“Divided” Congress After 2022 Elections 
With the Georgia Senate seat run-off completed and won by the incumbent Democrat, we now know that in 2023 the Senate will still be controlled by the Democrats by a thin 51 – 49 margin (with Sen. Sinema of Arizona adding to the drama by registering as an independent, but stating she will caucus with the Democrats).  In the House, the GOP will be in charge with a razor thin four seat majority (222 – 213) and a big challenge for likely House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to herd the “cats” in his caucus who have very different views of important federal policies.
To some, a divided Congress will mean 2023 and 2024 will result in fewer significant legislative achievements.  To others, a “blue” Senate and a “red” House means the parties must work together to get anything done, leading to more moderate, bi-partisan legislating.  There is no question that President Biden will be forced to turn more often to regulatory initiatives to achieve his policy goals since he won’t have the backing of both houses of Congress and that the House GOP leadership will exercise greater oversight of Administration actions by calling executive department heads to the Hill for close questioning.

2022 “Lame Duck” Congress Passes Huge Budget Bill – Without Full Expensing Fix
The House and Senate passed the “Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023” – an enormous $1.7 budget bill to fund most of the federal government through September 30, 2023 last week before they adjourned for the holidays.  Unfortunately, the leaders of the House and Senate were not able to come to an agreement on including a federal tax provision title in the 2023 omnibus bill, meaning that the scheduled sunset of full expensing for personal property – from 100% in 2022 to 80% in 2023 – will take effect as scheduled.  ACRA will be working hard in early 2023 to convince congressional leaders to pass a tax bill in the first half of 2023, including a retroactive suspension of the full expensing sunset.

On a positive note, the 2023 appropriations bill does include a mandate to create a new Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Travel and Tourism, to develop a 10-year plan to boost the domestic travel and tourism industry, and a report to Congress on the impact of the COVID pandemic on the industry – the car rental industry is specifically included in that report.  (Omnibus Travel Provisions)

NY Governor Vetoes VLF Bill 
In a setback, New York’s governor vetoed the ACRA-backed vehicle licensing fee legislation on December 16, 2022, citing the bill’s potential impact on consumers.  (NY VLF Veto Message) While planning for 2023 state legislative initiatives is still underway, you can be sure ACRA’s leaders will consider another VLF effort in New York.

ACRA 2023 Membership Dues Notices Going Out 
Sharon is busying sending out ACRA members’ annual membership due invoices this week.  Please be on the lookout for yours and process it to remain an ACRA member in good standing.  Remember, you can’t receive the ACRA discount for the Vegas car rental show (see below) unless your membership dues are up to date!

2023 International Car Rental Show – Save the Dates 
The 2023 ICRS will be held at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, NV from April 16 – 18, 2023.  Save the date and plan to join your international car rental colleagues in Vegas for yet another great conference!  Be Advised!  When ACRA members register for the 2023 ICRS, they must contact Sharon Faulkner before registering to obtain the registration discount code for ACRA members.  If you register for the 2023 ICRS and then try to secure the ACRA member discount, your request will not be permitted.  So, rejoin ACRA, get the ACRA discount code prior to registering for ICRS, and enjoy the full benefits of your ACRA membership!    Click Here To Register.

2023 ACRA D.C. Car Rental Conference – Change of Dates — Mark Your Calendars! 
Based on the success of this year’s 2022 ACRA D.C. Car Rental Conference, planning is underway already for the 2023 Conference.  Details to follow, but the dates have changed due to the 2023 congressional calendars.  Please mark your calendars for October 22 — 25, 2023 and plan to join your ACRA colleagues in Washington, D.C.

ACRA Comments on IRS Commercial EV Tax Credit Issues 
ACRA submitted comments to the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service on December 3, 2022 with respect to several questions asked by the agencies on the implementation of the commercial EV tax credit program from the 2022 Inflation Reduction ACT (IRA22).  A primary focus of ACRA’s comments was defining a “comparable” vehicle for determining the amount of the credit. A copy of ACRA’s comments is attached here – (ACRA IRS Comments).
On December 29, 2022, the IRA issued some guidance with respect to federal EV tax credits for personal and commercial use.  The IRS press release can be found at https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy1179 and a notice on commercial EV “incremental cost” issues for 2023 can be found at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-23-09.pdf.

ACRA Submits Its Recommendations on 2023 FAA Reauthorization Bill 
At the request of the staff of the Senate Commerce, Transportation and Science Committee, ACRA to submit its recommendations for federal policy initiatives for a 2023 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill.  Congress must pass an FAA bill by September 30, 2023 or risk shutting down much of the nation’s air travel.  If an agreement can’t be reached by 9/30/23, Congress has in the past passed short-term authorization bills to keep air travel moving.  ACRA’s priorities – which can be view here (ACRA FAA Comments to Senate Commerce) – focused on electrification of the land side of federally-assisted airports and equal treatment of all car rental operators by airport authorities. ACRA shared its recommendations with the two airport trade associations – the American Association of Airport Executives and the Airports Council International – North America – as well as the FAA staff on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

NHTSA Investigating Rentals of Vehicles With Open Recalls 
Several news organizations reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating reports that one or more car rental companies have rented vehicles with open safety recalls, which could violate a 2015 federal law prohibiting car rental companies from renting or selling vehicles in their fleets with unresolved safety recalls.  Some observers have stated that NHTSA doesn’t have the resources to enforce the 2015 law.  However, NHTSA appears to be taking these reports seriously and has launched an investigation.  All ACRA members should be aware of their obligations under this and other federal and state laws.

ACRA Membership Activity 
New Associate Members 

  • Flexways, Argentina
  • IdViewer LLC, Miami FL
  • Meter Feeder, Braddock, PA

Renewed Regular Operator Members

  • Avis Rent a Car, MN Sonjou Enterprises, Inc.
  • Avis Budget, Montgomery, AL
  • Budget Rent A Car, Las Vegas

Renewed Associate Members 

  • Bonzah.com (by Pablow, Inc) Grinnell, IA
  • Chargeback Gurus, McKinney, TX
  • Guidepoint Systems, Madison Heights, MI
  • NS Wash Systems, Inglewood, CA
  • TSD Mobility Solutions, North Andover, MA 
  • Zurich American Insurance Company, Schaumburg, IL 
  • Global Toll Services, Worldwide 
  • Nu Car Rentals, Worldwide

New Regular Operator Members

  • Luke Eleven Ventures, Inc. d/b/a Avis Budget, San Antonio, TX
  • Orion Automotive Company LLC, Huntsville, AL 
  • Top Elite Auto Sales, Inc. Conyers, GA