WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressional officials, after
hearing from National Limousine Association leaders
during their third annual “Day on the Hill,” said they will
move toward introducing a measure that would
eliminate the much-reviled Gas Guzzler Tax.
Joanna Foust, the legislative assistant of Rep. Dave
Camp, R-Mich., presented a draft proposal to NLA
officials and said she had received phone calls of
support from the offices of six other congressmen
visited by NLA officials.
NLA president Scott Solombrino expressed cautious
optimism that the NLA’s long-time goal of removing the
tax might now be moving forward but acknowledged
that congressional approval of the measure remains
“We can only hope to have it done by the end of [this
congressional] session, which is December 2004,”
The Day on the Hill, led by NLA lobbyist Barry Lefkowitz,
brought 25 NLA leaders to Washington to meet with
congressional officials. They split into teams and
visited the offices of 35 senators and representatives in
15- to 30-minute increments during a seven-hour blitz.
They told elected officials and their staffs that
limousines now get better mileage than when the tax
was first imposed and no longer “guzzle” gas. They
also noted that limousines are designed to carry
several passengers and actually help take vehicles off
The tax, which ranges from $1,300 to $2,100 per
vehicle, is imposed on coachbuilders, who pass it
along to the operators who purchase their vehicles. It
was imposed on several industries in 1991 but has
since been lifted for all but limousines.
In presenting the gas guzzler draft legislation to Don
Kensey, of Au Premiere Limousine in Bellmawr, N.J.,
and chair of the NLA Legislative Committee, Foust said
she had received phone calls of support from the
offices of Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., and Reps.
Michael Capuano, D-Mass.; Joseph Knollenberg, R-
Mich.; Jerry Costello, D-Ill.; Richard Neal, D-Mass., and
Rob Andrews, D-N.J., all of which had earlier been
visited by NLA members.
NLA leaders also lobbied congressional officials to
revoke a potentially damaging overtime wage rule.
Department of Transportation officials recently changed
a regulation that, under certain situations, now requires
limousine operators to pay overtime wages to their
chauffeurs, dispatchers and reservationists.
Rep. Andrews said he would write Transportation
Department Secretary Norman Mineta explaining the
position of the limousine industry and asking him to
revoke the change.
The “Day on the Hill” concluded at a fundraiser, where
the NLA presented a check for more $20,000 to help
finance the re-election effort of Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Blunt introduced the Real Interstate Driver Equity Act,
which was signed into law in November of 2002 and
prohibits states from imposing laws or fees on
vehicles licensed in other states.