Counting Sheep: 5 Things That Should Keep Contractors Up at Night

Every job undoubtedly has stressors that keep employees up at night, but we’re keeping an eye on these 5 things in 2019 that may have contractors counting sheep.

  1. Contract Protests with Public vs Private Entities

As a contractor, you don’t always have to accept the decision made by a public entity regarding a defective bid or the award of a contract to another bidder, but you do have to protest the contract within 10 days.  This is a large discrepancy when compared to the statute of limitations for non-public entities, which allows up to 3 years to protest.  To learn more about the process for protesting public entities, click here.

  1. DOL’s Proposed Overtime Rule

The Department of Labor attempted to overhaul the minimum exemption salary level from $23,660 to almost $48,000 per year back in 2016 but was unsuccessful in getting the ruling approved. Now, they are trying again in hopes to get a new rule finalized within the next 12 months.  Although an increase in salary level is guaranteed, it isn’t expected to be as drastic as the proposed increase from 2016.  Experts estimate the new minimum exemption level to range from $30,000-$35,000.

What does this mean for construction companies?  The construction industry is unique in that it employs a variety of employees ranging from salaried employees, hourly workers and independent contractors. The new minimum salary level increase will cause construction companies to re-evaluate their current compensation budgets. To find out more about the proposed rule, click here.

  1. The Importance of Following Lien Law Requirements and Deadlines for Each State

In construction, lien laws are designed to protect contractors who have not been paid for work performed on a property.  If you are not familiar with the lien laws in the state you are working in, it’s important to educate yourself on that state’s laws to avoid missing important requirements or deadlines.  To find out more about individual state lien laws, click here.

  1. Safe Harbor Election

The IRS recently issued guidelines for determining how rental activities should be treated with respects to the 20% pass-through deduction found within the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act.  In general, only income that meets the definition of “trade or business income” as defined in IRC §162 qualifies for 20% pass-through deduction. However, the notice provides an alternative test for real estate rent and lease income.  This safe harbor election allows entities that do not rise to the level of an IRC §162 business to still produce qualified business income. To find out if your entity qualifies under the safe harbor election, click here

  1. Why the Gas Tax Must be Raised

Most people groan when they hear talks about another tax being raised, but one tax hike that contractors should get behind is an increase on gasoline and diesel fuel.  The Highway Trust Fund finances most federal government spending for highways and mass transit and is funded primarily by federal taxes levied on motor fuels.  The current tax rates have not been changed since 1993, thus, not keeping up with inflation. Click here to read more about the Highway Trust Fund.

In Mississippi, the current MDOT commissioner, Dick Hall, and the current Northern District transportation commissioner, Mike Tagert, both announced they would not be seeking re-election this year.  Hall was a fierce advocate for increasing the fuel tax to fund highway repairs and promises to continue supporting the increase as Mississippi roads and highways steadily deteriorate.  It will be interesting to see the next commissioner’s take on the proposed increase.

Read more here.

While these topics may keep you up at night, we hope you’ll be relieved to know that HORNE Construction is committed to keeping you updated with any information that is relevant to you or your company.  If you’d like to discuss these topics further or would like more information, contact me at

While these topics may keep you up at night, we hope you’ll be relieved to know that HORNE Construction is committed to keeping you updated with any information that is relevant to you or your company.

Subscribe to the Construction Newsletter