The Associated General Contractors of America urged senators to extend the first-time homebuyer tax credit and the five-year carryback of net operating losses to help reverse dramatic declines in construction employment. Noting that construction employment figures show job losses in every state except Louisiana, the association said quick action on both measures was essential to jump-start demand for construction.
“Until we find a way to boost demand for construction, we are never going to get a handle on the nation’s worsening employment conditions,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “These two measures will boost economic activity, drive demand for construction and, most important, put Americans back to work.”
Sandherr said extending the first-time home buyer credit for an additional 12 months will encourage new residential construction, stimulate nearby infrastructure, commercial and retail construction while boosting tax revenue. He added that expanding the carryback provision to cover net operating losses in 2009 and 2010 for all businesses will allow cash-strapped construction firms to convert future tax benefits into cash today to expand payrolls, retain workers and invest in equipment.
Sandherr called on senators to insert language extending the two tax measures in legislation extending unemployment benefits. He added that the association’s construction industry recovery plan, “Build Now for the Future: A Blueprint for Economic Growth,” lists both measures as crucial for stimulating private sector construction activity that accounts for up to 70 percent of annual construction activity.
“With a single vote, senators can give the nation’s one million unemployed construction workers a better chance to find work, feed their families and contribute to our economic recovery,” Sandherr added.