The Ohio Valley Construction Employers Council, Inc. is dedicated to the advancement of the construction industry and the protection of its members and the general public.
News
West Virginia Legislative Update
President Trump announced last week that he would travel to Morgantown for an "invite only" town hall meeting hosted by Fox TV's, Sean Hannity. The event, which  was scheduled for this Wednesday, October 4, was to focus on the economy and the administration's tax reform plan. Unfortunately, the horrendous and senseless mass murders in Las Vegas has caused President Trump to cancel his West Virginia trip so that he can travel to Las Vegas on Wednesday. We will let you know if the President reschedules his visit to the Mountain State.

In other WV news, Senate President Mitch Carmichael, in a lengthy media interview conducted last week, pledged that tax reform will again be a high legislative priority during the 2018 legislative session. Carmichael's tax reform emphasis will likely energize some lawmakers to consider decreasing individual and corporate tax rates. Unfortunately, any loss of revenue will likely be offset by a proposed increase in the state sales tax as well as the elimination of the direct sales tax use exemption. During last year's budget deliberations, we had to wage a comprehensive lobbying campaign to defeat attempts to eliminate the direct use exemption on construction services. 

The two large WV pipeline projects, the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast projects, are awaiting FERC approval. Both projects, which will begin in north central West Virginia, will carry natural gas to the southern states of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Both projects have had their EIS requirements reviewed and ready for final agency approval to begin construction.

The WV Legislature will conduct three days of Fall Interim Meetings beginning Sunday, October 15 through October 18. The meetings will be at the Capitol.

Lastly, and most importantly, the state road bond vote will be held throughout all 55 counties on Saturday, October 7. Governor Justice, highway officials and a host of business and political leaders have been crisscrossing the state urging voters to support the road bond issue. If successful, the bond program could lead to $2.5 -$3 billion in spending on highway construction and improvements. The OVCEC urges all of its members, families and friends to get out and vote to approve this much needed highway spending plan. Remember, this will not raise any new or additional taxes. The 2017 Legislature already approved $135 million in taxes: vehicle registration fees, additional sales tax on vehicle sales and a small increase in gasoline tax. All of the net proceeds from new taxes will be used to amortize the bond indebtedness.
Source: OVCEC Lobbyist Pat McCune
The Construction Labor Shortage Needs Major Institutional Fixes
Ask commercial developers in a major market to name their biggest challenges, and the rising cost of construction will be at or near the top of the list. But while the complaints have grown louder in recent years, the underlying problem has been decades in the making, and the current administration's policies only figure to make it worse. Read more....


Study: Demand for construction trades will continue to climb
Technological advances in construction have triggered fears among workers that robots or some other form of automation will replace them in their jobs. But conditions on a construction project are not the same as the ones that have enabled industries like manufacturing to benefit from automation. Specifically, the unique nature of construction projects will prevent the kind of assembly-line production that manufacturing uses to reduce labor costs. Read more....
Ohio Legislative Update
Newly mined Ohio Department of Taxation data, conducted by "Energy In Depth", shows that from 2012 to 2016 the aggregate Ohio sales and use tax grew by 45 percent in eight core Utica Shale producing counties (Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Guernsey, Harrison, Jefferson, Monroe and Noble). This increase outpaced the sales tax growth experienced in the remaining 80 counties by 15 percent. This revenue increase has been fueled by almost $50 billion of spending invested by the state's natural gas industry in developing the oil and gas resources found in eastern Ohio.

In other statehouse news, Sarah Morrison, the chief executive officer of the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, has been nominated to fill a federal judge vacancy in Columbus. In a demonstration of bi-party cooperation, Ms. Morrison's candidacy has been endorsed by both sitting U. S. Senators from Ohio, Portman and Brown.  She is expected to be approved by President Trump.

The Ohio Development Services Agency has announced that new funding under the agency's Training Voucher Program is now available to qualifying businesses. The ODSA reimburses employers up to 33% of eligible training costs, capped at $4,000 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Eligibility is targeted at high demand fields: advanced manufacturing; financial services; aerospace and aviation; IT; and, polymers. For application and eligibility information, please go to:  https://development.ohio.gov/bs/bs_wtvp.htm.

The Ohio General Assembly has embarked on a limited fall schedule of committee hearings and floor sessions. Most of the political interest and intrigue is being spent on the 2018 statewide election hopefuls. We should have a complete scorecard of candidates in the next few months.
Source: OVCEC Lobbyist Pat McCune
SPREAD THE WORD! -  #VOTE4ROADSWV
Early voting for the “Roads to Prosperity ” bond amendment started on Friday, September 22, and will end tomorrow on Wednesday, October 4. The special election will be held  Saturday, October 7 . This is the first constitutional referendum in which early voting is available. Supporters who cannot get to the polls on Saturday are encouraged to take advantage of early voting at their county courthouses.
Visit  www.fixourroadswv.org  for more information on the road bond. Please encourage West Virginians to vote  YES  on the Roads to Prosperity Amendment.
No New Tax. Better Roads. More Jobs
SAFETY & EDUCATION
OSHA Memorandum Outlines 30-Day Enforcement Plan for Silica Construction Standard
Enforcement of OSHA’s  respirable crystalline silica standard for construction  went into effect on Sept. 23. The agency announced in a  September 20 memorandum  a 30-day enforcement phase-in to help employers comply with the new standard. Citations may be considered for employers not making any efforts to comply. For more information on silica hazards and OSHA’s standard, visit the  Silica Final Rule webpage .
Top 10 OSHA Violations Announced at National Safety Congress
On Sept. 26, at the National Safety Council's annual Congress & Expo, OSHA Deputy Director of Enforcement Programs Patrick Kapust announced the preliminary list of 10 standards most frequently cited by the agency’s inspectors during Fiscal Year 2017.  Fall protection  was the most-cited standard for the seventh year in a row, followed by  Hazard Communication , and  Scaffolding . The only new addition to last year’s list was  Fall Protection – Training Requirements , which came in at ninth place. OSHA publicizes the  Top 10 list  to increase awareness of these standards so employers can take steps to find and fix the hazards to prevent injury or illness.
PLAN ROOM NEWS
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Ohio Valley Construction Employers Council

Ginny Favede Executive Director

Telephone 304-242-0520 Fax 304-242-7261 Website  www.ovcec.com
21 Armory Drive Wheeling West Virginia 26003