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International Operating Engineer - Winter 2018

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The quarterly magazine of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

Politics & Legislation

Politics & Legislation Missouri Voters Will Decide Fate of “Right to Work” Law New Tax Law Brings Changes to Rates and Deductions FOR MORE THAN five years, antiunion politicians and corporate special interests have been spending millions of dollars in Missouri to pass so-called “right to work” legislation. In 2015 there was a close call when the Republicanled Missouri House of Representatives passed so-called “right to work” by a 92-66 vote and the state Senate vote was 21-13. Then-Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the legislation, stating, “Right-to-work is wrong for Missouri, it’s wrong for the middle-class - and it must never become the law of the Show-Me State.” Despite an aggressive campaign by Operating Engineers and others in the labor movement to support Attorney General Chris Koster in his bid for Governor, the November 2016 election saw anti-union gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens surge in the last days of the election to swipe victory away from Koster. Greitens did not waste any time on following through on his antiunion platform. On February 6, 2017, Greitens signed so-called “right to work” legislation into law. The Show- Me State was on its way to enabling free riders to take advantage of other union members by demanding services from the union, but not paying a dime for them. The law was set to become effective on August 28, 2017. However, Missouri labor unions did not give up the fight. IUOE Local Unions 101, 148 and 513, along with other unions, created the We Are Missouri coalition. Through that organization, they worked diligently collecting signatures to place the legislation on the ballot for a “citizens veto,” allowing voters to decide the issue. The Missouri Secretary of State requires 108,467 signatures to certify a voter referendum. Ten days before the law’s effective date, the coalition delivered a record number of signatures to the Secretary of State, placing a referendum on the ballot in 2018 and “staying” the right to work law. We Are Missouri collected 300,000 signatures! On November 22, 2017, the Secretary of State certified that the referendum had sufficient support. We are Missouri is continuing the campaign to educate the public on the impact to the middle class if this proposal becomes law. At press time, the vote is scheduled for the general election ballot this November. But the Legislature and the Governor believe that they would have an advantage by placing the anti-union measure on the August primary ballot. They expect a lower turnout in August, and they expect a strategic advantage with fewer voters. It is just one more attempt to silence the voices of working people. The Legislature must pass a law to change the election date to August, so the Missouri labor movement is preparing for either election date. No matter when the election occurs, the IUOE will be working hard to mobilize the middle class against these antiunion, anti-worker policies. To learn more about the campaign, please visit the We Are Missouri web site at http://www.wearemissouri.org ENGINEERS ACTION & RESPONSE NETWORK REGISTER TODAY! WWW.IUOE.ORG ON A STRICTLY party line vote, Congress passed H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which made significant changes to the nation’s tax law. President Trump signed the bill at the end of 2017. The changes will go into effect for tax year 2018; these changes won’t affect your filing for 2017. INDIVIDUAL TAXES In a nutshell, the bill modestly lowers individual tax rates for most American households. The bill also increases the standard deduction available to most tax filers. (See a tax professional about how the changes may affect you and your family.) But the legislation also eliminated key deductions for working people and middle-class Americans. In particular, the bill eliminated the following deductions: • Purchase of travel, transportation, meals, and local lodging related to work; • Union dues and expenses; • Work clothes and uniforms if required and not suitable for everyday use; • Work-related education; and • Limited the state and local tax exemption to ,000; • The mortgage interest deduction will be capped for homes up to 0,000 Those will be big hits for many middle-class taxpayers, including thousands of Operating Engineers. For many taxpayers, the increase in the standard deduction will more than make up for the loss of those workrelated and other deductions. Again, consult a tax professional about your personal situation. CORPORATE TAXES The bigger changes to tax law took place on the business and corporate tax side. The corporate rate goes from 35% to 21%. The bill allows businesses to immediately write off the full cost of new equipment. The bill reduces rates on “pass through” companies – a major boon to professional service companies and real-estate developers like the Trump Organization. The bill lowers the rate on foreign-sourced income and is expected to “repatriate” those profits back to the U.S. The legislation lowers the repatriated tax rate to 15.5%. That’s down from the traditional corporate tax rate of 35%. Past legislation has proposed to use these international tax changes to finance public-works investments. But this tax law swallows up the revenue and fails to assist financing investments to rebuild American roads, bridges, and infrastructure. INFRASTRUCTURE The tax legislation basically eliminated the ability of state and local governments to refinance municipal bonds. Eliminating that tool will save taxpayers about billion over ten years. But eliminating it also raises the cost of financing roads, bridges, schools and other infrastructure. About onethird of all municipal bond issuances in 2016 used these refinancing tools. The legislation also eliminates three small tax credit bond programs that help finance school, energy, and other infrastructure projects. Other changes were proposed throughout the process, but public-works advocates fought off bigger attacks on infrastructure. 10 INTERNATIONAL OPERATING ENGINEER WINTER 2018 11

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