Legislative Issues - U.S.
25x'25 Enters Second Decade Focused on Renewable Energy Goals
As the 25x'25 Alliance enters its second decade, the organization is restructuring its leadership team to further strengthen plans to devote more effort into defining and articulating the multiple benefits of a 25x'25 future, the co-chairmen of the new executive leadership committee said today.
Read Smith, a Washington state grain farmer and former president of the National Association of Conservation Districts, and Bart Ruth, a Nebraska corn and soybean farmer who is a former president of the American Soybean Association, said in a joint statement that the reconstituted leadership team will help the alliance launch a "fresh vision" campaign that will embrace an "all of the above energy approach while emphasizing the tremendous economic and quality-of-life improvements that renewable energy development has delivered to our nation, particularly in rural areas."
3 Charts that explain why Washington has to avoid automatic tax increases
The Tax Foundation put together a set of charts illustrating the reality of the U.S. tax system. Here are three charts that should be understood when talking about the threat of automatic tax increases on businesses. To see the three charts, click here
Boehner: Sequester will stay until Obama offers smarter cuts
Speaker John A. Boehner came before the mics on Thursday, and he made one thing clear: The sequester is here to stay until the White House gets serious about spending cuts.
Bonus Depreciation and Section 179 Expensing Rules for 2013 updated
For the last two years about this time, Jack Selzer, NAEDA’s Tax Attorney has provided the basic tax depreciation/expense rules that can help sales people in making new and used equipment sales before year end. Because of some changes, it is timely to revisit these rules.
There are two provisions we need to look at --
Section 179 expense deduction for new and used equipment. The Section 179 deduction for 2013 is $500,000. There is a “phase out” $ for $ after the purchase of $2,000,000 of new and/or used equipment. This if a customer has $2,500,000 of purchases in 2013 there will be no Section 179 deduction. This phase out shows that this deduction is designed for small and mid-sized businesses.
Bonus depreciation for new equipment. Like last year, the extra additional bonus depreciation is 50% of the purchase price of new equipment. Example – if a customer buys new equipment in 2013 for $600,000 the customer can take an extra $300,000 bonus depreciation deduction in 2013.
Bonus Depreciation Letter Sent to Congress Leaders
NAEDA joined 80 other companies and associations on a letter to the House and Senate leadership asking for immediate action on two bipartisan companion bills: H.R. 4196, a bill introduced by Congressmen Tiberi, Larson, Paulsen, Neal, Marchant, and Pascrell and S. 2240, introduced by Senators Stabenow, Blunt, Brown (OH) and Roberts.
CBO Study of U.S. Energy Security Underscores Need to Diversify Fuel Supply
A Congressional Budget Office report released by Senate Energy Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) asserts that having less flexibility in the choice of fuels contributes to the volatility of prices for transportation fuels. "A substantial amount of oil is produced in countries that are vulnerable to disruptions resulting from geopolitical, military, or civil developments, and few countries other than Saudi Arabia have much spare production capacity in the near term to offset such disruptions," the CBO report states. "In contrast, the U.S. markets for natural gas, coal, nuclear power, and renewable energy either are less prone to long-term disruptions or have significant spare production and storage capacity."
Congressional tax video considerations
Congress is getting ready with conference committees to meet their deadline of December 13 for a budget “reconciliation” under the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2014. Below are eight (8) links to YouTube videos created by the staff at the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS), which is part of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
Disaster Assistance extension introduced in Senate
Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Tim Johnson (S-SD) introduced legislation last week that would extend for one year the 2008 Farm Bill disaster programs that expired at the end of Fiscal Year 2011. Those programs include: the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program, the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Livestock Forage Program (LFP), and the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP). House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Peterson (D-MN) said this week that an extension of SURE should be included in a conference agreement on the Farm Bill.
Drought turns up heat on Farm Bill
The drought gripping the country raises the bar on Congress to get a farm bill done and possibly reinstall some disaster programs that have expired, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow said Tuesday.
House leaders have said little about scheduling floor time for the farm bill since it was moved out of committee last week. (DTN photo illustration by Nick Scalise)The extensive drought conditions will require lawmakers in conference negotiations to revisit the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program, or SURE, that expired last September.
