(L-R) are Ben Yates, East region manager of AED; Congressman Paul Tonko, N.Y. 21st District; Wayne Clark, industry organizations and government affairs manager of Milton CAT; Gib Gagnon, Milton CAT general sales manager of N.Y.; Jerry Leary, sales manager
Milton CAT, in conjunction with the AED, hosted Congressman Paul Tonko at the Milton CAT branch location in Clifton Park, N.Y., on Nov. 9. This partnership reflects the AED’s initiative that enjoins its members across the country to meet with its congressional representatives and speak about the issues and how they affect the economy and businesses in their home districts.
The meeting with Tonko focused on the following topics and their importance to the equipment and construction industry:
• Passage of a long-term Highway Trust Fund with a sustainable funding mechanism.
• Increase the current limits for Section 179 depreciation rules of the tax code.
• Reinstatement of the Bonus Depreciation provisions of the tax code.
• Workforce development programs.
All of these topics have a direct effect on the construction industry and the equipment dealers that serve and supply it. Construction firms need to have the ability to plan their purchases and needs. Without assistance from the federal government in these areas, growth and stability is impaired, according to AED.
HTF funding and tax code changes provide the opportunity for construction companies to plan equipment purchases and replacements. Equipment represents a large portion of the financial worth of a construction firm and that net worth can have a dramatic effect on a company’s ability to secure loans and bonds.
Another major inhibitor to business growth is the workforce issue. Construction firms, equipment dealers — along with a variety of other businesses and manufacturers — simply can’t fill the well-paying jobs they have available. Federal and state programs need to be developed that explain the benefits of a vocational career and the value proposition of the cost incurred by a student for a vocational career versus the costs involved for a college degree in a field that simply does not have the jobs available to enable repayment of large student loans.
“Congressman Tonko was very supportive of our points and agreed that significant contributions to the local economy are currently being lost,” said Wayne Clark, industry organizations and government affairs manager of Milton CAT.
From its start in a dirt floor garage in Concord, N.H., Milton CAT has grown to 13 locations, spanning a six-state territory with more than 1,000 employees. Today, Milton CAT runs on the same philosophy that made the company successful in its early years. The company’s growth and reputation have been a result of experience, continuity of purpose, empowering employees and a longstanding partnership with Caterpillar.
Milton CAT is a privately held company, owned by the Milton family. Chris Milton, Milton CAT’s dealer principal and president, is the third generation Milton to be at the helm of a Caterpillar dealership. Chris’s father, Jack Milton, served as a consultant and came to the office every day until his death in February 2015.