ACEC/CT Update 3.21.16

ACEC/CT Update

March 21, 2016

Upcoming Meetings:

March 23, 2016: ACEC/CT Breakfast Meeting, Realizing the Promise of Strategy, 7:30 – 9:00 AM, Courtyard Marriott, Cromwell. Click here.

April 7, 2016: Quality Assurance & Quality Control at Construction Sites seminar with William Rodwick, BSCE, MPA, P.E. 8 NYS PDHs. 8:30 – 5:00, AIA/CT, 370 James Street, New Haven. Click here for more information and registration

April 17-20, 2016, ACEC Annual Conference, Washington DC. Click here for more information.

April 19, 2016: ACEC/CT Legislative Reception, 5:30 – 7:30 PM, State Capitol, Hartford. Click here for information.

May 10-11, 2016, NECA/CPES 23rd Annual Joint New England Energy Conference and Exposition, Sea Crest Beach Hotel  North Falmouth, Massachusetts, Conference Website with Agenda

May 25, 2016: AEC High Performance Executive Forum hosted by ACEC/NY and Morrissey Goodale. New York City. ACEC/CT members can receive a $100 discount if you use the code “ACECCT” when you register. Click here for more information.

Government Affairs Update:

ACEC/CT is part of a coalition of transportation associations lobbying to support Governor Malloy’s transportation plan. We have been represented at several of the Governor’s news conferences and testified in support of HJ1, RESOLUTION PROPOSING A STATE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO PROTECT THE RESOURCES OF THE SPECIAL TRANSPORTATION FUND. Click here for a copy of our written testimony. The bill is currently awaiting action on the House floor.

ACEC/CT testified in opposition to SB 439, AN ACT CONCERNING THE STATE CONTRACTING STANDARDS BOARD AND REQUIREMENTS FOR PRIVATIZATION CONTRACTS. Click here for a copy of our testimony. The bill was also opposed by DOT, DAS and a number of other state agencies.

The overriding issue during this session of the General Assembly is the $262 million deficit for the current fiscal year which ends on June 30. The state is also projecting a $1-2 billion plus deficit per year in future fiscal years. Governor Malloy has indicated that state employee layoffs may number in the thousands and severe cuts may be made to programs. Members may remember that last year we had to head off a last-minute effort to impose a state sales tax on engineering and other professional services. If any similar proposals are made before the session ends in early May, we will notify you immediately.

DOT Liaison Committee

The committee met recently and discussed several items including retainage, payment for shop and working drawings, electronic signatures for contract documents, and the impact of legislation before the General Assembly.

 ACEC Professional Liability Survey

Every year, ACEC’s Risk Management Committee conducts a survey of member firms regarding their professional liability insurance, claims experience, and the impact of the threat of litigation.  This year’s survey runs through Friday, March 25, 2016.  As always, we ask that only one member of your firm take the survey. Click here for the survey.

Member firms that respond to this survey can receive a free copy of the complete results on request.  The complete results will also be available for purchase through the ACEC online bookstore.  A summary of the results will be published in the July/August 2016 edition of Engineering Inc.

If you have any questions about the survey, please send an email to ckim@acec.org or call (202) 682-4344. Thank you for taking the survey!

Welcome New Members:

CME Associates,

Roberge Associates Coastal Engineers (RACE)

What ACEC/CT Has Done for Members

Click here to download a one-page summary of our achievements during the past year to promote the business interests of our member firms.

As the 2016 regular session of the Connecticut General Assembly gears up, ACEC/CT will also be working on promoting the Governor’s proposed constitutional amendment to protect the state’s Special Transportation Fund in a “lockbox” against raids during budget crises. We will also be supporting the Governor’s Let’s Go CT! initiative to rebuild Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure, protecting member firms from efforts by state employee unions to restrict the use of consultants and defend against any tax increases (e.g. sales tax on professional services).

ACEC/CT Submits Tax Testimony

ACEC/CT Executive Director, Paul Brady, submitted testimony today for the state’s Tax Panel which is charged with making recommendations to modernize the state tax system. The General Assembly considered taxing engineering and other design services during the recent regular session but dropped the proposal when ACEC/CT and other business groups objected. Click here for a copy of the testimony.

ACEC/CT Board Meeting Summary 9.8.15

The ACEC/CT Board of Directors met on September 8 and discussed a variety of upcoming events and issues of importance to the members. National ACEC will hold its fall conference October 14-17 in Boston. The board discussed how to grow the membership in an environment of mergers and acquisitions. George Jacobs, the ACEC political action committee chair for Connecticut, discussed several fundraising ideas.

The ACEC government affairs committee is monitoring the Governor’s transportation finance committee, the state contracting standards board and bonding for transportation projects.

The programs committee is planning a meeting later in September with Mike Freimuth of the Capitol Region Development Authority, DEEP Commissioner Klee and other meetings.

