ATA Executing Full-Court Press to Pass GOP Tax Plan

November 7, 2017

By David Cullen

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ATA's Spear Photo: Evan Lockridge
ATA's Spear Photo: Evan Lockridge

The American Trucking Associations appears committed to leaving no stone unturned in its quest to see the tax-reform plan introduced on Capitol Hill on Nov. 2 passed into law and signed by President Trump. 

In a Nov. 6 message to the trucking lobby’s members as well as in a Nov. 2 letter sent to every member of the House and Senate, ATA President and CEO Chris Spear “makes it clear” that “early enactment of significant federal tax reform is critical for the U.S. trucking industry and for the nation’s economy in general.” 

In his letter to Congress, Spear succinctly explains why passage of the GOP’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is ATA’s highest legislative priority.  He said the bill embodies “three basic principles,” lowering tax rates on business income, broadening the tax base to render it more equitable, and significantly simplifying the enormously complex tax code, that “will all benefit motor carriers.” 

He added that lowering the corporate rate will “free up cash to invest in newer, safer, cleaner, and more efficient equipment, while also helping carriers pay drivers more and make necessary investments in workforce development. Broadening the tax base to allow such rate reductions will eliminate special tax breaks enjoyed by industries that are more heavily dominated by large business entities than trucking. Tax simplification will alleviate the very considerable burden of compliance the current tax code imposes on small businesses.”

In his message to ATA members, Spear emphasized that as desirable as the tax package is to trucking stakeholders, it is a “lengthy and detailed” piece of legislation so its provisions “could apply to businesses (i.e. size) differently.” That’s why he urged “ATA members to work with their legal or accounting teams for advice in assessing the likely effects of the proposal on their businesses.” 

Spear also advised that ATA staff has met with the Senate Leadership and Finance Committee staff about moving tax reform forward. “The meeting was requested by the Senate Majority Leader’s tax staff and was attended by roughly two dozen supportive associations and interested businesses and lobbyists,” he stated. 

According to Spear, the meeting revealed “important pieces of information,” the significance of which he described as such: 

  • “There are five steps to get a final tax reform bill to the President’s desk, and Senate and House Leadership intend to have three of the five completed by Thanksgiving: House Ways and Means Committee markup, House Floor final passage, and Senate Finance Committee markup.  (The final two steps will be Senate Floor passage and “Conferencing” the bills.)”
  • “Permanence, especially for the corporate rate is the goal for the Senate, but the Senate budget reconciliation rules are different than what the House faces.  Revenue raisers will be a part of that process, as they have been in the House, to a different degree.”
  • “All those who support this tax reform effort who are willing should let Members of Congress know, particularly in their District and State offices.  CEOs and managers who have growth plans that are tied to tax reform are welcome, as are employees who are aware of how resulting growth and relieving the tax burden directly impact them.”
  • “The Senate floor vote should come after Thanksgiving, and advocacy and education will be important throughout the process.”

Spear added that along with lobbying Members of Congress, “ATA will be working with our State Executives and many of you to help amplify how vital this issue is to our industry and to the economy… and we are here to help as you may wish to do local or state media or advocacy.”


  1. 1. Gerald [ November 08, 2017 @ 06:39AM ]

    Interesting headline - GOP Tax Scheme.

    How about Tax Plan or Tax Proposal or Tax Reform?

    Looks to me like the writer of this article is a little biased?

    Remember - words hurt and I don't want my free speech zone to be attacked.

  2. 2. SLM [ November 08, 2017 @ 07:04AM ]

    Gerald, exactly what I thought. More proof of media bias? Yes, why else would it be called a "scheme". I don't own a business but I work in one and I have to believe that a lower corporate tax rate, although it will benefit the rich, will trickle down to be a benefit for all.

  3. 3. Steve [ November 08, 2017 @ 07:14AM ]

    It's a "Scheme?" Did Hillary write the headline ?

  4. 4. Frank Schwab [ November 08, 2017 @ 07:24AM ]

    Poor choice of headline language "tax scheme" implies something underhanded ; support of tax plan would at least be neutral!

  5. 5. PSH [ November 08, 2017 @ 08:23AM ]

    Definition of Scheme: a large-scale systematic plan or arrangement for attaining some particular object or putting a particular idea into effect.

    Seems correct to me. Sorry you snowflakes are so hurt by a word.

  6. 6. Carlton [ November 08, 2017 @ 10:03AM ]

    I thought ATA's highest priority was ELD, so they could put small business out. The word scheme thru me, but I guess it is something to benefit them. RASBERRIES to Chris Spears.

  7. 7. David Brantley [ November 08, 2017 @ 09:24PM ]

    Ata wants truckers to buy new trucks and trailers something should be addressed about that 12% federal excise tax on new equipment

  8. 8. Deborah Lockridge, Editor [ November 09, 2017 @ 12:09PM ]

    Please note: Our purpose in using the word "scheme" was to indicate that it was a large-scale and complex proposal. We apologize if the word inadvertently implied bias. It has been changed.

  9. 9. MC [ November 14, 2017 @ 09:51AM ]

    "He added that lowering the corporate rate will “free up cash to invest in newer, safer, cleaner, and more efficient equipment, while also helping carriers pay drivers more and make necessary investments in workforce development."
    Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, the GOP's delusion that "putting the wealth in the hands of the 'jobmakers' will create more jobs". Great in theory, but in reality the money goes to CEO compensation, shareholder dividends, and stock buybacks. Most of the jobs created have been in southeast Asian sweatshops.

    "it is a “lengthy and detailed” piece of legislation so its provisions “could apply to businesses (i.e. size) differently.”"
    Translation: it's basically the same old BS as the law that it's replacing, I.E. more loopholes for the bigger guys to pay less (or nothing) so the little guys have to shoulder the tax burden. You'll need to hire a lawyer to explain how this bill applies to you so that any money you thought you were saving will be spent on legal fees (so much for simplifying the tax code).

    The GOP has zero credibility in economic legislation and never will until they realize that "trickle-down economics" is a middle-class and nation destroying fallacy, If you're going to "simplify the tax code", then do exactly that. Laws written today are 100 pages of legislation and 1500 pages of loopholes, favors and unrelated attachments written by lawyers in a language only lawyers with a masters degree can understand. It's no wonder 99% of all congressmen & women do not read the bills they vote on.


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