What Construction Needs from the President’s Jobs Plan: Associated Builders and Contractors
On the evening just before President Obama’s speech to unveil his jobs plan to the nation, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) on Sept. 7 called on the president to repeal costly regulations and offer bold, new public-private partnership policies to jumpstart the economy and get Americans back to work.
“The torrential flood of costly and burdensome regulations from this administration has created a climate of uncertainty among small business construction contractors,” said 2011 ABC National Chairman Michael J. Uremovich, president of Great Lakes Energy Consultants, LLC, Manhattan, Ill. “Business owners are buried in government red tape that erodes their bottom line and creates an uncertain future – hardly the formula needed to stimulate economic growth and create jobs.”
Included in the many Obama administration actions is Executive Order 13502 which encourages anti-competitive and costly government-mandated project labor agreements on federal construction projects; a proposal by the National Labor Relations Board to limit an employer’s ability to effectively communicate the impact of unionization to its workers; and sweeping health care mandates forcing some construction contractors to purchase more expensive policies or drop their coverage all together.
“ABC believes a safe and reliable infrastructure, including transportation, energy, schools and military construction, is critical to our nation’s competitiveness in the global economy,” Uremovich said. “While the federal government lacks the resources to make significant investments in our nation’s infrastructure, demand for infrastructure projects still exists. Public-private partnerships present an opportunity to responsibly invest in improving our nation’s infrastructure without adding to our deficit.
“An example of a successful public-private partnership is the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, through which the renovation, design and maintenance of more than 200,000 housing units on military bases have been delivered during the last 15 years,” said Uremovich. “The private sector and the federal government profited, jobs were created, and federal infrastructure was improved, enhanced and expanded.
“As part of any plan to invigorate the economy and create jobs, it is necessary to break down those barriers that prevent banks from financing construction projects,” Uremovich said. “It is critical that real estate development and construction firms have access to much-needed capital in order to allow construction growth and development.”