American Bus Association (ABA) President & CEO Peter Pantuso was recently a guest on Varney & Co. on Fox Business to discuss the state of the bus industry. The association has been fighting for federal assistance to assist the slow recovery of bus and motorcoach operators, many of which are family-owned businesses.
The bus industry scored a victory when the CERTS Act was passed in late 2020 and funds were dispersed in late summer, providing federal grants to beleaguered operators. However, associations like ABA and the United Motorcoach Association argued that the funding was too late and too little for many, and have argued for additional funds for the program thorough 2022. The return of travel has been uneven as many businesses are still employing remote workers and capping corporate travel.
In other news, ABA was one of more than 100 associations and organizations that signed on to a letter to oppose the anticipated changes to the estate tax in Congress’ Build Back Better framework. The Build Back Better bill is meant to complement the recently passed infrastructure bill by providing small business assistance, expanded Medicare coverage, reduced costs for child care, and expanded education for pre-K and community college students, to name a few. The changes to the tax would be used to pay for the proposed programs.
According to the letter, which was addressed to Chairman Ron Wyden of the Senate Finance Committee and Chairman Richard Neal of the House Ways and Means Committee: “Earlier this year, both the small business and agriculture communities identified taxing unrealized capital gains at death—a kind of ‘double death tax’—as an unworkable policy for family businesses. … Family businesses across a wide number of industries tend to operate on small margins with their value almost entirely tied up in equipment, machinery, land, buildings, and other non-cash assets. That makes paying taxes on imaginary gains problematic. It also creates difficulties when attempting to pay estate taxes when no profitable sale has occurred, only the death of a business owner. Family businesses without sufficient liquid reserves to pay new taxes on capital and a more aggressive estate tax will be forced to fire workers, close branches, or shut down the businesses altogether. No family business should be forced into losing their business, employees, and their legacy in order to pay multiple layers of tax on the same dollar.”
The letter stresses that Congress “should be single-mindedly focused on helping small businesses keep their doors open and their workers employed,” especially as the recovery has been shaky for many small and family-owned businesses.