Columbus Voters Reject $4 Per-Day Car Rental Tax

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Voters in Columbus, Ohio, soundly rejected a proposed $4-per-day car rental tax on Tuesday, Nov. 5, representing a major victory for local car rental operators and their customers.

Despite the backing of Mayor Michael B. Coleman and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, a meager 38% of all city voters favored the tax. If passed, the tax would have generated revenue for the city's general fund.

"This should go down in car rental history and serve as a model for future campaigns against car rental taxes," said Kevin Miles, who manages the local Budget Rent A Car franchise. "Seven different companies – licensees and corporate stores -- all came together to defeat this tax. Everybody worked together and spent money, time and energy to make this happen."

A coalition of car rental operators, working closely with the Ohio Taxpayers Association, placed the tax measure on the ballot through a petition drive. The city council passed the tax in June.

Leaders of the anti-tax campaign included Miles and Chris Ray of Budget Columbus, Thrifty licensee Michael Reynolds, Hertz licensee Blaine Byers, Kevin Ifkovits of Enterprise, Don Nystrom of Avis, Natalie Martin and Richard Martin with the local National Car Rental licensee, and Todd Greenleaf of Dollar Rent A Car. Scott Pullins, chairman of the Ohio Taxpayers Association, managed the campaign.

"Our grassroots efforts went a long way in educating the public -- even though early on, it seemed like the odds were stacked against us," said Ifkovits, city rental manager for Enterprise in Columbus. "There was so much misinformation given, and we heard that a lot of cities in Ohio were monitoring this vote very closely. It's nice to see the industry pull together to defeat this and try to shift the momentum."

A crucial element of the anti-tax campaign was refuting the city’s claim that only visitors would pay the tax. After all the local car rental companies submitted private financial data to an independent accounting firm, the firm concluded that local residents would represent 52% of those customers subject to the tax.

Other groups supporting the car rental coalition’s grassroots campaign included the Association for Car and Truck Rental Independents and the Ohio Alliance of Car Renting Agencies.

Comment On This Story

Comment: (Max. 10000 characters)  
Please leave blank:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.

Newsletter: Sign up to receive latest news, articles, and much more.

Read the latest

Auto Focus Blog: A blog covering fleets, auto rental and the business of cars

Auto Rental Summit: Five Trend Lines

Taking in the seminars, discussions, and networking at the 2016 Auto Rental Summit, trend lines emerged around shifts in model mix, data protection issues, increasing labor costs, workforce engagement, and new platforms to rent cars.

Why Do We Visit Capitol Hill?

Members of the American Car Rental Association met with U.S. senators, representatives, and their aides last week. Here’s why bringing the message to this forum matters.

The Customer Isn’t Always Right

Not caving to a customer with a blatant agenda may have consequences, especially for a small rental company that relies on stellar Yelp ratings to advertise. But business integrity must prevail.

Job Finder: Access Top Talent. Fill Key Positions.