The New ACRA: Going to Bat for You

The town of Revere, Mass., bordering Boston’s Logan International Airport, recently enacted a $10 tax on each car rental generated in the city. The windfall will be used to build police and fire stations. How car rentals are tied to police and fire stations is anyone’s guess, but that doesn’t much matter to Mayor Tom Ambrosino.

"We try to shift the (tax) burden away from our citizens as much as we can," he told USA Today.

Ambrosino is, of course, protecting his constituents. But he and the legislators in Revere are raising money with bad legislation and bad tax policy because it is politically expedient. It is the path of least resistance.

The car rental companies in Revere may have tried to get their voices heard on this tax issue. But if they had a national organization to bring their grievance to—-an organization that could help them mobilize a local coalition of agencies, one that could give them the blueprint to fight the legislation, and speak on their behalf—-the tax may not have passed.

That organization will be the new American Car Rental Association, says Sean Busking, ACRA’s executive director. It is the only national association exclusively representing the auto rental industry on the legislative front.

ACRA’s prime directive is the betterment of the industry by fighting excessive excise taxes and supporting and promoting sensible legislation that will benefit all of its members. “We are aligning current and prospective members with the fact we are standing on a platform that is 100 percent legislatively focused,” says Busking. “That fact, and that fact alone, is the reason for our existence.”

Meet Sean Busking, Executive Director
The new ACRA was born in 2005. After assembling the board of directors the first order of business was to search for and hire a full-time executive director.

Sean Busking brings 16 years of managerial, operational, financial and instructional experience in the car rental industry to the table.

Busking directed customer service and incremental sales on a national level for Vanguard, oversaw sales and operations training for Vanguard on a regional level, managed fleet and staff for National and Alamo in major markets and got a Payless franchise off the ground and profitable (to name a few of his accomplishments).

Busking saw personally the effects of excessive excise taxes on the front lines. Part of his training duties included educating the counter employee on how to reasonably and intelligently explain to the renter where all the taxes come from.

Busking knows how these taxes hurt incremental sales, an important source of income for a rental agency. When taxes outweigh the cost of an optional item such as a collision damage waiver, the customer starts to prioritize his or her spending and cut out the extras.

“Customers generally have a total price in mind on whether to include various optional items and services prior to reaching the rental counter. Unfortunately, excise taxes are not optional,” says Busking. “They are an additional, unbudgeted expense that often forces the consumer to remove wanted and needed products.”

CONTINUED:  The New ACRA: Going to Bat for You
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