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.