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

One of the great things about our industry is that hard work and perseverance can result in business ownership. Many individuals promote up through the industry without formal business management training, resulting in an inability to look past the project-level to understand how decisions can impact the overall health of an organization. This lack of enterprise-level thinking is the reason that many contractors go out of business.  We want to prevent our contractors from facing that reality.

Construction Business Group is committed to helping contractors be successful in the Wisconsin market. This fall, CBG will offer a Critical Skills Series, designed to prepare new and future business owners for success in the commercial construction industry. The objective of the series is to improve the transition to ownership and increase the profitability of the contractor. Attendees will gain a better understanding of the role as business owner, improve their business acumen, and be better equipped to lead a profitable organization.

Our plan is to present a balanced blend of topics that will prepare contractors to evaluate business decisions utilizing a variety of perspectives including a strategic view, financial view, operational effectiveness, organizational development, and staff development. As we are finalizing the proposed content for the 2017-2018 series, please contact me with suggestions on topics that would be valuable for your organization.

Industry News and Updates
Labor Updates
California Labor Commissioner Citation of General Contractor for Subcontractor's Wage Theft Affirmed

LOS ANGELES, June 29, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su issued citations of $249,879 against Irvine-based general contractor Deacon Corporation, along with its subcontractor, Lafayette-based Champion Constructions, Inc.

This is the first time that the Labor Commissioner has held a general contractor responsible for wage theft by its subcontractor by issuing citations under AB 1897 (section 2810.3 of the Labor Code), signed by Governor Brown in 2014, which took effect on January 1, 2015.

Legislative Alerts
New Offer from Gov. Walker Could Pave Way Toward Transportation Budget Deal
A new offer from Gov. Scott Walker could pave the way toward breaking a weeks-long impasse in state budget negotiations.

Assembly Republican leaders delivered a letter to Walker on Thursday outlining their support for his proposal to put more money into roads in exchange for dropping his plan to cut income taxes by about $200 million.
"We're appreciative Gov. Walker, through his leadership, was able to come up with a proposal that works, and is conservative, and everybody should be able to be on board with," said Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, after the letter was released. "We'll just have to wait and see where the Senate is."

Report: Republicans Did Not Consider Social Costs of Prevailing Wage Law Repeal
Republican lawmakers have set their sights on repealing the state's prevailing wage law for public projects as a way to save taxpayer money on infrastructure costs, but opponents say it is an attack on the middle-class, blue-collar worker.

The bill would end all prevailing wage laws for state-funded construction projects, and Senate sponsor Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) claims it will save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Yet the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau recently reported "existing research on the impact of prevailing wage laws on construction costs is mixed and inconclusive."


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Minnesota Workforce Hiring Goals Adjusted for Publicly Funded Construction Projects

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) has announced new adjusted statewide workforce employment participation goals that significantly raise participation rates for women and minorities on publicly funded construction projects. The announcement is available here. The new goals apply to all construction contracts over $100,000 entered into by the Metropolitan Sports Facility Authority, the Metropolitan Council, the Metropolitan Airports Commission, the Metropolitan Mosquito Control Commission, and the State of Minnesota on or after July 17, 2017.  


Illinois Legislature Passes Groundbreaking Anti-Wage Theft Bill, Measure Will Help Economy, Taxpayers, Workers and Businesses
SPRINGFIELD, Ill., June 7, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Illinois legislature has passed groundbreaking legislation (SB1720) to address wage theft in Illinois. Wage theft is estimated to cost American workers over $50 billion per year and news reports have shown Illinois is a very difficult and complex state for workers seeking to recoup stolen wages.  The legislation prohibits businesses who violate state law on the payment of wages from receiving taxpayer-funded state contracts for at least five years.  SB1720 also increases the penalty for disobeying a court order to pay back wages the court finds to have been stolen from an employee.

"In this time of fiscal crisis, we need to make sure that taxpayer-funded state contracts are only going to companies which treat their employees fairly.  The vast majority of Illinois businesses, which play by the rules and do right by their employees, deserve a level playing field.  Taxpayers deserve more confidence on how their money is spent.  I was proud to support this common-sense measure," said State Rep. Bill Mitchell (R- Forsyth) who voted for SB1720.

From the News Stand
Low-Interest Loans for Transportation Projects Expected

The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act provides low-interest loans for transportation projects, and the Trump administration is expected to seek additional funding for it. In the program's nearly 20 years, 64 large projects have received loans, but Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., wants to enlarge the initiative so smaller, rural projects also can be funded..
OCI Approves Reduction in Worker's Compensation Rates

Recently, the Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance approved an overall 8.46% rate decrease for Worker's Compensation premiums for business this year. Some specific industries, like manufacturing, will see even greater decreases of 9.28%. This overall decrease represents a savings of nearly $170 million for employers.
Worker's Compensation rates are adjusted annually by a committee of actuaries from the Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau (WCRB). The committee studies the prior losses (claims) of hundreds of categories and professions throughout the state's employment pool and submits a rate recommendation to the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) who has final approval over the rates.
The reduction in Worker's Compensation rates is attributable to improvements in workplace safety and Wisconsin employers are being rewarded for their collective efforts to operate safe workplaces for their employees.

If there are questions about the development of the rates, please contact the WCRB at 262-796-4540.
Democrats, Veterans Continue Battling Possible Prevailing Wage Repeal
Democrats and veterans groups are continuing to fight a repeal of Wisconsin's prevailing wage laws.

The laws set minimum salary requirements for workers on government-funded construction projects. In 2015, GOP lawmakers repealed those requirements on local projects. This session, they've introduced a bill that would extend that to state-funded projects. 

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