Sales taxes, Avis WeDriveU, and regulatory authority top industry association agendas, while golf tournaments help raise money and offer opportunities for operators to network.
Limousine Associations Of New Jersey
• LANJ has a tentative agreement with the legislature to have the “sales tax on service” repealed this fall when the legislature comes back after the election. In its place would be a flat $1.50 per trip fee that would be extended to all forms of ground transportation for hire, which would include 1-15 passenger vehicles including the chauffeur/driver, except for school buses and mortuary vehicles engaged in funeral service. Sen. Paul Sarlo (D), Vice Chairman of the Budget and Appropriations Committee, and Sen. Anthony Bucco (R), Budget Chair for the Republicans and a member of the Budget and Appropriations Committee, will be the sponsors of the measure.
• LANJ has been given a commitment that the bill to amend the Limo Law (A3634/S2716), including the language to create a level playing field with Avis and its WeDriveU chauffeured program, which passed the Assembly 68-10, will be moved in the Senate during the lame duck session in November/December.
Philadelphia Regional Limousine Association
• The PRLA will host a golf outing to raise monies for its legislative initiatives and the Make-A-Wish Foundation on Sept. 15, 2009, at the Loch Narin Golf Club in Avondale, PA. Anyone interested in participating or sponsoring the event should contact Michael Barretto at (610) 595-2222.
• The PRLA will be making a presentation to the Philadelphia airport’s executive director, Mark Gale, at its Sept. 9 meeting. This award is in appreciation of the professional working relationship between the airport and the limousine industry.
• The PRLA is continuing its initiative on SB 759 which would remove regulatory authority of the limousine industry form the Philadelphia Parking Authority and return it to the Public Utilities Commission. Operators are writing their state senators and representatives to request support for this legislation.
Luxury Base Operators Association
Members of the LBOA and other industry groups met with Taxi and Limousine Commissioner, Matthew Daus to discuss how the TLC will approach the Avis WeDriveU chauffeured service. LBOA would like the TLC to render a position on the Avis model.
Daus has committed to drafting a second letter to Avis’ counsel asking them what their operating intent is in New York City. In this letter, he will given them a reasonable amount of time to respond, and once that period has lapsed, the TLC will render a decision based on the outcome of the response.
LBOA’s board members had a second meeting with the TLC Commissioner to discuss the new rules which went into affect on July 1. LBOA is composing a list of FAQs about the new rules and the practical applications of them.
LBOA board members met with New York Police Inspector Riley, who is in the Traffic Control Division, to discuss issues such as idling and no standing zones. This meeting has opened up a dialog with the department, which the association plans to maintain. The inspector has committed to make the association aware of when the police department will be having zero tolerance days for these types of infractions so it can inform its members.
New England Livery Association
NELA held its 10th Annual George Colarullo Memorial Golf Tournament at the New England Country Club on Aug. 4. About 100 golfers participated and enjoyed a surf and turf dinner after the event. Top sponsors included Lancer Insurance, Herlihy Insurance Group, BostonCoach, Ford Motor Company, and Royale Limousine Manufacturers. Mike Pazzaneze of NELA, Sergio Sanchez of LBOA, David Eckstein and Arthur Messina, both on the NLA Board, teamed up for the event. Mike Callahan of Able Limousine, and director on the NELA Board, served as chairman of the tournament. Team MBT Worldwide, long-time NELA member, finished at 16 under in the best ball event. Proceeds from the tournament will go towards the ongoing operation of the NELA and to local charities.
Greater Orlando Limousine Association
• The Greater Orlando Limousine association (GOLA) is working with the city of Orlando and its mayor, Buddy Dyer, to work with the Vehicle for Hire Department to amend the rules that govern the limousine industry with regards to advertising on the back windows of vehicles and the front license plates. Additionally, the association would like the city to have a moratorium on permits until additional manpower is added to the department which governs the industry.
• GOLA will be presenting a check to Threshold Center for Autism from its first annual golf outing at its monthly meeting. The golf outing drew 45 participants with 20 sponsors. GOLA sponsored a foursome of the Orlando minority Youth Golfers Association allowing them to participate in the golf outing.
• GOLA hosted a 20-limousine scavenger hunt to benefit the American Cancer Society last month. Operators made in-kind donations to the organization which in turn sold tickets to participants.
• Commissioner Linda Stewart, who has been very supportive of the limousine industry, is running for mayor of Orange County. The association will be hosting a fund raiser for the commissioner’s campaign and will help out with other events.
Georgia Limousine Association
The GLA has been working on a number of legislative initiatives, most notably passage of the Alcohol Bill. This bill will allow limousine companies to buy alcohol for their clients and bill them for it. A second bill which recently passed placed control of the Georgia limousine industry under the Georgia Public Service Commission, which means that operators no longer need a business license as long as they are registered under the PSC and no longer have to pay occupational tax to the various municipalities.
Also, the bill eliminated tariffs entirely. There are no minimums or maximums that operators have to charge. This bill also provides that any limousine company that does any type of advertising such as newspaper or Yellow Pages or even Internet must include its motor carrier authorization number in the advertisement. A third bill which has passed in the Georgia legislature delineates between independent contractor drivers from employee drivers, and provides that unemployment compensation no longer must be paid by employers for drivers who are independent contractors.
The GLA is still working on a repeal of the state sales tax on service. Georgia is one of 11 states that require limousine companies to charge sales tax. Georgia operators are collecting 8% tax on their service.
Nassau Suffolk Limousine Association
NSLA has committed to bringing education and information to its members. At the last meeting, more than 50 companies attended. Attendees received information on various services that are discounted to association members such as Insurance by TIB, maintenance by Precision Auto Care, and tires from several vendors. The association is providing these discount programs as value added to its members. New York State Sales Tax remains a hot topic with the association. The next general meeting will be held Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.
Maryland Limousine Association
The MLA has established a Linked In Group for the association to encourage discussion and to create awareness of the group. The MLA invites industry members to join the group to see what is happening in the association and to chat with other industry members.
National Limousine Association
The NLA now has a presence on Facebook.com and is asking members to let them know what they would like to see on the NLA Facebook page and on its websites, Limo.org and NLARide.com. The NLA anticipates opening its own online networking forum for members on Limo.org soon.
Source: Linda Moore, LCT Magazine