LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Labor Day takes a more somber tone this year

Dear Editor:

This weekend, around the country, we are celebrating Labor Day and saying goodbye to our long summer days. While we all understand that Labor Day is a time to celebrate the American worker, this year's holiday has taken on a more somber tone, especially for those in construction.

The unemployment rate for the construction industry is nearly twice the national average, and more than 1.75 million construction workers are out of work.

Associated Builders & Contractors, West Virginia Chapter represents over 100 merit shop construction companies in West Virginia with over 2,500 employees. Our members, like other small businesses are the catalyst for creating jobs and economic recovery, yet today's construction contractors face a dizzying array of obstacles, including burdensome and costly federal regulations and mandates along with high tax rates.

Tax rates could shoot up even higher if Congress fails to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax relief measures, the estate tax and the capital gains tax. In addition, out-of-control federal government spending has ballooned our national debt to $13.3 trillion – more than $40,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States.

In order to break out of this dire situation, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) developed a 2010 Job Creation Proposal that will help stimulate the construction industry and put Americans back to work. This proposal includes a wide-ranging package of recommendations, including tax relief, increased access to capital and a comprehensive energy plan.

The nation is facing unprecedented economic challenges, and both large and small construction contractors are eager to take the lead in stimulating economic growth by getting back to building America. Implementation of these recommendations will help jumpstart the construction industry during this economic downturn. Let's hope that next Labor Day construction workers will have more reasons to celebrate.

Wendy McCuskey
President, Associated Builders & Contractors of West Virginia

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