Weekly Legislative Update - March 5, 2018

Ways And Means Announces Hearing On Tax Extenders Including WOTC
The Tax Policy Subcommittee of Ways and Means has announced a hearing on tax extenders, including WOTC, for March 14th.
The WOTC Coalition, of which we are a member, has submitted a request to testify.
Our request states that we will address "Evidence-based information essential for evaluation of strengths and weaknesses of the work opportunity tax credit in relation to the target groups it serves and alternatives examined by the Ways and Means Committee in two public hearings last year."
We welcome your thoughts, suggestions, or recommendations with regard to this hearing.
Empowerment Zone And Indian Employment Tax Credits/ Electioneering For Permanent WOTC
Congress has been working on a final government funding bill for Fiscal Year 2018, an omnibus appropriations bill that must be passed by March 23rd to avoid a government shutdown.
Empowerment Zone Employment Tax Credit and Indian Employment Tax Credit, which were re-authorized for 2017 by the Bi-partisan Budget Act, are expired for 2018 and their extension through 2019 is one of our top priorities after permanent WOTC.
Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer carried the ball for EZTC and IETC to win the 2017 extension, and we've again approached these leaders to include a further extension through 2019 in the must-do government funding bill of March 23rd.
Normally this bill wouldn't have a tax title, but there's mounting pressure by major grain companies to correct a big mistake that Chairman Brady acknowledges he made in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. 
If so, this can open the door to "technical corrections" of TCJA and extenders, as Congress' primary goal these days centers on getting re-elected, which means satisfying constituents.
Should we be blocked, we'll have final opportunity to attach these extenders to an omnibus appropriations bill for FY 2019 which must be passed by September 30. 
Leaders won't be able to stop a flood of tax amendments to the September 30th omnibus, the last train to leave the station.
Afterward, a decisive opportunity to make WOTC permanent looms around the corner in 2019.  For WOTC advocates, every step taken in our relations with our congresspersons and senators has aimed toward permanency and that continues to be our lodestar.
Now till November is the time to reach out to our congresspersons and senators to talk about our priorities and whether they will help us.
They want you on their side when you go to the polls.  They know a sour word from you can influence other voters.  Failure to be in touch regularly with your congresspersons and senators from now till November is the most costly mistake we can make.
Congresspersons and senators will be at home often, campaigning for reelection.  They need to see you, hear from you.  For you to be invisible during their struggle, and then reappear when they go back to work, doesn't fool anyone-it will be noticed.
You don't need to contribute money-continue talking about the help you need from your member of Congress, and then add encouragement-"I'm with you, good luck!"-it will be remembered.
Take stock of your resources and, if you can, contribute financially-even a small amount-to help your legislator return to Congress. 
Just as important, ask what you can do to help the campaign, then show up to work as a volunteer-the political Party is up to you.
Election year is a terrific opportunity to advance our cause, let's not miss out.  You know what's at stake.

Trump to Approve New Import Tariffs on Steel, Aluminum
President Donald Trump said that he will approve new tariffs, imposing 25% duties on steel imports and 10% on aluminum with the aim of boosting jobs and growth in what he labeled a bedrock American industry.

Anne Forristall Luke, President and CEO of the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), released the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Commerce's recommendations regarding global tariffs and quotas for steel imports: 
"We support the need to protect American workers and our economy from unfair trade practices that threaten our economic and national security. However, we are concerned that the Department of Commerce's recommendations may have unintended consequences for domestic tire manufacturers and the workers and industries they support. High-quality steel is critical for tire production. Domestic steel mills use a production process that is unable to produce the steel necessary to make tires.

USTMA members must retain the capability to import the specialized steel products that are vital to making tires in the United States. A disruption in tire manufacturing in the U.S. would harm our economy and threaten national security, since the U.S. military relies on the tire industry to provide high performing and durable tires to aid in our national defense. We strongly urge the Administration to exempt the tire industry from any such tariffs and quotas, or at the least commit to establishing a process for timely review of exemption applications."

We will continue to send updates on this topic. 

Crumb Rubber Legislation Update
A number of states so far this year have looked at banning crumb rubber in sports fields. TIA has opposed these efforts. 
After testifying in New Hampshire on HB 1561, we are pleased to report that the bill died in committee. This week, we will be testifying in Maryland in opposition to SB 763
TIA has worked with the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), the Synthetic Turf Council (STC), and many TIA members on these bills.
We ask that dealers interested in this topic to contact us for more information on how to get involved.