Environmental Groups Sue EPA over Mississippi River
A new lawsuit alleges that the Environmental Protection Agency violated the Administrative Procedure Act when it refused a 2008 petition that would have required states to develop water quality standards for the Mississippi River Basin and the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Issues Guidance on Criminal-Background Checks
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a new guidance document that impacts the ability of employers to continue to use criminal-background checks to make informed hiring decisions. The new guidance replaces one that had been in effect for twenty-five years and has served a wide variety of professions and occupations as a de facto national regulation.
GPS Industry poised to launch new association
The GPS industry is forming a new trade association called the GPS Innovation Alliance that will work to educate policy makers and the public about the GPS system and protect the interests of the hundreds of organizations and users that rely upon the constellation, according to sources familiar with the new group.
Groups object to equipment pooling, LKE repeal in Senate Finance Tax Reform Plan
Eighteen state and national trade associations joined in a Feb. 25 letter to leaders of the Senate Finance Committee objecting to the committee’s proposal to create a new asset pooling system to depreciate business property and repeal like-kind exchange.
The letter to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who recently took over the committee’s chairmanship, and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) expressed support for tax reform that improves the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) for both corporations and pass-through entities and creates a tax environment conducive to economic growth and investment. However, the letter said the pool scheme, proposed in November 2013 (before Wyden took over the Finance Committee) would create unrealistically lengthy asset recovery periods for business assets that will negatively impact business cash flow and reduce economic growth and job creation.
House Bill reforms regulatory process
NAEDA joined 141 other organizations in a July 24th letter supporting passage of a package of bills now named H.R. 4078, the “Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Jobs Creation Act.” This bill would streamline the federal permitting process, impose transparency on the abused sue and settle process used by agencies and environmental groups to circumvent the rulemaking process, and to prohibit agencies from proposing or finalizing major midnight regulations.
The common sense reforms in this packaged bill would make the nation’s regulatory process more transparent, efficient, and workable for businesses that create jobs and contribute to economic growth. Sound regulatory policy is not possible unless the process is open and public participation is
welcomed by agencies. At the center of these regulatory reforms is an effort to promote good government practices that encourage efficiency, sound analysis, and public involvement.
House unveils Farm Bill - Food-Stamp savings and keeps a target price program
The House Agriculture Committee released draft language detailing $35 billion in savings over 10 years in its bill, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act, or "FARRM," which the committee will markup July 11. The bill comes after the Senate passed its version of the bill June 21, which is dubbed the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act.
Many of the provisions throughout the House bill are comparable to those in the Senate legislation, which partly stems from work the two agriculture committees did last fall in the failed supercommittee talks.
Inland Waterways Capital Development Plan Introduced
Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) has introduced a bill (H.R. 4342) in the House aimed at modernizing the infrastructure on the inland waterways system. Known as “WAVE 4: Waterways are Vital for the Economy, Energy, Efficiency, and Environment Act of 2012. This legislation will transform the Inland Waterways Capital Development Plan into law according to the Waterways Council Inc. (WCI).
IRS issues 2014 standard mileage rates
The Internal Revenue Service set the 2014 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.
LIFO Coalition sends letter to Congress
A letter has been sent from the Coalition to the Hill in response to the tax reform drafts released last fall by Finance Chairman Max Baucus and the ongoing push for reform by the Ways and Means Committee. The letter was sent to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of both tax-writing committees with copies to all Members of the House and Senate.
Mexico formally entered the TPP
On October 8, 2012, Mexico formally joined the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) as a full negotiating member once the other countries finished their internal procedures to accept new members. This important achievement in Mexico’s trade policy has been the result of an intense effort, which began in November 2011, when Mexico expressed interest in being part of this negotiation.
NAEDA adds voice on bonus depreciation letter
A coalition letter was sent to members of congress on Thursday, February 2 asking them to include bonus depreciation as they consider House Bill 3630. “NAEDA, in close cooperation with several other organizations, continues efforts to secure authorization of bonus depreciation for 2012. We believe this is in the best interest of equipment dealers across the U.S.,” said Paul Kindinger, President & CEO.
NAEDA and LIFO Coalition Respond to OMB on LIFO
On January 27th, a bi-partisan group of 22 Members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to President Obama urging that LIFO repeal not be included in the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget. On April 2nd, Jeffrey Zeints, Acting Director, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) responded to the Congressional letter on behalf of the Obama Administration supporting repeal of LIFO.
NAEDA and the LIFO Coalition, a coalition of more than 120 business organizations and trade associations, was provided a copy of both the letter to the President and the response on behalf of the President.
