To support tax relief to the motorcoach, school bus, and passenger vessel industries devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), along with Reps. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), Albio Sires (D-N.J.) and John Rose (R-Tenn.) have introduced the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services Act or CERTS Tax Exemption Act (H.R. 7477).
If passed, the CERTS Tax Exemption Act would exempt CERTS grants from exposure to federal taxes.
“UMA Members deeply appreciate the CERTS grants intended as emergency relief funds,” said UMA President and CEO Scott Michael. “Imposing a tax bill on relief funds based on 2020 lost revenues but not received until August 2021 compounds an already difficult crisis as the motorcoach industry struggles to emerge from the disparate effects of COVID.”
Panetta said in the initial news release: “Motorcoach and passenger vessels are an important part of our tourism industry here on the Central Coast. Unfortunately, many of those businesses are still hurting from the financial losses that they suffered during the pandemic.
“Even though Congress provided some relief with the CERTS Act grants, this legislation that I authored and introduced with my Democrat and Republican colleagues would provide those businesses with the tools that they need to fully recover and continue being a cornerstone for our local economy,” he said.
Rose says he’s supporting the tax exemption for CERTS Act grants to provide these essential transportation services with the needed resources to fully recover and serve the tourism and hospitality industries.
“In Tennessee, the motorcoach industry plays a vital role in our state’s travel, tourism, and music industries,” said Rose in a statement to the Upper Cumberland Business Journal. “Unfortunately, they will be one of the last industries to recover. That recovery will only be made slower because of the taxes they must pay on Covid relief funds, unlike other tax-exempt pandemic relief programs. Taxing Covid relief funds tends to defeat the purpose of the program, so making the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) tax-exempt will put the motorcoach industry on a level playing field and a path to a quicker recovery to fully provide their services to the community.”
The UMA legislative team, along with a coalition that includes the American Bus Association, National School Transportation Association and Passenger Vessel Association, have been working closely with the bill’s sponsors.
UMA is working with U.S. senators to introduce a Senate version.