The DOT liaison committee is drafting a white paper on retainage, another paper on shop and working drawings, discussing electronic billing and contracting, and changes to the selection process. The 2016 pre-qualifications for consultants is online and do in early November.

Click here for a draft copy of the minutes of the Board meeting which has additional details. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Paul Brady at pbrady@ctengineers.org.

ACEC/CT Government Affairs Update

ACEC/CT Government Affairs Update

June 30, 2015

The Connecticut General Assembly met in a special session yesterday to pass bills that were left on the table when the regular session ended on June 6. When businesses in the state threatened to leave Connecticut, Governor Malloy proposed lowering some of the taxes that were raised on businesses during the closing hours of the regular session.

The General Assembly passed legislation authorizing $5.9 billion in capital projects for the next two years that include clean water, school construction, and other public works projects. They also adopted a transportation bonding package worth $795 million over the next two years and $2 billion over the three years beyond that. But that represents a reduction of $16.3 million to help pay for the tax break for businesses.

However, the General Assembly did not adopt the “lockbox” for the Special Transportation Fund (STF) requested by Governor Malloy. The Governor had proposed a constitutional amendment protecting the fund from raids by the General Assembly for deficits in the general fund. The Governor also wanted to protect the fund by requiring a mandatory pledge to transportation bondholders. Not only did legislators fail to protect STF, they also began raiding it for other purposes. They took $500,000 out of the STF for DEEP boating regulations and enforcement and more than $4.5 million for the Department of Social Services for a Transportation for Employment Independence Program.

The General Assembly created a new Connecticut Port Authority independent of the Department of Transportation.

Engineers did well during this session of the General Assembly. We were successful in having a statute of limitations bill passed and successfully opposed the imposition of the state sales tax on engineering and other professional services.

Joint ACEC/CSPE Annual Dinner Meeting

Our annual joint dinner meeting for ACEC/CT and CSPE on Monday evening, June 15, was a great success.

Jim Rogers gave an inspiring presentation on winning more work for your firm. He taught us how to replace the usual superlatives in our proposals with memorable insights that relate to the client. Jim can be reached at (859) 428 – 85504 or email Jim@unbridledrevenue.com.

Laura Cruickshank, master planner and chief architect of the University of Connecticut and Mike Jednak, assistant vice president for facilities operations and building services at UConn, gave a great presentation on the University’s plans for capital improvements and infrastructure. Click here for a copy of their presentation.

We also honored two presidents who are completing their terms of office. ACEC/CT president, Jerry Gerletz, and Chris Eggers, CSPE president, are completing their terms of office and received a plaque for their service.

Executive Director Paul Brady updated the members on recent achievements in the Connecticut General Assembly. We managed to pass a groundbreaking statute of limitations for firms contracting the state. We also were able to defeat a proposal to impose the state sales tax on engineering and other professional services.

Sales tax on engineering services may hurt STEM effort in CT

There are a number of great arguments against the proposed sales tax on engineering services. It will make Connecticut engineering firms less competitive, it will hurt smaller engineering firms, etc.

But Maria Loitz, Director of Marketing at BVH Integrated Services, P.C. wrote to her representatives about the impact of the proposal on the state’s efforts to encourage students in science, engineering, technology and math (STEM).

“The tax on engineering services will actually have the opposite effect as intended by the Connecticut legislature, and send jobs to neighboring states that do not have a sales tax on engineering services. It’s a very competitive environment, and a newly implemented sales tax will certainly make our firm less competitive and will result in a loss of work, which will lead to a loss of profits, lack of growth, loss of jobs, and ultimately, a loss of income to the State.

“At a time when the State of Connecticut is investing $1.5 billion in Next Generation Connecticut to grow jobs in the STEM fields, why would the legislature impose this new tax on engineering firms, which would ultimately stump growth of engineering jobs in Connecticut? The result may be that Connecticut taxpayers will be subsidizing engineering jobs in neighboring states rather than in Connecticut.

“It is important to note that only 3 states in the country tax engineering services: New Mexico, South Dakota and Hawaii. Many engineering firms in our industry have multiple offices, including my employer. Given the business environment in Connecticut, it would be easy for many of these firms to expand and add jobs in neighboring states rather than in Connecticut.

“I am very passionate about this issue because I am a life-long resident of Connecticut, my family lives here, and it’s my hope to someday retire in Connecticut. With the full support of my employer, I am also actively involved in mentoring the youth of Connecticut’s urban areas – including New Britain, Hartford, New Haven, Waterbury, and Bridgeport, introducing them to careers in the architecture and engineering fields. It’s our goal to grow our firm in Connecticut, but we need a strong pool of engineers in order to achieve this goal, along with a fair and competitive business environment.

“I have been employed in the architecture and engineering industry for the past 20 years. Being involved in fee negotiations with clients on a daily basis, I am very confident that this new tax would create a significant hurdle for our firm’s future growth in Connecticut.”

Thanks, Maria. Great point!