During a year when Washington, D.C. will largely be dominated by the presidential elections, predictions about legislative efforts on Capitol Hill are a risky business. But while pundits and politicians from coast to coast are debating who will be next in the White House, state legislatures are set to focus on a variety of legislative issues—including several initiatives that will positively impact equipment manufacturers. AEM’s Advocacy Team has hit the ground running in state capitals across the country and is busy fighting for pro-manufacturing policies. Here is what they are expecting to see after talking with state lawmakers:
Pro-Business Tax Policies
The economy and the fiscal impact of tax policies—more specifically those that benefit businesses—will increasingly be at the forefront of lawmakers’ minds. In South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster has announced that the state’s unemployment tax rates will decrease or remain the same for all employers in 2024. In Illinois, a bill was introduced to increase the research and development credit and ensure that it applies permanently. In Florida, the General Assembly introduced legislation that would provide a tax credit to corporations that provide or pay for childcare as a part of their employee benefits package.
Securing Funding for Infrastructure
Coming on the heels of a year when state executives and legislatures addressed much needed infrastructure funding, 2024 is shaping up to see more of the same. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp recently came out in support of utilizing surplus funds in the budget to expand and improve the state’s transportation infrastructure, recommending that the budget include an additional $1.5 billion for the Department of Transportation to finish commuter and freight projects across the state. Meanwhile in California, Governor Gavin Newsome has proposed keeping critical infrastructure projects alive, including $7.7 billion for high priority transit and rail infrastructure projects, $4.2 billion for the high-speed rail to build out the Central Valley segment from Madera to Bakersfield, and $1.4 billion for Active Transportation.
Investing in the Future Workforce
State legislatures and executives around the country are addressing education and childcare issues critical to businesses’ ability to build a workforce for the 21st Century, helping to create a reliable pipeline of skilled workers to address the current labor shortage and preparing the next generation of equipment manufacturers. In Indiana, House Bill 1001, would allow funds from different programs and grants to be used by high school graduates for training by an approved intermediary, employer, or labor organization — rather than for education costs at a college or university. The rising cost of childcare and its effects on our industry’s workforce is also being addressed in multiple states. In Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds unveiled a new legislative proposal that would enhance Iowa’s tax climate by providing property tax relief to childcare centers.
While state lawmakers will no doubt get wrapped up in the political noise leading up to Election Day, it is important to remember that there is no law against making laws in an election year. State lawmakers are already hard at work and the AEM Advocacy Team will seize every opportunity to advance pro-manufacturing policies that will keep our industry strong.
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