It’s a Big Deal – The American Jobs Plan

President Biden’s “Build Bank Better Plan” for infrastructure has morphed into “The American Jobs Plan,” a fact sheet for which was released on March 31, 2021.

Many of the details of The American Jobs Plan remain to be developed, including funding mechanisms and the role of the private sector. The Plan contains a section entitled “The Made in America Tax Plan” that provides an outline as to how the Plan is proposed to be financed, including (i) increasing the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, (ii) modifying the global minimum tax for U.S. multinational corporations, (iii) strengthening provisions making it more difficult for corporations to avoid U.S. taxes by claiming to be a foreign company, (iv) modifying provisions that allow expense deductions from off-shoring jobs and that provide incentives for shifting assets abroad, (v) enacting a minimum tax on the book income of large corporations, (vi) eliminating special preferences for the fossil fuel industry and restoring payments to the Superfund Trust Fund, and (vii) enhancing Internal Revenue Service enforcement.  Although not mentioned, but expected by some sources, changes also include an increase in capital gains taxes for affluent Americans and the re-imposition of the individual tax rate of 39.6% for individuals earning more than $400,000 per year.

Battle lines are already forming and the enactment of legislation creating and funding The American Jobs Plan is far from certain. Key elements of the Plan are outlined below.

Continue reading “It’s a Big Deal – The American Jobs Plan”

COVID-19: As of 4-2-21, NJ Expands Outdoor Gathering Numbers and Indoor Seating Capacity for Large Venues

Earlier today on 3-30-21, NJ Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 234, which will increase outdoor gathering limits and increase capacity for seated events at large venues. The Order also clarifies indoor capacity limits for banquet halls and similar venues.

Executive Order No. 234 enables the following changes on Friday, April 2, at 6:00 a.m.:

Outdoor Gatherings:

The general outdoor gathering limit will increase from 50 people to 200 people.

Outdoor gatherings that are religious services or ceremonies, political events, weddings, funerals, or memorial services will continue to not have any limit.

College and youth sporting events will be permitted up to 200 spectators if the outdoor venue can accommodate appropriate social distancing.

Large Venues:

Venues, including sports and entertainment venues, with a seating capacity of 2,500 or more will be permitted to host events at 20% capacity indoors and 30% capacity outdoors. The capacity limits will continue to exclude participants, such as athletes and performers, and staff, such as coaches and ushers.

Facilities that host such events must ensure that all attendees at the event remain six feet apart from other attendees, except those individuals who purchase or reserve tickets together may be seated together. Attendees will also be required to wear masks within the facility, except when eating or drinking.

Catered Events:

The Order also clarifies that banquet halls and similar dining establishments and venues that use a licensed caterer can host indoor celebrations and other private catered events at 35% of the room’s capacity, up to 150 persons.

Indoor Gatherings:

The general indoor gathering limit will remain at 25 people.

Indoor gatherings that currently have a higher limit – religious services or ceremonies, political events, weddings, funerals, memorial services, or performances – will remain unchanged.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of COVID related alerts, blogs and advice on various COVID related topics.  Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Sharon Caffrey, Elizabeth Mincer, Eve Klein, Kathy O’Malley or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

 

COVID-19: NJ Expands list of Eligible Vaccine Recipients

Late last week (on March 27, 2021), Governor Murphy announced the expansion of eligibility for vaccines to more frontline essential workers and high-risk groups in New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccination program.

Eligible groups include individuals ages 55-64, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, higher education educators and staff, and communications and utility infrastructure workers among others.

Beginning Monday, April 5, the following groups are eligible for vaccination:

Individuals ages 55-64;

Individuals ages 16 and up with intellectual and developmental disabilities;
Educators, including support staff, in higher education settings;

Communications infrastructure support, including engineers, and technicians, and members of the press;

Real estate, building, and home service workers, including construction workers, code officials, plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, property management, and maintenance workers;

Retail financial institution workers, including bank tellers, lending services, public accounting, and check-cashing workers;

Sanitation workers providing disinfection and janitorial services, city sanitation workers; residential, commercial, and industrial solid and hazardous waste removal workers;

Laundry service workers, including those working in laundromats, laundry services, and dry cleaners;

Utility workers including, electrical generation and supply system, natural gas delivery, nuclear power plant, water supply, telephone, cable/fiber/optical/broadband/cellular service workers; and,

Librarians and support staff at municipal, county, and state libraries.

