Equipment

Lawmakers, Industry Press for No FET Hikes on Trucks

September 13, 2013

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Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House to discourage any increase in the 12% Federal Excise Tax on the purchase of heavy-duty trucks and trailers.

The bipartisan measure from Reps. Reid Ribble, R-Wis., and Tim Walz, D-Minn., comes as there has been talk on Capitol Hill about increasing the tax while Congress is looking at new ways to raise additional money for the Highway Trust Fund, which is used to pay for federal road building projects.

The resolution notes truck prices have increased dramatically in recent years due to various federal mandates and that future ones will increase prices even more, further increasing the FET on each vehicle. It claims any increase in the FET would add “uncertainity and volatility to the Highway Trust Fund.”

Several trucking groups have issued statements supporting the resolution, including the American Truck Dealers.

“The existing 12% levy on heavy duty trucks is already the highest excise tax imposed by Congress on a percentage basis,” said Dick Witcher, chairman of the American Truck Dealers and a Massachusetts International and Ford truck dealer.

“The FET adds thousands of dollars to a commercial truck that already costs well over $100,000. With a highway bill and comprehensive tax reform on the agenda in Washington, House Concurrent Resolution 52 sends a clear message to Congress that hiking the FET on commercial trucks should not be on the table,” he said. “Since all the heavy-duty trucks sold in the U.S. in 2012 were manufactured in North America, increasing the FET would hurt the 3.65 million Americans employed in the selling, servicing, manufacturing and operating of these vehicles."

Also supporting the resolution is the Truck Renting and Leasing Association.

In a statement it said, “While TRALA supports a robust, well-funded Highway Trust Fund, the FET on trucks and trailers is an ineffective and volatile means of funding the HTF. The availability of FET monies to fund the Highway Trust Fund is closely tied to the economy and cycles in truck and trailer purchasing.”

Additional supporters of the resolution include: American Highway Users Alliance, Mack Trucks, Meritor, Meritor WABCO, Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, National Trailer Dealers Association, National Truck Equipment Association, Navistar, Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association and Volvo Trucks North America.

The passage of House Concurrent Resolution 52 will not result in a statutory prohibition against raising the FET. However, supporters of it say its consideration and passage will send a strong message to Congress and the White House that raising the FET is not the right solution.

You can read the complete resolution on the TRALA website at: http://www.trala.org/Files/Legislative%20Bulletins/RIBBLE_022_xml.pdf

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