WEST ORANGE, N.J. — The LIMOUSINE ASSOCIATIONS OF NEW JERSEY (LANJ) is working closely with the New Jersey state legislature to eliminate the sales tax on limousine service. New Jersey has gone through an extensive redistricting which has put all 120 seats of the legislature up for election as a result of the redistricting plan.
LANJ President Tim Rose (L) and LANJ executive director Barry Lefkowitz (R) host guest speaker Grace Hanlon, the director of Tourism for the state of New Jersey, at the May 18 association meeting.
“We need a strong grass roots effort by all of members in order for this to get done,” LANJ President Tim Rose said. “With the number of changes that have occurred and will occur with the next election, it is more important than ever that we keep up the work through every member of our association.”
LANJ members, through their PAC, will be attending a number of political events where they will get the ear of key members of the legislature. “With the redistricting, many of the members of the state legislature who were for our fight are now in a fight of their own to hold their seats,” said Barry Lefkowitz, executive director of LANJ. “The administration wants to help small businesses and we certainly fit that category. Putting a tax on our industry was inconsistent with that.”
LANJ held an auction at the meeting to fund the PAC, raising more than $10,000 through the donations of members and vendors.
One concern the association has is that Gov. Chris Christie has vetoed every bill pertaining to taxes. They hope to get the repeal “sunsetted,” which means that it will not take effect immediately but rather some time in 2012 or 2013.
The Governor’s office has contact LANJ about the sales tax on service and has asked for briefing information to become more aware of the plight of operators, Lefkowitz said.
Lefkowitz was recently appointed to the newly formed NEW JERSEY PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE. Lefkowitz will meet for the first time with the committee on June 9 to frame the direction for the future. The new committee will replace the State Limousine Advisory Board (SLAB), which was formed in 2000.
Lefkowitz said SLAB will become a subcommittee of the Passenger Transportation Committee, which deals with all forms of passenger transportation and includes limousines. SLAB likely will become an advisory arm to the new committee, he said.
LANJ leaders also plan to meet with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on a number of issues that affect operators at the Newark International Airport. The group meets annually with officials from the Port Authority as a way to keep a running dialogue between the two parties and make the authority aware of problems and issues of interest to operators, Rose said.
On July 13, LANJ will host a workshop by Tom Dupper of Site Dynamics. It will show members how they can improve their Internet marketing. The workshop is free to all members and a nominal fee of $25 for non-members will be imposed.
LANJ is assessing their performance in the eyes of their members through a short survey which is being sent to members with the help of LCT Magazine. The association is querying the members on what information they would like to see from the association and how the group can help members operate their businesses better.
The director of Tourism for the state of New Jersey, Grace Hanlon, attended the LANJ meeting speaking on the importance of the industry to tourism in the state. “You are the first faces visitors to our state see when they arrive at a transportation center,” Hanlon said. “You are very important to the economy of the state and to tourism. The governor has set up the tourism district in Atlantic City. I will bring to the attention of the governor that the association should have a seat on that committee.”
Reported by Linda Jagiela, for LCT Magazine