WASHINGTON — Fifty-five Democratic members of the House of Representatives have called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Congressional leaders to temporarily suspend the federal excise tax (FTE) on the sales of heavy-duty trucks and trailers during the COVID-19 crisis.
The July 20 letter, signed by Rep. Chris Pappas, D-N.H., noted that the domestic trucking industry had played an important role in ensuring the delivery of vital medical supplies and essential consumer goods nationwide.
The names of 54 other members of Congress we listed below that of Pappas.
“Like other important industries that employ millions of Americans, the trucking industry has been impacted by the severe economic consequences of the pandemic,” the letter said. “To ensure this essential industry can more quickly recover, and to save jobs in the trucking industry, we urge you to temporarily suspend the 12% federal excise tax on heavy-duty trucks and trailers in future coronavirus recovery legislation.”
The letter followed by action taken by the American Truck Dealers (ATD), an offshoot of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), to dedicate a week in June as “Suspend the FET Week.”
ATD asked trucking industry stakeholders to advocate for the suspension of the heavy-duty trucks through 2021.
ATD said the COVID-19 pandemic brought heavy-duty truck sales down 62.5% in May 2020 compared to the same time a year ago.
The letter sent to Pelosi noted that during the COVID-19 pandemic alone, truck sales have plummeted below 50% of prior year sales.
“Major truck and trailer investments are being delayed and deferred,” the letter said. “Truck factories and showrooms have been closed, and thousands of employees have been furloughed. Immediate relief that extends until the end of 2021 is essential to supporting the workers in this industry. As a targeted, temporary stimulus measure, we urge that this relief be provided without hurting the already strained Highway Trust Fund.”
The ATD said the FET has grown from 3% to 12% since it was instituted in 1917 to help fund World War I, and with many fleet tractors ringing registers for around $150,000, it tacks an extra $18,000 onto most Class 8 trucks.
Suspension of the 12% FET on new heavy duty-trucks and trailers during this critical time could help fleets purchase new trucks and trailers, support U.S. truck and trailer manufacturing, supplier, and dealership jobs, and advance Congress’ goals of improving highway safety and reducing emissions.
“ We urge you to suspend the FET until the end of 2021 in upcoming coronavirus legislation as the best and fastest way to help save or restore trucking-related jobs and jumpstart the economic recovery of this vital sector,” the letter concluded.
Lyndon Finney’s publishing career spans over 55 years beginning with a reporter position with the Southwest Times Record in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in 1965. Since then he’s been a newspaper editor at the Southwest Times Record, served five years as assistant managing editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock and from November 2004 through December 2019 served as editor of The Trucker. Between newspaper jobs he spent 14 years as director of communications at Baptist Health, Arkansas’ largest healthcare system. In addition to his publishing career he served for 46 years as organist at Little Rock’s largest Baptist church.