
  • International Union of Painters and Allied Trades started participating in June 2018
I am pleased to announce that CBG has once again grown. On June 1, 2020, the Laborers' International Union of North America, Wisconsin Laborers' District Council and the Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust joined CBG. 

CBG now protects the interests of over 30,000 tradesmen and tradeswomen and 4,000 contractors. On beh alf of myself and all CBG staff, we want to extend a warm welcome to the Laborers and LECET. We look forward to working with you to protect Wisconsin's construction industry.
Building Wisconsin Together ®

Another DCA student joins Local 139

Recent high school graduate Ethan Rebenzer is testimony to the powerful advantage of the pre-apprenticeship courses offered through online Destinations Career Academy.  Ethan, the son of a Local 139 member, received As on all of his pre-apprenticeship courses and accepted a position with McCabe Construction in May. 

If you know a high school student that is interested in becoming an Operating Engineer and taking the pre-apprenticeship courses this fall, e-mail Laura Cataldo or call her at 608-616-2835 for additional details.  We are also interested in talking with other trades about expanding into this successful online platform for high school students.   
Industry News and Updates
From the News Stand
WisDOT talks COVID-19, revenue impacts
In a recent WisconsinEye interview, Secretary Thompson and reporter Steve Walters discussed the effects of COVID-19 on Wisconsin transportation. When it comes to the next fiscal year, Thompson said the worst-case scenario would be a $400 to $600 million transportation revenue shortfall. However, traffic levels would have to remain depressed for an extended period of time. According to Thompson, the department is already seeing an uptick in travel.
Thompson stated every option should be on the table when it comes to addressing any COVID-related revenue shortfall. WisDOT will have a better idea about the scope of the revenue issue later this summer.
For fiscal year 2020, WisDOT found about $100 million in savings, more than enough to offset a projected $80 million decline in revenue - $30 million from the gas tax and $50 million from title/vehicle registration fees.
TDA was asked by Steve Walters to provide a statement on the possible revenue shortfall next year and our position on potential solutions. This request is for an upcoming article covering Walters' interview with Secretary Thompson. Please click here for the statement.

Revenue impacts of state lockdown order
A report released this week said taxable sales in Wisconsin declined 10.5% in March and April compared to the same months in 2019, with one of the biggest declines occurring in an industryimpacting transportation revenue.  Many sectors of the state's economy began to shut down in March as COVID-19 spread, with a state of emergency declared on March 12 and the Governor issuing a "Safer at Home" order on March 25.

The report by Forward Analytics breaks down the impacts by county and industry.  As shown in the table to the right, revenue collections at dealers of motor vehicles and parts were down 27%.  This is significant since the largest source of new revenue in the current state transportation budget is based on a $95 increase (+137%) in vehicle titling fees.  The revenue declines do not reflect sales between private parties, which also generate fees to transfer titles, but it is likely the Safer at Home order depressed those sales.
Nonstore retailers, who realized a 66% increase in revenue collections during the two months, reflects e-commerce -- which in turn generates more delivery truck traffic on roads and highways.
House Dems Mark Up T & I Bill; Administration
& House GOP to Introduce Alternative Proposals
The U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee this week voted to advance a 5-year surface transportation reauthorization bill in a contentious two-day session during which Republicans complained about being shut out of the process and vowed to introduce their own reauthorization proposals.
The $494 billion Invest in America ("Investing in a New Vision for the Environment & Surface Transportation in America") Act provides a 42% increase in highway funding but also contains controversial provisions related to greenhouse gas emissions, increased transit funding, restrictions on new highway capacity and changes to the recently enacted hours of service regulations for truck drivers.
At its mark-up on Wednesday and Thursday -- the first via video conference that featured many technical glitches -- the Democratic-controlled committee waded through more than 250 amendments to the bill, which Republicans say was written without their input.  They call the proposal the "My Way or the Highway" bill and plan to introduce their own 5-year reauthorization planStatement by Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-Mo.).
The Trump administration is also reportedly working on its own infrastructure proposal.  Construction stocks got a boost on Tuesday amid reports that the administration is preparing a nearly $1 trillion infrastructure proposal as part of the government's efforts to reboot the economy.  It is currently unknown when the plan will be unveiled.
The full House of Representatives plans to vote on the INVEST in America Act by early July.  Attention will then focus on the Senate, where its transportation committee unanimously approved a 5-year, $287 billion bill last summer.  In both houses, committees with jurisdiction over funding have not introduced legislation on how to pay for the reauthorization bills.
The current FAST Act expires on Sept. 30.
Jim Peterson receives ARTBA honor
Jim Peterson will be inducted into the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Foundation's 2020 Transportation Development Hall of Fame. Peterson's influence on Wisconsin transportation goes way beyond his contributions to the highway contracting industry. He was one of the founding members of TDA in the early 1970s and continues to be active.
Peterson is the vice president of Wisconsin-based James Peterson Sons, Inc. and has been a national, state, and local transportation advocate for more than 50 years.
Peterson's accomplishments include playing a significant role in Wisconsin enacting indexing of the state's motor fuel tax and championing "Corridor 2020" highway expansion. On the federal level, he worked to ensure Wisconsin got an equitable return on the gas tax dollars it paid into the federal Highway Trust Fund.  
DWD issues guidance on attributing UI benefits to employers during COVID-19 crisis
2019 Wisconsin Act 185 changed the procedure used by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) for attributing Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits to employers during the COVID-19 crisis.
For benefit weeks occurring after March 12, 2020 and before December 31, 2020, unemployment claims will generally not be attributed to an employer's unemployment account if DWD determines that these claims are related to the state public health emergency. Instead of attributing these benefits to specific employers and adjusting employers' unemployment tax rates based on claims history, these benefits will be attributed to the state's UI reserve fund. The result of this change is that private employers will not see an increase in their unemployment tax rates because of increased unemployment claims that DWD determines are related to the state public health emergency. 
On Wednesday, the DWD released the following guidance in the form of a FAQ on this new statutory provision.
If an employee receives unemployment benefits as a result of a coronavirus-related business shutdown, will the contribution employer's unemployment taxes increase?
If the initial claim for unemployment benefits is related to the public health emergency that the Governor declared in Executive Order #72, the benefits for that claim will be recharged to the fund's balancing account for contribution employers if the benefits are paid for the period of March 15, 2020 through December 26, 2020. Although employers may initially see charges on Reserve Fund Balance statements, the charges will eventually be reversed and not affect tax rates.
We are still awaiting guidance from the DWD regarding how it will determine if a claim is related to the state public health emergency. 
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