For more information about eligibility, statewide vaccination site locations, and to preregister for a vaccination, visit https://covid19.nj.gov/vaccine.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of COVID related alerts, blogs and advice on various COVID related topics.  Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Sharon Caffrey, Elizabeth Mincer, Eve Klein or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

“Build Back Better Plan” Expected to Be Released

President Biden’s promised infrastructure legislation, sometimes known by the slogan the “Build Back Better Plan” is still under wraps, but some information is beginning to leak out. According to the New York Times, in an article from March 22, 2021 (updated on March 25, 2021), the total package could be as high as $3 trillion, but would be structured in parts.

One part would address traditional infrastructure projects, such as roads, bridges, rail lines, ports, electric vehicle charging stations, and improvements to the power grid. It is also expected to provide funding for rural broadband and affordable and energy efficient housing units. A key focus would also be on infrastructure related to emerging and high growth industries, such as electrical vehicles, 5G telecommunications and emerging industries. It is expected that that there would be an emphasis on projects that promote the transition to a low carbon / clean energy future.

The second part of the plan would focus on “human infrastructure”. This part is expected to provide funds for education (e.g. free community college and universal kindergarten have been mentioned), skills training and programs that promote broader participation in the job market, as well as tax code modifications for the benefit of workers.

Little specificity has been provided with respect to how the plan is to be paid for, with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg noting at a House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee hearing on March 25,, 2021 that the payment will be through a combination of specific sources such as gas taxes, taxes through the general budget and borrowing. Specific proposals intended to generate revenue, such as, the increase of tax rates and conversion of the gas tax to a “vehicle miles traveled” system have not yet been released.

Proposals have also surfaced suggesting that financing be provided via the use of expanded P-3 structures, the formation of a national infrastructure bank and by bringing back the Build America Bonds that were created as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 to help create jobs and stimulate the economy. The program expired in 2010. The bonds were taxable municipal bonds that came with federal tax credits or subsidies for bondholders or state and local government bond issuers.

While waiting for the reveal of a national program, a number of “mode-specific” bills have already been introduced. For example, one bill would create a Passenger Rail Trust Fund that would provide $5.4 billion annually in grants to Amtrak for, among other things, repairs and fleet modernization. Also, a bill has been introduced for wastewater infrastructure, which would include $40 billion over a five year period for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, that would provide low-interest loans, loan subsidizations and grants for wastewater infrastructure.

It is expected that President Biden will reveal more details of the Build Back Better Plan in a speech in the very near future, but strategies for trying to obtain congressional approval of the package of legislation implementing the plan remains unclear.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Tom Totten or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

ASCE Releases 2021 National Infrastructure Report Card

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released its National Infrastructure Report Card on May 3, 2021 and gave the nation’s infrastructure an overall grade of “C-“.  This overall grade is up slightly from the 2017 Report Card where ASCE gave the nation’s infrastructure a “D+” grade.  The 2021 Report Card indicated that this  “is good news and an indication that we’re headed in the right direction, but a lot of work remains”. Continue reading “ASCE Releases 2021 National Infrastructure Report Card”

COVID-19: PA announces April time frame for additional restaurant and hospitality indoor and outdoor rules relaxation

Earlier today, Monday, March 15th, PA Gov. Wolf relaxed certain Covid-19 restrictions, including making substantial modification to some of the more  restrictive guidelines that apply to the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Effective April 4th at midnight, “self-certified” restaurants, gyms, casinos, malls and theatres in PA will be permitted to operate at 75% capacity. Non-self-certified restaurants are required to remain at 50% capacity. The self-certification process involves agreeing to strictly comply to all public health safety guidelines and orders, including the cleaning and mitigation protocols and other operational requirements issued by the CDC and the PA Department of Health.

The previous guideline that required restaurants and bars to have “last call” at 11 p.m. has also been eliminated. Additionally, bar seating will now be permitted so long as barriers exist between guests. Per the Philadelphia Business Journal, the changes also lift requirements that patrons order food with alcohol, i.e., merely drinking will be permitted on a go forward basis as of April 4.

The governor also announced revised maximum occupancy limits for indoor events to allow for 25% of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size, and maximum occupancy limits for outdoor events to allow for 50% of maximum occupancy, also regardless of venue size.

The City of Philadelphia is currently allowing a 50% indoor capacity maximum if the applicable restaurant is approved under a certification process. Philadelphia which has set its own stricter rules has advised that it will review its rules in light of the new Commonwealth guidance.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of COVID related alerts, blogs and advice on various COVID related topics.  Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Sharon Caffrey, Elizabeth Mincer, Eve Klein or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

 

 

COVID-19: Philadelphia begins Reopening Indoor and Outdoor Sporting Events to Live Fans!

