The following areas are the priority issues of ACEC Washington:
ACEC opposes placing a retail sales tax on professional services, and believes that public works projects funded by special or dedicated tax sources should be exempt from the retail sales tax.
Sales Tax on Services - Oppose placing the retail sales tax to professional services.
Local Business & Occupation Tax - Oppose imposition of local B&O tax by localities beyond where the project is located.
Sales Tax Exemption for Public Construction - Public works projects that are funded by special or dedicated tax sources should be exempt from the retail sales tax.
ACEC opposes exemptions or exceptions to the use of qualifications-based selection (QBS) procedures for selecting design consultants by public agencies. ACEC supports the use of alternative public works methods where there is a clear indication that such procedures will result in improved public construction and design.
Qualifications-Based Selection - Oppose proposals to make exemptions or exceptions to the use of qualifications-based selection of design professionals under Chapter 39.80 RCW.
Alternative Public Works Methods - Proposals to use design-build or general contractor/construction manager (GC/CM) methods should be used for a narrowly-defined set of projects and should encourage the use of qualifications-based selection procedures for the project's design component.
ACEC believes that, to the greatest extent possible, state and local governments should contract out for goods and services, including design services. Government agencies should not be allowed to offer design services in competition with private-sector design firms, as such competition is inherently unfair to private firms.
Contracting Out - State and local governments should contract out for goods and services, including design services, to the greatest extent practicable.
Government Competition - Government agencies should not be allowed to offer design services in competition with private sector design firms, as such competition is inherently unfair to private firms.
Investment in public infrastructure is essential to the economic well-being of our state. Government must provide adequate investment to address identified state and local infrastructure needs to support economic and population growth, provide for public safety and welfare, protect environmental quality and enrich our quality of life. These investments should be made as informed policy decisions by elected officials.
ACEC supports investments to improve Washington's transportation infrastructure and common schools construction and other building construction programs that can contribute to competitiveness and stimulate employment. ACEC supports financing strategies for such purposes that are adequate over the long-term. We oppose the diversion or deferral of the capital budget and other capital facility funds, such as the Public Works Trust Fund, considering it as an unsound policy.
Transportation - A strong transportation infrastructure is enhances the livability, opportunities for economic development, and establishes long-term economic viability of Washington state. ACEC supports measures to improve Washington's transportation infrastructure and to find financing strategies for such purposes that are stable and sustainable over the long-term.
Common School Construction - The state's common schools are an integral part of the communities in which they are located and an important part of community life. For these reasons, school design and construction should be carried out in a manner that results in high-quality schools that are both efficient and cost-effective. A stable form of state funding for common school construction is necessary to meet this goal, and local school district levies and bonds should require only a simple majority vote to be approved.
ACEC participates in the state’s Liability Reform Coalition (LRC) and supports public policies: to provide reasonable statutes of limitation and repose for design professionals and construction contractors; to reduce the adverse impact of litigation on our society, businesses, and taxpayers; to limit the expansion of tort liability; to reduce the cost of defending lawsuits; to speed the resolution of lawsuits; and to improve the certainty and fairness of the civil justice system.
Certificate of Merit - Support a proposal to require, at the time a lawsuit alleging professional negligence is filed, that the person alleging professional negligence must have a qualified expert certify that the claims being made in the lawsuit have merit.
Joint & Several Liability - Defendants in lawsuits should be required to pay damages to the plaintiff based on each defendant's proportionate responsibility for causing the damages.
ACEC works with AELC and its component organizations to protect the integrity of the regulation of the design professions (engineering, architecture, land surveying and landscape architecture), and to ensure that licensing fees are used solely to carry out the purposes of those regulatory programs.
ACEC supports legislation that creates clear and objective building, land use and environmental regulations easily understood by project applicants. Governments should not impose conditions exceeding those necessary to mitigate the identifiable effects of a project. State and local governments should ensure complete and prompt permit application review based on information provided and that review should be based on compliance with plans or regulations in effect at the time the application was originally submitted; and should provide for expedited permit appeals guaranteeing certainty and finality for project applicants.