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BCA Supports House-Passed Technical Education Reauthorization

In May, the Business Council of Alabama signed a letter to congressional leaders urging reauthorization of the Perkins Act, which the House did on Thursday.

The Perkins Career and Technical Education Act reauthorizing the education initiative is intended to bolster technical education for specialized job skills. Last overhauled in 2006, it aims to strengthen training in technical career areas that require specific training for employment, The Hill reported.

“Employers are reporting a shortage of skilled workers to fill in-demand positions. Modernized and relevant career and technical education (CTE) programs, designed with the input of employers and responsive to the needs identified by labor market data, are central to overcoming this skills gap,” the BCA-signed letter states.

House and Senate members were urged to support reauthorization in order to help Americans develop skills they need to compete for much-in-demand jobs. The legislation previously passed the House in 2016 but did not receive Senate consideration.

Thursday’s reauthorization includes changes aimed at better aligning students with the needs of regional, state and local labor markets, and would make states explain how their skills training would be tailored to their own labor needs to receive funding. Along with the BCA, the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), a trade association representing major technology companies like Amazon, Oracle, and Intel urged the House to approve the reauthorization.

The bill faces Senate consideration. Despite bipartisan support and industry optimism, it’s unclear if the Senate will pass it this session.


BCA SUPPORTS NAM PUSH FOR INCOME TAX SIMPLIFICATION

With the strong support of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the House of Representatives passed the Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act of 2017 (H.R. 1393). This commonsense legislation sets a bright-line test for when states can tax income earned by nonresident workers.

The House has approved it in previous years, but the Senate has not. This bill would relieve an arbitrary compliance burden and tax liability for both employees and employers, which is particularly important to small or medium-sized manufacturers that do not have their own tax department.

The NAM is focusing on pushing this bill through the Senate where it landed on Wednesday.


SENATE RELEASES ITS OBAMACARE REPLACEMENT BILL

Senate Republicans on Thursday released a draft of their long-awaited replacement for Obamacare that Democrats passed in 2010, The Hill reported. A vote is expected next week.

The bill would save taxpayers billions of dollars by repealing the taxes that have been paying for Obamacare’s mandated coverage expansion and would abolish the law that forces Americans to buy coverage. It would cut Medicaid and reshape the federal-state program from an open-ended government commitment to a system of capped federal payments that limit federal spending. The bill also would end federal funding for Planned Parenthood for one year.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reacted: “The Senate health care bill will help to stabilize crumbling insurance markets caused by the Affordable Care Act, work to curb runaway premium increases, and jettison ill-conceived Washington mandates and taxes that have weighed heavily on our economy,” Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said. “This is an extremely important step in putting doctors and patients ahead of politicians when it comes to American health care.”

Health care expert Avik Roy, who read the entire bill in order to learn what’s in it, said Thursday that the bill could be the greatest policy achievement by a Republican Congress “in his lifetime,” according to The Week.

The Business Council of Alabama supports the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The BCA encourages innovative solution that would increase employers’ choices in buying affordable, quality health care and prescription drug insurance while decreasing health care costs without government interference through free-market competition.

The PPACA mandates insurance, which is heavily subsidized by taxpayers.

“This bill appears to strike an important balance between providing ample attention to the much-needed safety net for underserved communities without putting Washington in charge of health care,” Donohue said. “We have long sought this type of balanced solution that doesn’t jeopardize employer sponsored coverage, while seeking affordable access for all Americans.

Almost daily, newspaper headlines report yet another collapse of Obamacare in states, leaving fewer Americans without health insurance. “We know that Obamacare is dangerously close to collapse as millions of Americans are left with fewer and fewer options for health insurance and urge Senators to move forward and ultimately pass this legislation without delay,” Donohue said.

When Obamacare was passed in 2010, many Americans with adequate health insurance lost their coverage that suddenly became illegal and they were forced to choose higher-cost Obamacare or pay a penalty for not having insurance.

The Senate bill would cap states’ Medicaid funding from Washington and would give the states the choice of a formula using “block grants” or “per capita caps,” the Wall Street Journal wrote.

The Senate bill keeps the House bill’s repeal of a 3.8 percent tax on investment income retroactively to January and delays the repeal of a 0.9 percent payroll tax until 2023. Both of those taxes only apply to individuals who pay the most in income taxes – those making more than $200,000 and married couples making more than $250,000.

If the Senate passes the bill, it would have to be reconciled with the House version.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Reauthorizing Perkins Act Will Improve Development, Training Programs
National Association of Manufacturers (Drogus 6/22) “Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement in support of House passage of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act to reauthorize the Perkins Act:

“By passing the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, the House took an important step to help manufacturers develop a stronger workforce. This legislation will strengthen workforce training programs that give workers the skills needed for many career opportunities that exist in modern manufacturing. Manufacturers will need to fill an estimated 3.5 million jobs over the next decade, and this legislation is a step forward in helping us address the skills gap we face.

“The NAM’s Manufacturing Institute has been leading the charge to help manufacturers work with our nation’s community colleges and technical schools to upskill and upscale the manufacturing workforce. While at the NAM’s Manufacturing Summit, our nation’s leaders made it clear that they are committed to working with the NAM and Manufacturing Institute to build a 21st-century, modern manufacturing workforce. We now urge the Senate to get this legislation to the president’s desk.”

About Dana Beyerle

Dana Beyerle

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