The 2017 budget proposal unveiled by President Obama yesterday includes $10 million “for activities to address the misclassification of workers.”

That’s good news to the Construction Employers of America (CEA). “Misclassification is a form of payroll fraud that puts lawful companies that appropriately classify their employees at a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace and unfairly penalizes hard-working Americans who are deprived pay and benefits,” said the organization in a statement.

Independent contractors

CEA spokesperson Jack Jacobson  said; “When employees are wrongly classified as independent contractors, the companies that employ them fail to pay appropriate employment taxes, starving jurisdictions of vital revenue and forcing taxpayers and honest companies to make up the difference.”

The industry group was also pleased that the budget includes $90 million for apprenticeship programs, and a $2 billion Apprenticeship Training Fund, funded at $400 million per year over five years. The Fund would assist employers who provide apprenticeship training and would support historically underrepresented groups with apprenticeships. The Apprenticeship Training Fund would support the President’s goal of doubling the number of U.S. apprentices.

"Not the time to backslide"

What didn’t win approval in the budget: significant reductions in capital construction for federal buildings and infrastructure projects, as compared to fiscal year 2016, which funded investments in the country’s aging transportation, energy, and water infrastructure projects and federal buildings. “Now is not the time to backslide on those investments,” said Jacobson.

Construction Employers of America is a joint initiative to coordinate action on labor, workforce, and construction issues facing our industries. Information about the CEA can be found online at