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D.C. Hotline: 1099s lose steam

BY Jeremy Stine

After dramatically losing control of the House on Election Day, the Democrats are finally coming around to at least one of the many concerns of the business community: repealing the new 1099 provision.

A leading Senate Democrat and architect of Obamacare, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), introduced legislation (S.3946) to kill the 1099 provision—which imposes new tax-filing requirements on small businesses—in the recently passed healthcare law.

“I have heard small businesses loud and clear, and I am responding to their concerns,” Baucus said in a statement.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said last week that the 1099 requirement is one of the few provisions of the healthcare law where the two parties agree that a change is needed.

Even President Obama weighed in on the issue a day after the midterm elections.

“The 1099 provision in the healthcare bill appears to be too burdensome for small businesses,” he said.

These statements significantly increase the chances for inclusion of the repeal provision in the bill that renews expiring and expired tax cuts during the lame duck session. If not resolved now, the 1099 repeal surely will be one of the first orders of business in the 112th Congress.

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Kleer Lumber gains distribution through iLevel

BY HBSDEALER Staff

iLevel by Weyerhaeuser is now distributing Kleer Cellular PVC Trimboard, sheet goods and other Kleer cellular PVC building products from its Baltimore, Md., and Easton, Pa., distribution centers.

iLevel is a new partner for Kleer as the company serves the key building markets of New Jersey, metropolitan New York and other Mid-Atlantic regions including Eastern Pennsylvania, Northern Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.

“iLevel is an ideal partner for Kleer Lumber because of its strong brand name, the products it represents in the marketplace and its commitment to outstanding service,” said Walt Valentine, president of Westfield, Mass.-based Kleer Lumber. “iLevel’s renewed commitment to focus on specialty product groups aligns perfectly with the core product development strategy at Kleer Lumber.”

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Construction industry loses more jobs

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The construction unemployment rate rose to 18.8% in November as the sector lost another 5,000 jobs since October, according to the Associated General Contractors of America, which just released an analysis of new federal employment data. The analysis indicates that the construction sector has been the hardest hit of any industry during the economic downturn, association officials said.

The industry’s 18.8% unemployment rate, not seasonally adjusted, was the highest of any industry and roughly double the overall unemployment rate. The construction industry has lost 2.1 million jobs since employment in the sector peaked in August 2006, according to the association. Since November 2009, the industry has lost 117,000 jobs, while the private sector added 1,088,000 jobs.

“The unemployment report shows construction still has not broken free of the recession that has gripped the industry since 2006,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Other than the stimulus and other temporary federal programs, it has been a pretty bleak four yours for the industry.”

The only construction segment to add jobs in the past years has been heavy and civil engineering construction, which has benefited from federal stimulus, military base realignment and Gulf Coast hurricane-prevention projects, Simonson observed. Meanwhile, residential construction has lost 79,000 jobs over the past 12 months, while nonresidential specialty trade contractors and nonresidential building — the other two segments in the nonresidential category — have lost 62,000 jobs.

Association officials cautioned that the stimulus and other temporary federal programs would begin winding down in 2011, most likely before private, state or local demand for construction picks up. They urged Congress and the Obama Administration to act on a series of long-delayed legislative bills for water, transportation and other infrastructure programs.

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