The City of Philadelphia has elected to follow the Commonwealth’s guidance on enabling sporting events to begin bringing back fans live.

The revised restrictions allow outdoor venues to have occupancy of 20% of maximum capacity and indoor venues to have occupancy of 15% of maximum capacity, regardless of venue size.

Gov. Tom Wolf had announced this updated statewide guidance earlier this week on March 1, 2021.

According to Philadelphia Business Journal reporting, the Wells Fargo Center will initially be able to host 3,100 fans for Philadelphia Flyers and 76ers game and will begin to allow fans live as of Sunday night’s game against the Washington Capitals.

The 76ers will begin hosting fans starting March 14.

According to press releases from the teams, the Wells Fargo Center recently completed an $11 million installation of a new HVAC system that replaces indoor air every 30 minutes.

The Phillies will host Opening Day at 42,729-seat Citizens Bank Park against the Atlanta Braves on April 1. Under current guidance, 8,558 attendees will be allowed at the event, noting, it is unclear exactly how many fans will be permitted inside the stadium as the limits include coaches, players, team employees and arena staff.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of COVID related alerts, blogs and advice on various COVID related topics.  Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Sharon Caffrey, Elizabeth Mincer or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

 

NJ: $250M Redevelopment Funding for Walter Rand Transportation Center

On February 17th, Governor Murphy, Congressman Norcross, Senate President Sweeney together with local and county officials announced $250 Million for the redevelopment of the Walter Rand Transportation Center (WRTC) in Camden, NJ. This will be the center’s first major renovation since opening in 1989.

The WRTC Improvement Project will upgrade and enlarge the existing facility and accommodate future transit development and the potential for new retail, office, housing and hospitality opportunities utilizing Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) design standards.

The project will ultimately replace the existing facility with an expanded multi-purpose transit center that in intended to provide an improved link for transportation in South Jersey and serve as an interlink to between the NJ Transit bus system, and the light rail systems of PATCO and the River Line.

It has been reported that NJ TRANSIT plans to issue an RFP from qualified professional firms to conduct Conceptual Design, Preliminary Engineering, Final Design Engineering, and Construction Assistance for the WRTC Improvement Project.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who engage in the public-private partnership (P-3) space where State based incentives are often critical to the success of a project.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Mike Barz, Paul Josephson, Sheila Slocum Hollis, or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

 

COVID-19: Philadelphia to allow increase to 50% for Indoor Dining Capacity

Earlier today, February 9, 2021, the City of Philadelphia announced it will allow restaurants to increase indoor dining capacity to 50% as early as Friday, February 12, 2021 if they meet certain criteria outlined below – namely improving their ventilation.

In order to be allowed to increase indoor capacity to 50% from the current citywide limit of 25%, restaurants are required to certify that they have improved their ventilation per an on line application that is required to be filed with the City.

To be eligible for increased capacity, restaurants using an HVAC system are required to show the following:

1.  their HVAC system is fully operational and ventilates the entire indoor dining area;

2.  At least 20% of the air circulated by the HVAC system is outdoor air;

3.  That there is 15 or more outdoor air exchanges per hour;

4.  That the system has a MERV 11 or higher filtration system; and

5.  That exhaust vent has a minimum 6-foot clearance from tables, chairs or other items.

If a restaurant is using only window fans, there must be at least 15 air exchanges per hour measured indoors.

The city’s goal is to respond to applications within 72 hours of receiving the form. If approved, per the Philadelphia Business Journal, restaurants will be able to immediately increase capacity starting this Friday.

The Department of Public Health will be routinely inspecting restaurants to confirm that the establishments are in compliance.

Indoor dining capacity was reduced to 25% in Philadelphia on Jan. 16th after nearly 2 months of being shut down. The City rules have continued to be more stringent than that of the Commonwealth in various areas, including indoor seating capacity. 

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Sharon Caffrey, Eve Klein or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

 

COVID-19: Philadelphia to lift certain COVID-19 bans on 1-15-21

Earlier today, January 12, 2021, the Kenney Administration announced that Philadelphia will lift its ban on theaters, indoor dining, and in-person college instruction on January 15, 2021.

Theaters will able to reopen, with a maximum audience of 5% of total capacity or 5 people per 1,000 square feet, including both attendees and staff. Food and drink will not be allowed, and all guests must wear masks.

Restaurants will be permitted to have indoor dining for 25% of their seating capacity.

Colleges and universities will now be allowed to resume in-person instruction.

Other indoor gatherings, indoor recreational sports, indoor catered events and senior day services will remain in restricted status for the moment.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Sharon Caffrey, Eve Klein or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.