Rochester, N.Y.—The Limousine, Bus, Taxi Operators of Upstate New York (LBTOUNY) convened its bi-monthly meeting in Rochester. Foremost on the agenda was the continued efforts to repeal the tax on limousines.
LBTOUNY has been working hard on repealing the unfair N.Y. state tax bill (A-8751A; S-4920) which is greatly inhibiting operators in the upstate New York area. Unfortunately, the original champion of the bill to repeal this tax, Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak (D-Cheektowaga), resigned in December 2013, but the cause is now being advocated by Assemblyman Robin Schimminger (D-Tonawanda). Their fight needs a total reboot after Gabryszak dropped the ball, but Schimminger, along with other supporters, appear committed to make this repeal happen at any cost.
All of this effort appears to have (finally) paid off because on March 13, the New York State Senate passed a senate budget resolution in their one house budget calling for the elimination of sales tax on black car and limousine services. There is still a good amount of work to be done to ensure that this repeal passes, and LBTOUNTY members are doing their level best to keep the awareness level high in the minds of the New York State Assembly and Governor Cuomo himself. This issue is still developing, so there will more to come in future updates.
Uber was also on the minds of LBTOUNY members, as it is with most people in the chauffeured ground transportation industry these days. There are rumblings that the company is looking to push northward in New York state. “Albany seems to be were a service like Uber would make the most sense,” says Kevin Barwell, president of LBTOUNY and VP/director of sales for Giorgio’s Limousine Service. “We’re trying to let our members know that Uber is a very real threat and we need to come up with a plan for when, not if, they move up this way.”
And finally, the installation of digital recording devices inside of livery vehicles was tabled for discussion. This is a law that has been passed, but seems to be at a standstill as the DOT as not done anything, one way or another, to address and/or enforce it, leaving the upstate N.Y. operators stymied.
Visit lbtony.com for more information.