People

N.C. Limo Group Succeeds With Airports and Taxes

Posted on April 8, 2013 by Denis Wilson, LCT East Coast editor

In 2004, the limousine industry in North Carolina had a poor relationship with the Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU). Operators weren’t even welcome at airport authority meetings. “Whenever folks from the limo industry showed up they were asked to leave or escorted away,” said Carolyn Henson, president of the North Carolina Limousine Association.

Carolyn Henson, president of the NCLA, leads an association keen on building relationships with legislators and airports.
Carolyn Henson, president of the NCLA, leads an association keen on building relationships with legislators and airports.

One of the NCLA’s biggest accomplishments has been rebuilding its relationship with the airport authority. In 2004, the group reformed with new membership and approached the RDU to start a dialogue. After its first meeting with the airport ground transportation director, the NCLA invited the director to its meetings, and have since held some meetings onsite at the terminal conference center.

Today, the NCLA and the airport work well together. “The airport authority ground transportation director has been very helpful,” Henson said. “They’ve asked for input on what our operators need to do business at the airport.”

In fact, in 2012, the ground transportation director attended a meeting, and midway through, said the authority wanted to keep open communication. “They asked if there is a way for them to join the organization. We met as a board and they are actually an official member now. That doesn’t happen. To have them actually join, that was a huge accomplishment for us.”

Henson attributes this success to constant contact and avoiding an adversarial approach. “Temperament has a lot to do with relationships,” Henson said. “If you make it an all-encompassing relationship, it opens up a better channel for information. We understand where they’re coming from, and they get our point of view. It’s better to make them your friend than your enemy.”

Taxes
With that bump behind them, a new challenge lay ahead for the NCLA. A proposal for a statewide sales tax on the service industry has been floated by the Republican-controlled North Carolina General Assembly. The tax is being sold as a way to eliminate North Carolina’s income and corporate taxes. But the service tax would have profound effects on operators, says Henson, adding as much as eight percent to service fees. Also, because Republicans control the North Carolina House and Senate, the proposal has teeth.

Fortunately, the NCLA has fought this battle before. In 2009, the industry faced a similar looming sales tax. The association met with elected officials and spoke on behalf of the industry. They prevailed in stopping a statewide sales tax for luxury ground transportation through a grassroots effort that also encouraged non-active members to speak up. “We bombarded them with emails, phone calls, and letters and they pulled it off the table,” Henson said.

Once again, the NCLA is gearing up for a campaign. “It is important for the NCLA to come forward and explain why this would be detrimental to so many businesses in our state. When we talk to our senators it does hit home on how legislation can affect small operators.” NCLA member Diane McLean was elected to chair the Legislative Committee, and will spearhead a “mini” Day on the Hill to let state legislatures know their position.

Expansion
To broaden its base, the NCLA is considering allowing all ground transportation companies in North Carolina that operate for-hire Z-plated vehicles to join the association. This would include bus companies, para-transit, and ground delivery services. A vote will be held on the matter at the next meeting.

Looking forward, the association also wants to encourage out-of-state operators to become members to grow the NCLA into more of a regional group. “South Carolina does not have an organization,” Henson said. “We do have members in surroundings states. Obviously that gives us more of a voice.”


North Carolina Limousine Association
Location: North Carolina
Founded: 1989
Officers/Leadership: Carolyn Henson, President (Prestige Limousine): Jerry Thomas, 1st Vice President (Prime Time Limousines): Teddy Crider, 2nd Vice President (Meridian Town Cars); Jamisha Breland, Treasurer (Certified Limousine); Lenora Bowman, Secretary (Johnny B’s Limousine Service)
Operator Members: 25
Other Members: 5
Vehicle Regulating Agency: NCDOT
Annual Vehicle Permit Fees: $78 per vehicle license plate and any local permit fees may apply
Annual Dues: $100, 1-5 cars; $150 6-10 cars; $200 11+
Meetings: Bi-monthly
Charity Support: Make-A-Wish Foundation
Contact: Carolyn Henson (910) 409-4316
Website: nclimo.org

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Mobility Expert Joins Executive Ranks At Blacklane

The new COO/CFO will apply his experience to improving customer service on the ground and online.

Limo Patriot Ride Revs Up For Military Cause

The award-winning fundraiser serves as the ideal capstone to the International LCT Show.

2017 Operator Of The Year Awards Ready For You

The industry's leading business achievement awards program officially launches Dec. 1 and takes entries until Feb. 1, 2017.

Jerry Robbins, Boston Operator, 1956-2016

Robbins, who ran Weldon Worldwide in Boston for 16 years, was the first winner of the LCT People’s Choice Humanitarian Award.

UMA President Vic Parra To Retire Early Next Year

Parra was first appointed president/CEO in 1998 and was the second person to hold this job since the start of the association.

See More News

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (0)

Post a Comment

Submit

Blogs

See More

See More

See More

See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - December 2016 $12.95 GLOBAL/INTERNATIONAL ISSUE COVER STORY: * The Coolest Operators on the Planet * *



Connect

Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close