NAEDA comments on Senate tax reform plan targets
NAEDA submitted comments to the Senate Finance Committee on December 16th that listed a set of requested actions that the committee should consider as part of their Cost Recovery and Accounting Discussion Draft Comments. NAEDA's requested actions were:
• 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 industry’s needs.
• Do not repeal Last-in, First-out (LIFO) accounting method.
• Delete IRC Section 263A of the IRS Code.
NAEDA files comments with EPA on Renewable Fuel Standard
NAEDA has submitted comments to EPA concerning their proposal to reduce the 2014 biofuel blending requirement under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In the comments, it was noted that reducing the required levels of biofuels will have an impact on farmers, their income and equipment dealers and their employees.
The comments noted that “Reducing the required levels of biofuels will also have an effect on job creation, reduce our nation’s energy security and cut future investments in the development of next generation biofuels. The current standards, which the industry has met and planned for, have helped reduce dependence on foreign sources of oil and provided needed reductions in greenhouse gases by millions of metric tons.”
NAEDA joins 60 plus organizations opposing the DISCLOSE Act
In a letter date July 12th, the letter expressed strong opposition to the latest House and Senate version of the so-called DISCLOSE 2012 Act, S. 3369 and H.R. 4010, which both the Senate and House may consider in the coming days.
This legislation, like its predecessors in the 111th and 112th Congresses, is designed to chill the political speech of corporations, business interests, and others, while giving labor unions special protections. The bills do not propose genuine reform—the disclosure requirements are transparently political and ultimately
NAEDA participates in a new national ROPS initiative
On June 19th, NAEDA participated in the National Rollover Protection Structure (ROPS) Initiative Steering Committee meeting when it held its first meeting in Washington, DC. Attendees of the meeting included members from the Northeast Center for Agricultural and Occupational Health (NEC) within the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH), the University of Tennessee, the University of Kentucky, the American Farm Bureau Federation, ROPS manufacturing companies, social marketing groups, and insurance companies. Equipment manufacturers were representd by AEM while NAEDA represented equipment dealers.
The consortium discussed and debated strategies proposed to scale up ongoing efforts towards increasing ROPS adoption among tractor owners in the United States. Overall, the consensus of the Steering Committee was unified, in its dedication to work towards reducing the heavy toll tractor rollovers have afflicted on the American population. It was brought out at the meeting that 20% of today's farm accidents are caused by rollovers and that comes with an average cost of $960,000 for each accident.
NAEDA submits dual use comments to IRS
NAEDA has filed comments with the IRS concerning their notice on dual use property. NADEA followed others in the industry who also filed with the IRS including AED and Caterpillar.
What the IRS will do next is anybody’s guess. The IRS could initiate an Industry Issue Resolution process to negotiate a safe harbor with the industry, develop guidance through some other route, or drop the issue all together. However, given the fact that the IRS itself proposed to undertake this exercise, we think the latter option is the least likely.
Copies of NAEDA's and AED's filings can be found here.
NAEDA Supported Provision Protecting Federal Contracting from Politics Passes Committee
A bill introduced by U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) to prohibit the collection of political contribution information from bidders for government contracts was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee with bipartisan support. This bill, "Keeping Politics out of Federal Contracting," was co-sponsored by 22 Senators.
NAEDA supports Keystone XL pipeline construction
NAEDA joined with 106 organizations sending a letter to President Obama supporting the Keystone XL pipeline construction.
Congress is currently considering legislation to extend Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia. Approval of PNTR with Russia will greatly boost U.S. exports, create tens of thousands of American jobs, and is one of the U.S. Chamber's top trade priority before Congress this year. As part of the Chamber's efforts, NAEDA has signed on to a Chamber coalition letter stressing how important Russia's graduation from Jackson-Vanik is to the American business community. As the 11th largest economy in the world, Russia presents a huge opportunity to increase U.S. agricultural and other exports and create American jobs.
Additional signatories are still being collected for the letter. The final letter will be available on NAEDA's Web site when it is sent to Congress later in June.
Senate Finance Committee pass PNTR for Russia
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today applauded the Committee’s unanimous approval of his bill establishing permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia and removing Russia from the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment. Chairman Baucus’s bill will enable U.S. businesses to create jobs here at home by capitalizing on Russia’s growing market. The legislation supports and creates thousands of U.S. jobs across every sector of the American economy, including manufacturing, agriculture and services, by helping double U.S. exports to Russia within five years.