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Home    Education    Legislative    Publications    Calendar    Sunbelt Builders Show    Resources Aug. 16, 2012

In Texas' capital, construction on many corners
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The combination of a diversifying business center and Austin’s renowned entertainment scene has recently drawn an influx of young and highly educated workers downtown. To meet their housing needs, about 500 apartments are under construction and several developers are poised to begin construction on other residential projects. But apartment buildings are not the full extent of this downtown resurgence. Several hotels are under construction, and there are plans for at least two substantial office towers and multiple mixed-use projects. More

Continue to use the current Form I-9 for employment eligibility verification
NAHB    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, has announced that employers should continue to use the current Form I-9, which is set to expire on Aug. 31, 2012, until further notice. Under federal immigration law, all employers are required to complete Form I-9 for all new hires to verify the employee's identity and work authorization. In the upper right hand corner of the form it notes "Expires 08/31/12," however continued use of this form after expiration will not count as a paperwork violation in an I-9 audit. For more information, please contact David Crump at 800-368-5242 x8491. Download the form here: More

New York Times dives into Austin's construction boom
Austin Business Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The demand for office, hotel and multifamily space is exploding in downtown Austin, and developers are rising to the occasion with huge projects under construction. "Austin is the most desirable city in the fastest growing state in the nation," Nate Paul, president and chief executive at World Class Capital Group, told the Times. "Demand is outpacing supply for nearly every asset type downtown." More

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Sales tax holiday Aug. 17-19, 2012
Window on State Government    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In 2012, Texas shoppers get a break from state and local sales taxes on Aug. 17, 18 and 19 — the state's annual tax holiday. As in previous years, the law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced under $100 from sales and use taxes, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend. More

Southern Living showcase house coming to Austin
Austin Business Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Two Austin custom home builders are building a Southern Living magazine showcase home on Lake Travis that ultimately will be sold for $1.5 million. Currently under construction in Lago Vista at Waterford on Lake Travis, the 4,400-square-foot house will be finished around the holidays and will be shown to the public as a fundraiser for several weeks in February 2013. More

MCG - Strong, Reliable & Consistent

We have been providing quality insurance protection to the Texas building industry since 1993. Our A. M. Best Company rating is ‘A’. Our underwriting and claim staff are professional, knowledgeable and accessible. To locate an independent agent near you call Donna Black or John Gant @ 800-722-4994.

Health board to ask voters for 5-cent property tax hike for medical school
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Saying it could not pass up a potential federal windfall, the Central Health board unanimously voted to ask voters in November to approve a 5-cent property tax increase to maximize a local investment in health care improvement projects. The local and federal money would go toward educating doctors at a planned medical school in Austin and paying faculty, residents (doctors-in-training) and medical school students for the care they provide to low-income people in Travis County's public clinics and local hospitals. More

Private firm planning bullet trains in Texas by 2020
The Texas Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The leaders of Texas Central High-Speed Railway sound very confident for a company expecting to succeed where scores of state planners, elected officials and private interests have failed. The firm hopes to have bullet trains moving Texans at 205 miles per hour between Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston by 2020. The bit that has raised eyebrows: The company plans to do it without seeking public financing. More

Builder confidence continues to improve in August
NAHB    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes improved for a fourth consecutive month in August with a two-point gain to 37 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. This gain builds on a six-point increase in July and brings the index to its highest level since February of 2007. "From the builder's perspective, current sales conditions, sales prospects for the next six months and traffic of prospective buyers are all better than they have been in more than five years," said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. More

Oil boom brings scarcity of workers in small towns
The Associated Press via Amarillo Globe-News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The local prison is so short on guards that inmates can sometimes just walk away. A gas station barely has enough cashiers to keep up with the trucks filling the parking lot. And "help wanted" signs seem to hang from every restaurant and shop. Yet almost no one is interested in the jobs. This is the flip side of the nation's oil and natural gas boom. Although the expansion of drilling has breathed economic life into many small Oklahoma towns, the lucrative opportunities are also drawing people away from traditional service-sector jobs and even once-coveted state positions. More

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A&M grad construction program is one of first in US accredited by ACCE
ArchONE    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Master of Science in Construction Management program at Texas A&M University is one of the world's first graduate programs to earn accreditation from the American Council for Construction Education. Acting on recommendations from visiting accreditation teams composed of construction educators and industry professionals, the ACCE Board of Trustees approved its first ever graduate-level accreditations last July for the construction management programs at Texas A&M and Clemson universities. More

$385 million Austin bond package gets early approval
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Austin City Council gave preliminary approval to a $385 million bond package to put before Austin voters in November. The council cast the first of three required votes; it could revise the bond package further before it votes again. The package includes money to renovate libraries, improve parks, repair roads, and build or repair low-income housing, among other projects. It will be Austin's first full-scale bond package since 2006. the original list of needs would have required $1.5 billion. More

Master Brick announces the addition of MB2 BioClay!

This innovative product is quickly becoming the first choice for builders, architects and homeowners across the country. For more information on BioClay or any of the Master Brick products call 855-208-4639. Click here to check out our new website.

South Bexar fire scorches 50 acres
San Antonio Express-News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A brush fire near U.S. 281 and Mogford Road in South Bexar County burned nearly 50 acres the evening of Aug. 15, KSAT-TV says. Crews from at least eight volunteer fire departments spent several hours battling the fire, which broke out around 6 p.m. More

Eagle Ford Shale school districts offer housing to new employees
Corpus Christi Caller-Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Finding people to educate students has become increasingly difficult in areas such as Live Oak and McMullen counties since the Eagle Ford Shale boom hit the rural communities. As additional students pour into the area, there's no place for new staff to live. Years ago, McMullen County Independent School District built several houses on nearby land because it was hard for new teachers in the rural area to find a place to live. Now, with so much demand for housing that residents are adding on to their homes just to offer rooms for rent at steep prices, that problem has multiplied. More

Officials on track to settle Amtrak dispute
Fort Worth Star-Telegram    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
State officials say they may have found a way to fix a dispute between Amtrak and the Trinity Railway Express over the future of passenger train service in North Texas. If there is a breakthrough, Texas would avoid the embarrassment and the financial hit of sending $7.2 million in unspent federal stimulus funds back to Washington. More

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Unemployment stabilizing at lowest level since March
San Antonio Business Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Unemployment benefit applications were little changed in a sign that the labor market has stabilized after employment picked up in July, Bloomberg reports. Jobless claims were up 2,000 to 366,000 for the week ended Aug. 11, according to Labor Department figures. More

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Regulators tweak final offshore well rules
Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Federal regulators have issued a final set of standards meant to boost the design, cementing and safety of offshore wells in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster two years ago. The final drilling safety rule tweaks existing mandates issued in October 2010 in response to the lethal blowout of BP's Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico. More
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