Reps. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) and Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) offered the HR 2543 bill — known as the End Discriminatory State Taxes on Automobile Renters Act (EDSTAR) — as an amendment during a House Judiciary Committee on June 18.
After discussing the benefits of EDSTAR, they asked for future consideration before withdrawing the amendment. This bill would prohibit state or local governments from collecting new discriminatory taxes on car rentals. It was first introduced in June 2013 by Cohen and other representatives, including Congressman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.).
“… There is no place for discriminatory taxes in business,” said Cohen. “These taxes raise prices for consumers and harm our local employers. This is an unfair practice that must stop.”
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) supports Smith and Cohen’s effort with this bill.
“GBTA applauds Congressmen Jason Smith and Steve Cohen for supporting business travelers and understanding that today’s ‘road warriors’ pay their fair share through the form of fees that are already levied on air, bus and rail tickets, hotel rooms and other local sales taxes,” said Michael W. McCormick, executive director and COO of GBTA. “GBTA calls on Congress to protect consumers from an increase in these abusive taxes when they travel outside the boundaries of their home state.”
The American Car Rental Association (ACRA) continues to fight against the efforts of state and local governments to add discriminatory taxes on car rental customers, according to Sharon Faulkner, executive director of ACRA. She wants to engage car rental customers — the ones who actually pay these excessive taxes — in the national debate.
“Many industries have had success partnering with their customers on public policy issues where there is common ground,” said Faulkner. “We see an opportunity to engage our customers at the rental counter after they see their receipt — and the crushing amount of special taxes.”