Connecticut Resources

Payroll Tax Commission survey

MTAC members may have received the message below from the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. This was mandated by General Assembly, which is considering replacing the state income tax with a payroll tax, as part of a workaround of the federal SALT cap established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

MTAC members are welcome to share their thoughts on this matter with MTAC at any time. You can send your comments to Joe Sculley via email.

Dear Taxpayer:

Public Act 19-117, §385, established a Connecticut Payroll Tax Commission to study implementation of a payroll tax on employers. A payroll tax is a tax paid by employers based on the wages paid to their employees.

To inform the Commission’s work, the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) is required to gather certain data necessary to evaluate the potential impact of instituting a state payroll tax.

The purpose of this communication is to inform you that on Thursday, August 15, 2019, you will receive an e-mail from DRS that includes a brief survey, with four questions about your business entity. DRS asks that you respond to this request for information at your earliest convenience, but no later than October 1, 2019.

Your response will help ensure DRS captures a representative cross-section of data from Connecticut’s business community. Please note the Commission is prohibited from disclosing any taxpayer information that DRS is not otherwise authorized to disclose under state law.

More information on the Connecticut Payroll Tax Commission is available online.

FMCSA unveils proposed changes to Hours of Service Rules

From Transport Topics.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Aug. 14 issued a long-awaited proposal to make changes to its hours-of-service rules that would increase truck drivers’ flexibility with their 30-minute rest break and with allocating time in a sleeper berth.

The proposal also would extend by two hours duty time for drivers encountering adverse weather and expand the current 100 air-mile “shorthaul” exemption from 12 hours on-duty to 14 hours on-duty, consistent with workday rules for longhaul truck drivers.

The agency will accept comments on the proposal for 45 days after it is published in the Federal Register, scheduled for Aug. 20.

In the proposal, FMCSA offers five key revisions to existing HOS rules:

  • Increase safety and flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by tying the break requirement to eight hours of driving time without an interruption of at least 30 minutes and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on-duty, not driving status, rather than off-duty status.
  • seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the other period of not less than two consecutive hours, either off-duty or in the sleeper berth. Neither period would count against the driver’s 14-hour driving window.
  • Allow one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than three hours, that would pause a truck driver’s 14-hour driving window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.
  • Modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
  • Change the shorthaul exception available to certain commercial drivers by lengthening the drivers’ maximum on-duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.

See the complete article from Transport Topics online.

FMCSA-required changes to Custody & Control and Alcohol Testing forms

From MTAC partner Fleet Screen.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse) will become operational in 2020. We would like to inform you about some upcoming changes related to recording information on the Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form (CCF) and Alcohol Testing Form (ATF). Fleet Screen will work with clinics to ensure this process is followed when required in 2020.

What will Change?

The current versions of the CCF and ATF specifically permit the use of either the driver’s social security number (SSN) or employee identification number (EIN) when completing the CCF or ATF. However, effective January 6, 2020, FMCSA is requiring that the commercial driver’s license number (CDL) must be used instead of the SSN or EIN when FMCSA-covered drivers’ positive drug or alcohol test results are reported to the Clearinghouse.

What does this mean for Employers (Motor carriers), C/TPAs, Collectors and BAT’s?

  • In accordance with 49 CFR 382.123(b), the person completing the CCF or the ATF (clinic personnel in most cases) must annotate the driver’s CDL number and State of Issuance in Step 1, Section C of the CCF or Step 1B of the ATF for each FMCSA-regulated test.
  • If the employer or C/TPA does not provide the CDL and the State of Issuance, then the collector or alcohol technician should ask the driver for this information at the collection site.

All employers of CDL drivers must also purchase a query plan in the Clearinghouse. This query plan enables employers, and their consortia/third-party administrators (C/TPAs), to conduct queries of driver Clearinghouse records.

  • Beginning fall 2019, registered employers will log into their Clearinghouse accounts to purchase their query plan. Query plans may be purchased from the FMCSA Clearinghouse only.

MTAC will provide additional information as we get closer to the effective date in January 2020.

