American Truck Dealers (ATD) Host Congressional Fly-in
WASHINGTON (June 15, 2016) Commercial truck dealers traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to urge their House and Senate members to freeze the federal excise tax (FET) on the sale of most heavy-duty trucks, tractors and trailers at its current rate of 12 percent.
The American Truck Dealers (ATD) second annual fly-in included 67 congressional meetings on Capitol Hill, congressional guest speakers and legislative briefings during ATD's summer board meeting from June 7-8. ATD, which represents more than 1,800 medium- and heavy-duty truck dealerships, is a division of the National Automobile Dealers Association.
“Many members of Congress have never stepped foot in a truck dealership, yet they are charged with creating laws that impact our businesses every single day. That's why dealer outreach to our legislators on Capitol Hill and back home at the dealership is very important,” said ATD Chairman Steve Parker.
Parker, president of Baltimore Potomac Truck Centers in Linthicum, Md., added that these interactions build face-to-face relationships with elected officials in Washington, D.C., and provide an opportunity for dealers to emphasize the vital role they play as employers in the trucking industry and in communities across the country.
“When you raise the taxes on new, clean, efficient trucks you encourage people to buy old, dirty trucks and you don't move the economy,” said Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) in remarks to the ATD board members on June 8. “[Raising the FET on trucks] is detrimental to business and has unintended consequences. One of those unintended consequences is people purchase older trucks that actually have higher carbon emissions.”
Last year, Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) and Rep. Walz introduced H. Con. Res. 33, a bipartisan resolution that puts Congress on record in opposition to a FET increase. The measure currently has 31 House cosponsors. Last month, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) introduced the Senate version, S. Con. Res. 40.
Rep. Walz, who is serving in his 5th term in Congress, stressed the importance of dealers inviting their elected officials to the dealership, putting them in cabs and explaining the industry, innovation and what dealers do.
“Members of Congress need to understand your business,” Rep. Walz added. “We need to make sure to get the policies right.”
Rep. John Duncan (R-Tenn.), while addressing the group at ATD's meeting, discussed the importance of elected officials understanding how the private sector works and how small- and medium-sized businesses operate at a time when congressional turnover is at its highest point in history.
“Fifty-eight percent of the House is new since 2010,” said Rep. Duncan, who was elected to Congress in 1988. “People who spend their whole lives in government just do not understand the pressures, they don't understand what it takes to a meet a payroll and the difficulty of laying off people during tough times.”
In addition to the presidential election, a total of 469 seats in the U.S. Congress are up for grabs on Nov. 8, 2016. That includes 34 Senate seats and all 435 House seats.
“The only thing I can tell you for certain is the pendulum swings,” Rep. Duncan added. “Sometimes it swings for you and sometimes it swings against you.”
Laura Perrotta, senior director of NADA/ATD Legislative Affairs, called the ATD fly-in a huge success and highlighted the importance of truck dealers having their voice heard on Capitol Hill as well as setting up meetings at the dealership during congressional recesses.
“We encourage truck dealers across the country to host their members of Congress this summer when they are back home in their districts,” Perrotta said. “Building a long-term relationship with your legislator can start with one visit.”
ATD board members with truck dealerships in California, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, South Carolina and Wisconsin, as well as Automotive Trade Association Executives (ATAE) and dealers representing Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin participated in Capitol Hill visits over the two-day ATD fly-in.
Other ATD legislative priorities include informing Congress about dealer concerns with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) jointly proposed new (Phase 2) commercial truck and engine, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fuel economy rules and its impact on truck dealerships, employees and the economy.
ATD continues to educate members of Congress about the need for comprehensive tax reform that addresses individual as well as corporate tax rates, including the need for preserving LIFO (last in, first out) and the current tax treatment of like-kind exchanges, Perrotta added.
For more information on H. Con. Res. 33, S. Con. Res. 40 and ATD's other legislative priorities, click here.