Hockey great Phil Esposito (L) with LANJ executive director Barry Lefkowitz at the Jan. 18 LANJ meeting.
PARAMUS, N.J. — The Limousine Associations of New Jersey (LANJ) had a standing room crowd attending its Jan. 18 meeting. Mercedes Benz Fleet and Prestige Motors, Inc. in Paramus hosted the meeting at its new state-of-the-art facility. Attendees saw both Mercedes Benz sedans and newly configured Sprinters with shuttle seating direct from the dealership. LANJ has started the New Year in fast mode.
The association is working to create a decal to affix to member vehicles which will identify them as LANJ members. This will assist the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to identify those operators who are members of the association and are in compliance with the regulations.
LANJ has been working diligently to get a repeal on the sales tax on service. Their first go around passed in the New Jersey Senate and had wide support in the Assembly, but would not have gotten past Gov. Chris Christie. The association pulled back its efforts and has reintroduced its bills with bipartisan support. Assembly bill A1728 has been introduced by Assemblymen Paul Moriarty (D) and Lou Greenwald (D), and Assemblywomen Alison Littel McHose (R). The Senate Bill, S724, has been introduced by Senator Paul Sarlo (D) and Senator Anthony Bucco (R).
LANJ may change the wording so that the institution of the repeal would become effective in 2013. The change would mean that the bill would not have any effect on the current year’s budget which may be a deterrent to Gov. Christie signing it. LANJ executive director Barry Lefkowitz encouraged operators to join the grass roots fight to get these bills passed. LANJ has joined four other associations to form a new association called COTA, the Coalition of Transportation Associations.
COTA is led by Former New York City Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Matt Daus, who is also the president of the International Association of Transportation Regulators and Lefkowitz. Daus is now in private transportation law practice and is general counsel to LANJ. COTA consists of LANJ and the Luxury Based Operator Association of New York (LBOA), the Long Island Limousine Association, The Black Car Assistance Corporation and the Limousine Association of New York (LANY). Lefkowitz said COTA has worked to stop the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) from increasing of insurance liability minimums for limousines to $15 million. They have also stopped a proposed bill which would have drivers of for hire vehicles to be required to identify prostitutes. Drivers would first need to take a course to be able to do this.
Daus announced at the meeting that changes were in the works for the New York City base requirements. Operators now must have a minimum of 10 vehicles to obtain base rights. Smaller operators typically work under the base rights of larger companies. The new proposed legislation will bring down the requirements to only two vehicles.
Association members were treated to a presentation by Boston Bruins Hockey great Phil Esposito. Esposito is a client of Daus, who brought him to the meeting. The hockey great, now 70 years old, is selling credit card processing services to the industry. Esposito spoke candidly about his years in hockey and why he believes his team did not win the Stanley Cup in 1979. He spoke of the playoffs and winning the first game. The night before the second game he recalled hearing a ruckus in the hall outside of his hotel room. As senior guy, he had his own room. When he investigated, he found two of the best players whose names he vowed never to reveal wrestling naked with two women. He said he quietly went back to bed realizing that this was the end of their Stanley Cup possibilities. He also laughingly bragged about playing against his brother, Tony. “I played 53 games against him and scored 55 goals.” Esposito co-founded the Tampa Bay Lightning Franchise and is an analyst for the NHL on FOX as well as doing color commentating on Tampa Bay’s local radio station.
RELATED LCT ARTICLE ON LANJ SALES TAX REPEAL EFFORT HERE.
— Reported by Linda Jagiela for LCT Magazine