Here's what we told Congress

Author: Amy Volk | Posted: 1/7/2014
NAEDA has lobbied hard for its positions on tax reform.

WOW! Congress adjourned in December with a two-year budget deal. Who would have thought that was possible, given the fact that they are even more unpopular than the president who is going to sign this deal. Just remember Congress will be back in Washington in January to discuss a host of unfinished business after their return and the elections next fall.

One item that caught our attention, prior to the adjournment, was the Senate Finance Committee’s proposals to overhaul America’s tax code. Those proposals, many of which are not friendly to dealers, caused NAEDA to respond before adjournment and submit “requested actions” to the committee for their consideration. The requested actions are summarized below. A complete copy of NAEDA’s comments to the Senate Finance Committee is available by contacting me for a copy at

Tax Code Reform

▶ Make permanent the bonus depreciation and Section 179 provisions enacted under The Small Business and Work Opportunity Tax Act of 2007, the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.

▶ Change the farm and ranch equipment assigned class life to five years for depreciation purposes. This will match the same assigned class life of construction equipment.

▶ Modify the current depreciation schedules for buildings and their contents to accurately reflect actual lifetime usage rates and specialty uses to match the industry’s needs.

▶ Do not repeal Last-in, First-out (LIFO) accounting method.

▶ Delete IRC Section 263A of the IRS Code.

                NAEDA has been consistent in asking for these tax measure changes, or no changes in some cases, over the last few years. We fully believe that Congress may try and tackle tax reform once they return from the holiday recess, but not certain as to that outcome or the timing of such actions.

                That will make the 2014 fly-in scheduled for April 2-3 so important. It will be that one-on-one dealer contact with your representatives and senators that will play an important role in any tax reform programs, particularly the ones mentioned above. So, please get the dates on your calendar and plan to attend this, our 11th Annual Fly-in, in Washington, D.C.

                Two other items remain on our congressional agenda for the new session that we hope Congress will tackle after their holiday recess. One is the farm bill and the other one is the Water Resource Development Act of 2013.

Farm Bill

                On the farm bill, bills have been passed in both the House and Senate that are now in conference committee for reconciliation. They appeared to be close to an agreement prior to adjournment, so we hope the final differences will be ironed out and a farm bill agreed to shortly after Congress returns in January.

                In a joint congressional letter sent by AEM, AED and NAEDA this fall, we have said:

                “Too often policy makers fail to fully appreciate the impact farm programs have beyond the farm gate. America is the world’s leader in agricultural equipment manufacturing and is responsible for the livelihoods of many Americans who have no connection to production agriculture. According to an economic analysis conducted by Global Insights, 250,000 jobs in all 50 states are directly and indirectly supported by the agricultural equipment industry. The security of these jobs is largely dependent on the health of the U.S. agricultural sector, and completion of the 2013 farm bill will help ensure the long-term vibrancy of the agricultural economy and demand for agricultural equipment. Continued delays or more extensions are simply not acceptable.”

Water Resources

                The Water Resource Development Act of 2013 is also important to us and to agriculture. This bill makes a $12 billion investment in the nation’s ports and inland waterways infrastructures (locks and dams). Passage of this bill would enable activities at ports and waterways that contribute more than $649 billion annually to the U.S. GDP and sustain more than 13 million jobs.

                Those pieces of legislation, H.R. 3080 and S. 601, have been passed and are now waiting on conference committees to resolve the differences between the two bills. One thing we also like about these bills is the fact that they try to streamline coordination among 18 different federal agencies, congressional jurisdictional committees, and they prioritize projects and cut red tape on the projects. All of which everyone agrees needs to be done.

                As you get a chance to see and visit with your representatives and senators, don’t forget to mention these items to them. They need to hear from their constituents in order for them to justify their votes on these issues, as well as others.

MIKE WILLIAMS is vice president for government relations with the North American Equipment Dealers Association (NAEDA).

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