Four US Representatives have rallied 89 of their colleagues to join them in calling for House leadership to exempt Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act grant funds from federal taxation in the next possible legislative vehicle. Representatives Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), Albio Sires (D-N.J.), and John Rose (R-Tenn.) led the effort over the past two weeks, and motorcoach operators across the country did their part, emailing and calling their representatives to ask them to sign the letter.
The CERTS Act, with $2 billion in funding, was signed into law in December 2020 and funds were dispersed to grant applicants beginning in August of 2021. The industries assisted by the grants include passenger vessels and school buses in addition to motorcoach companies.
United Motorcoach Association (UMA) Chairman Jeff Polzien said, “UMA thanks Representatives Panetta, LaHood, Sires, and Rose for their outstanding leadership on this issue, the other 89 members of the House of Representatives who joined them in this effort, and the many hundreds of members of UMA who engaged directly with their elected representatives. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress to see the tax exemption become law.”
“This is a matter of fairness,” UMA President & CEO Scott Michael said of the tax exemption. “Similar industry relief program grants to restaurants and shuttered venues are already exempted from federal taxation. It’s not surprising there is so much bipartisan support for this measure to be codified in the next possible legislative action. Our industry is grateful for the leadership of Representatives Panetta, LaHood, Sires, and Rose.”
The UMA lead a push with members to urge their representatives to back the tax exemption for the grants, to help struggling coach operators who were severely impacted by the COVID shutdowns and are now just getting back to work.
“We know many motorcoach operators do not expect to return to ‘normal’ business until sometime in 2023,” Michael added. “Exempting these struggling businesses from paying back a large portion of these emergency grants in taxes will hasten their recovery.”
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