Note: At the MTAC Annual Meeting on Oct. 31, FMCSA Division Administrator Chris Henry will run an educational seminar, in which compliance with this regulation will be discussed.

Path of unpopular toll proposal maps out opposition

Excerpt from Republican American.

Joseph Sculley, the president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, agreed that some legislators representing cities and towns along the proposed toll roads are wary of the political repercussions of supporting tolls.

“Definitely, there are people who are afraid of tolls, for lack of a better word, because of the districts they represent, but I also think it is just a statewide issue,” he said.

Sculley said even legislators representing rural districts far removed from the targeted highways understand tolls will end up costing their constituents more one way or another.

“I haven’t heard anyone saying whether directly or indirectly that they are OK with tolls because it doesn’t hit their district. I know of districts that would not be hit, and their legislators are still opposed,” he said. 

See the complete article from the Republican American online.

Barry named MTAC State Representative of the Year

State Representative Jill Barry (D – Glastonbury) has been named the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut (MTAC) State Representative of the Year, MTAC announced today. The State Representative of the Year award is an annual award presented to a member of the State House of Representatives who supports public policy which allows the trucking industry to remain competitive in Connecticut.

“Representative Barry has demonstrated a willingness to stand up for small businesses in Connecticut, including those in the trucking industry,” said MTAC President Joe Sculley. “She has also shown a commitment to fiscal responsibility, which is needed in the legislature.”

Sculley added that Representative Barry keeps an open mind and considers all aspects of an issue before making a decision. “For example, while Representative Barry was a leader on anti-vaping legislation, she heard the concerns of common carriers who were key stakeholders in the issue, and made sure they were addressed,” Sculley stated.

Sculley concluded by highlighting the importance of the trucking industry. “More than 85 percent of Connecticut communities depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods. Trucks transport 94 percent of total manufactured tonnage in the state. The average 18-wheel tractor trailer pays more than $17,000 annually in state and federal road taxes,” he stated. “The trucking industry plays a crucial role in the Connecticut economy, and it pays a lot of taxes in order to do that.”

“We thank Representative Barry for supporting the trucking industry and look forward to working with her for years to come.”

Martin named MTAC State Senator of the Year

State Senator Henri Martin (R – Bristol) has been named the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut (MTAC) State Senator of the Year, MTAC announced today. This annual award is presented to a member of the State Senate who supports public policy which allows the trucking industry to remain competitive in Connecticut.

“Senator Martin is a strong supporter of the trucking industry,” said MTAC President Joseph Sculley. “As the Senate’s Ranking Member of the Transportation Committee, he has led the fight against putting congestion-price tolls on our interstate highways, which would have a devastating impact on the trucking industry in Connecticut. This is the kind of support our industry needs,” Sculley added.

Sculley also credited Senator Martin with supporting proposals that would make it easier for truck dealers to process brand new truck registrations in-house, just like car dealers do when individuals purchase a new car.

“Senator Martin knows that trucking is critical to our economy. Everything we buy was on a truck at some point. So, anything that impacts businesses in the trucking industry, whether it’s delays in getting new trucks registered, or high taxes and fees, the effects will be felt throughout the economy,” said Sculley.

Sculley pointed out that Senator Martin also realizes the trucking industry’s role in financing our transportation system. “He knows that out-of-state trucks do not get a free ride through Connecticut. The pay their fair share, anywhere from $26 million to $30 million per year, through the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) and International Registration Plan (IRP) programs.” he said.

Sculley concluded by highlighting the importance of the trucking industry. “More than 85 percent of Connecticut communities depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods. Trucks transport 94 percent of total manufactured tonnage in the state. The average 18-wheel tractor trailer pays more than $17,000 annually in state and federal road taxes,” he stated. “The trucking industry plays a crucial role in the Connecticut economy, and it pays a lot of taxes in order to do that.”

“We thank Senator Martin for supporting the trucking industry and look forward to working with him for years to come.”

Update: Round 2 of VW Diesel Emissions Mitigation Program

From CT DEEP.

