The American Car Rental Association (ACRA) outlines its approach to the next round of federal stimulus:
The focus in D.C. has now shifted to whether – or perhaps when – there will be a fourth pandemic relief/economic stimulus package considered and enacted – variously called Stimulus 4.0 or CARES 2.0.
While Congress is not scheduled to be in formal session in early May, House and Senate leaders and the chairs of various key congressional committee are already in discussions about what a 4.0 package should look like.
House Speaker Pelosi continues to press for funds for state and local governments, which face massive layoffs and potential bond defaults due to reduced tax income from reduced economic activity. Senate Majority Leader McConnell stated that he would like to see liability protections for businesses operating during the pandemic.
ACRA’s Board, the COVID-19 Task Force, and Legal and Legislative Committee have been working on establishing ACRA’s priorities for the next stimulus bill. ACRA’s 4.0 priorities are:
- Restoring Liquidity – adoption of a program to assist car rental companies to reduce their debt or fleet sizes, or perhaps to shore up the used car market, until the car rental business picks up again;
- Airport Issues – working on two fronts: (1) working with government agencies to encourage airports to provide relief from MAGs, rent abatement and CONRAC fees; and, (2) seek federal grants to airports to make up for reduced MAG payments from all concessionaires, including car rentals;
- Liability Protection – As essential businesses that must keep operating during the pandemic, car rental companies should not be open to lawsuits if a renter or passenger suspect he or she has contracted the virus while in a rental car if the company has taken reasonable steps to sanitize the vehicle; and,
- Travel Tax Credit – provide tax credits for businesses and individuals for airline ticket purchases, car rentals, hotel stays, etc. to jumpstart corporate and leisure travel once the public health emergency is over.
Regarding state and local developments:
- New York City — ACRA sent the attached letter to the New York City Council opposing a proposal to mandate supplemental compensation for workers in essential businesses, including car rentals, during the pandemic.
ACRA also joined with other New York City business operators in the attached letter opposing additional Council proposals to prohibit layoffs without just cause or classified a person that works for a business for 80 hours a year as an employee.
- Other States — In addition to business interruption insurance getting attention in DC, several states such as NY, OH, NJ, MA, PA and LA are considering similar legislation. There are also states that are looking to extend workers’ comp coverage to cover COVID-19 for certain workers, which ACRA is tracking.
ACRA reports that it will provide a more complete state summary of activity in an upcoming issue.