ABOUT PHOTO: Leaders and supporters of LBOA at the March 18 meeting included (L to R): Emil Aikman, Seth Berman, Avi Mazous, Laura Flannery, Livery Round Table executive director Guy Palumbo, Mark Golston, LBOA president Sergio A. Sanchez, former NYTLC Commissioner and transportation attorney Matthew Daus, and Liam Tobin.
SUMMARY: The industry association is aligning with a key state senator to combat the burdensome MTA and sales taxes plaguing New York limousine and livery operators.
NEW YORK —State Senator Martin Golden was the star of the day at a free gathering organized by the LUXURY BASE OPERATORS ASSOCIATION (LBOA) on Friday, March 18 at Dante Caterers in the Bronx.
Golden was introduced by former NYTLC Commissioner Matthew Daus, as the one “who helped create safety standard policies from behind the scenes and who was doing his coming out that day.”
The meeting, however, was not about safety standards, but taxes: the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) tax and the 8.375% sales tax imposed by the state last year.
LBOA president Sergio Sanchez considers the MTA’s tax unfair. The MTA, which already imposed a tax on yellow cabs by getting 50 cents on every ride that a New York city yellow cab makes, is now targeting the luxury car industry.
“MTA is taxing our industry to fill a budget gap. I heard the news on Tuesday and we will fight this,” said Sanchez, also the executive vice president of Partners Executive Transportation in New York.
In this battle, LBOA is relying on the support of Golden, who represents Brooklyn's 22nd Senate District, and has proven himself effective on handling tax policy. He delivered the laws that eliminated the state’s sales tax on clothing and footwear, and helped lead efforts to eliminate the personal income tax marriage penalty.
For Golden, the MTA’s tax “is an anti-business tax and it’s all about making MTA more accountable fiscally to reduce the tax burden on the working transportation industry across the city.
“This is a bad policy,” Golden told LBOA operators and guests. “There is nowhere in the U.S. where an industry subsidizes its competition.”
The second enemy was the 8.375% sales tax. Even if sectors of the livery industry were able to pull itself out of the sales tax with a strong lobbying campaign last year, the black cars and luxury limousines have not been that fortunate.
Guy Palumbo, formerly an officer with LBOA and now executive director of the LIVERY ROUND TABLE, called for more unity in the industry and offered his support to repeal the tax. Palumbo also was honored by LBOA for his many efforts on behalf of the ground transportation industry in New York.
Golden added, “The industry should not be taxed to death, [it] should be respected.” With already 40% of business lost due to the bad economy, Golden wants to make sure that there is more money in the industry’s pocket, and more money for the businesses. “We need to get the economic engine working again.”
To reach that goal, Golden is ready to introduce a bill that will repeal the sales tax, but he knows that he can’t do it alone. To succeed in this mission, he will need the support of the entire industry. “We can do it if we all work together. It has been done before and we can do it again.”
Meanwhile, Sanchez didn’t just stay with his arms crossed, not doing anything. He started the Repeal the Tax Campaign and is ready to fight. “We already started a campaign along with Senator Martin Golden and we are getting everyone involved.”
LBOA, founded in 2008 to represent the interests of limousine and livery operators in the New York City metro region, has a stated mission “to provide a unified voice to protect the rights and interests of luxury base operators and to further ethical business practices between its members and the general public.”
— Reported by Isseu Diouf for LCT Magazine