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Ohio’s small business tax deduction increases for 2014

Ohio legislation (H.B. 483) signed into law last month by Governor Kasich (R) increases the personal income tax deduction the state allows to the owners of small businesses. For 2014, those reporting business income from business corporations, pass-through entities, rentals, and farms may deduct 75 percent of the first $250,000 in business income. The deduction reverts to 50 percent after 2014.

Construction unemployment rate drops to 7.5 percent

New government data released on August 1 show the uneven nature of the construction industry's recovery, as the sector added 22,000 jobs in July, but suffered a pullback in spending in June, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Association officials said that uncertainty about federal funding for a range of infrastructure and construction programs is one reason for the uneven recovery.

SC&R Foundation expands 2014 grant; $25,000 to be Awarded by Year End

The SC&R Foundation has greatly expanded its grant program for individuals wishing to further careers related to the crane, rigging and specialized transportation industry through continuing education courses or a vocational/technical college programs. Throughout the remainder of 2014, the Foundation intends to award up to an additional $25,000 in grants on a rolling basis.

OSHA and FMCSA sign whistle-blowers agreement

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to strengthen the coordination and cooperation between the agencies regarding the anti-retaliation provision of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA). The memorandum allows for the exchange of safety, coercion and retaliation allegations, when received by one agency, that fall under the authority of the other.

Senate votes to extend Highway Trust Fund, kicks bill back to House

On July 29, the Senate passed an $8.1 billion bill to extend the Highway Trust Fund through December 19. This fund consists of an account that covers highway and bridge spending and a separate account for mass-transit projects. However, in the process, the Senate rejected a $10.8 billion House bill that would extend funding through May.

Anne Ferro to depart as FMCSA Chief in August

Anne Ferro, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) chief, announced on July 25 that she plans to  step down from her post in August, when she becomes President and CEO of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. She had been with FMCSA since her appointment by President Obama in 2009, making her the longest-serving head of the agency.    

MSHA publishes proposed rule on civil penalty assessments

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced on July 29 that it is proposing a rule to amend its existing civil penalty regulations by simplifying the criteria for assessing health and safety violations and increasing emphasis on more serious safety and health conditions. 

FMCSA announces changes to SMS website

On July 25, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a package of enhancements to the Safety Measurement System (SMS) website. SMS is an automated system that quantifies the on-road safety performance of commercial truck and bus companies that is used to identify and prioritize high-risk carriers for enforcement interventions, including increased roadside inspections and compliance reviews. 

Trailer net orders jump 45 percent for first half of 2014

June net orders of 22,000 were off 1 percent month over month, but up 42 percent year over year. Year-to-date net orders of 156,000 are up 45 percent over the same period last year. This information was included in the most recent State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers published by ACT Research Co. (ACT).

FMCSA expands program to ease veterans access to CDLs

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced on July 25 that its waiver program that helps experienced veterans and active duty personnel transition into civilian jobs as commercial truck and bus drivers has been expanded to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. On June 27, Alaska became the 50th state to participate in the FMCSA Military Skills Test Waiver Program.