ACRA members discussed the issues with Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Second District) at the sixth annual Day on the Hill meetings in September 2019. - Photo courtesy of ACRA.

ACRA members discussed the issues with Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Second District) at the sixth annual Day on the Hill meetings in September 2019.

Photo courtesy of ACRA.

The American Car Rental Association (ACRA) provided updates this week on the next stimulus bill as well as local and state priorities around the country:

Congress left town for its August recess without coming to an agreement on a stimulus 4.0 bill. A primary point of division between the negotiators is whether to send federal funds to state and local governments. 

House Democrats have earmarked $1.0 trillion for state grants to replace sales and income tax revenue lost during the pandemic, while the White House has resisted “bailing out” states that didn’t have a “rainy day fund” in place to cover state budget shortfalls. Congress returns for a short session this week before adjourning until after the November elections. 

Signals from the White House and House Democrats are that the sides have reached an agreement on a short-term government spending bill to prevent the federal government from shutting down at the end of the fiscal year (9/30). But there appears to have been little progress over the August recess on a compromise 4.0 pandemic bill with the two sides trading jabs and posturing for voters rather than negotiating seriously. 

ACRA continues to press for the following policies in a 4.0 bill: 

  • Restoring Liquidity – All provisions that would restore liquidity not just to the car rental industry but to many industries impacted by the pandemic. 
  • Airport Issues – ACRA has joined with other airport concessionaire groups and representatives of airport operators to push for $3.5 billion in MAG relief and rent abatement as part of a 4.0 bill.
  • Liability Protection – Negotiators have not engaged in serious talks on a pandemic liability reform bill to date – current talks are focused on funding issues. In late July, ACRA joined with over 500 other associations that supports the inclusion of liability provisions in a 4.0 bill sent to the president.
  • Travel Tax Credit – The concept of a federal tax credit or travel voucher to boost travel in the future has not gained traction today on Capitol Hill. 
  • Cleaning Tax Credit – Early in August, ACRA signed on to an association letter that supports a payroll tax credit that permits companies to deduct 50% of the costs of pandemic-related cleaning supplies and facility modifications. 

Other Updates and News

  • Chicago Predatory Towing – ACRA presented testimony at a virtual hearing of the Chicago City Council’s Finance Committee in support of a proposal to regulate companies that engage in predatory towing in the city. 
  • New York Prevailing Wage – Passed legislature and on governor’s desk. 
  • Massachusetts – Repeal of industry sales tax exemption appears to have died for now.
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