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LANJ President Tim Rose (L) leads a strong team of association officers who monitor many issues on behalf of New Jersey operators while keeping them organized and informed; executive director Barry Lefkowitz (R) makes good use of legislative connections and political access in Trenton, New York and Washington, D.C. to advocate for LANJ.
LUMBERTON, N.J. — Limousine operators in New Jersey have unique challenges that vary from every other geographic location in the nation.
New Jersey sits among the metro areas of New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Operators in the state must support multiple airports across the Northeast urban corridor. Unlike its neighboring states of New York and Pennsylvania, New Jersey is not as heavily regulated nor forced to pay exorbitant fees and fines to do business. This mostly results from the diligence of a strong association, the Limousine Associations of New Jersey, which was given the 2013 LCT Association Award of Excellence on Feb. 6 at LCT's annual Awards Celebration in Las Vegas. But operators must stay abreast of the regulatory environment in New Jersey and nearby states.
To the association’s credit, New Jersey operators are afforded a rolling stock exemption which exempts them from paying sales tax on new vehicles, and parts, labor and services used to run their businesses. The purchase of one vehicle justifies an operator’s membership in the association.
Declining membership has been a challenge for operators in New Jersey, where the small operators are often unable to participate because they are driving their own vehicles or do not have staff to cover their offices. The weak economy has forced many smaller operators to forgo association membership as a means of cost cutting. The number of vendor members also has declined. New Jersey at one time boasted a number of limousine manufacturers. Today, names such as Di Vinci and Empire International are just entries in the industry’s history books. LANJ has managed to keep expenses constant and supplements its income from dues by regularly holding fundraisers.
When Hurricane Sandy hit the state in early November, Gov. Chris Christie gave an executive order requiring gas rationing by odd and even numbers. This requirement would have devastated the limousine industry. LANJ succeeded in immediately working with the lieutenant governor to get an exemption for all commercial vehicles in the state. This helped minimize the financial damage Sandy caused the industry.
Additionally, LANJ succeeded in getting legislation passed that required taxi drivers to get criminal background checks.
LANJ, through its executive director, Barry Lefkowitz, has a key seat at the table with the governor’s Passenger Transportation Advisory Council (PTAC) in modernizing and updating rules and regulations for all passenger vehicle transportation in the state. LANJ is looking at how an industry should work with government and create statutes that both protect the riding public and level the playing field.