Solicitation Opens: August 1, 2019
Applications Due: September 16, 2019, no later than 4:00 PM EST

Forms and Instructions: www.ct.gov/deep/vw

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is pleased to announce that $7.5 million is now available under Connecticut’s Diesel Emissions Mitigation Program for use by non-government and government entities towards projects to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from a wide array of mobile sources.

Funds for this second offering of the Diesel Emissions Mitigation Program will finance projects that replace or repower an array of aging diesel mobile sources and/or non-road equipment. Eligible source categories and funding allocations are specified in the State of Connecticut Beneficiary Mitigation Plan (the Plan) and limited by the Environmental Mitigation Trust Agreement for State Beneficiaries. Both non-government and government entities are eligible to apply, with each group being evaluated independently of each other. DEEP will ensure that projects ultimately funded by this program support the goals of the Plan. Submitted applications will be evaluated based on the funding criteria outlined in the Plan. After evaluation, applicants will be notified of the status of their proposals; and, following notification, awarded projects should be implemented. Upon successful completion of awarded projects, awardees will be reimbursed.

Applications are due no later than 4:00 PM EST on September 16, 2019. If you are interested in applying for funding under this program, please review important program information and download forms at www.ct.gov/deep/vw.

Class 8 orders in July sink to lowest level since 2010

From Transport Topics.

Class 8 orders were down to their lowest level since 2010 in July, according to preliminary numbers from ACT Research.

North America Class 8 orders came to 10,200 units in July, down 21% from June. It was the lowest monthly order tally since February 2010, ACT reported.

“Weak freight market and rate conditions across North America and a still-large Class 8 backlog continue to bedevil new Class 8 orders,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT president and senior analyst, in a news release. “Though, with original equipment manufacturers opening their new model-year order books in June and July, order weakness is increasingly the story of an overcapacitized Class 8 fleet.”

Steve Tam, ACT Research vice president, told Transport Topics Aug. 5 that July tends to be the weakest month for orders, and usually runs 15% below normal months.

Still, the numbers indicate increasing uncertainty about President Donald Trump’s trade policies and the economy in general. On Aug. 5, China announced new strategies in the trade war, devaluing its currency and canceling U.S. agricultural imports, according to Bloomberg News.

See the complete article from Transport Topics online.

Stamford Route 1 and I-95 closures Aug. 16-18

From CT DOT.

Starting Friday, Aug. 16 at 6 p.m. through Sunday, Aug. 18 at 6 p.m., the Route 1 (East Main Street) Bridge over I-95 in Stamford will be closed between Courtland Avenue and Seaside Avenue for the contractor to pour the bridge approach slabs. Traffic will be detoured from Route 1 to Courtland Avenue and Hamilton Avenue.

While the closure is in effect, the Exit 9 Southbound off-ramp and the Route 1 Northbound I-95 on-ramp will be closed. The following ramps will remain open:

  • Exit 9 Northbound on- and off-ramps at Seaside Ave
  • Exit 9 Southbound on-ramp

Travel lands on I-95 will be open and unaffected by the construction.

See the below map for the detour route.

More than 1,600 vehicles removed from roadway during safety initiative

From CVSA.

On May 15, 2019, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) law enforcement members conducted 10,358 commercial motor vehicle inspections focused on identifying brake system violations. Of those inspections, 16.1% of vehicles had brake-related critical vehicle inspection items. Those 1,667 vehicles were placed out of service until the violations could be corrected.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), more than half a million commercial motor vehicle violations in 2017 were related to brakes. CVSA aims to call attention to this serious issue through its targeted brake safety enforcement and awareness campaigns, such as the May 15 unannounced inspection blitz. This enforcement initiative highlights the work that’s done by inspectors every day to keep our roadways safe. Checking brake systems and their components is always part of roadside vehicle inspections.

Inspectors also paid close attention to violations involving brake hoses/tubing:

  • There were 996 units with chafed rubber hose violations.
  • 185 units had chafed thermoplastic hose violations.
  • There were 1,125 violations of 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 45 and Canadian equivalent violations that included chafed rubber hoses.
  • There were 124 violations of 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 45 and Canadian equivalent violations that included kinked thermoplastic hoses.

See the complete article from CVSA online.