Finance Committee does not repeal sales tax exemption

The tax bill approved by the Finance Committee last evening did not include a repeal of Connecticut’s current exemption of new, used or leased commercial vehicles from Connecticut’s sales tax. While repeal of this exemption was on the list Tuesday night, the bill drafted by the chairmen for the Wednesday committee meeting did not include the language.

I cannot guarantee MTAC’s member opposition to the original proposal took repeal off the table. However, many members of the committee came to me yesterday to learn more about our concerns. Hopefully, because of the swift and adamant opposition to the repeal of the sales tax exemption, the committee, leadership and members of the legislature will consider this to be a radioactive issue they should stay clear of in the future.

In other matters, the Finance Committee did vote to repeal other sales tax exemptions, while broadening the tax base to new goods and services, and lowering the rate of the general sales tax. They also voted to cap the property tax on motor vehicles at 29 mils. With increases in income tax and capital gains taxes, the committee proposed tax increases of more than $1 billion. It’s difficult to get the details because the language of the bills were not readily available.

So, thanks for jumping in if you did. I believe our effort was helpful. Now, stand by because the governor is about to react to the Finance Committee’s actions. Get ready for a “Ruuuuuummmmmble!”

We’ll keep you posted as things develop. With just a month left before the constitutionally mandated adjournment, the possibility of a special session this summer is looking more and more likely.

Connecticut Resources

Committee votes on sales tax exemption for trucks

Your action is required immediately. At 11 a.m. today (April 29) the State of Connecticut’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee will vote to repeal Connecticut’s current exemption of new, used or leased commercial vehicles from Connecticut’s 6.35 percent sales tax.

There has been speculation the committee was considering repealing several exemptions and lowering the general rate of the sales tax. We have been worried that our exemption might be on the table and our worst fears have been realized today.

We need to mobilize and explain to legislators how important the sales tax exemption has been to the Connecticut trucking industry. First adopted in 1995, this provision exempts the sale, rental, or lease of new or used commercial motor vehicles (GVWR over 26,000 pounds) from Connecticut’s 6.35 percent sales tax. The proposal under discussion would repeal several exemptions, add to the list of taxable services and lower the rate of the whole tax to less than Governor Malloy’s recommendation of 5.95 percent.

We have a shot at killing this proposal TODAY by getting votes in the Finance Committee. Below, you will find a list Finance Committee members along with their email addresses. Stop what you are doing right now and send an email to every one of them explaining how important the sales tax exemption is to your company. ATA tells me that 40 states exempt trucks from their sales taxes.

Keep it short and don’t be shy.

Please send me a copy of what you send and more importantly, any response you receive. OK, let’s go to work. The committee meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. today.

Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee – Committee Membership

The links below provide either a direct link to a web page where you can fill out a form to contact the individual committee member, or it contains a direct link to their email address. Links to forms will open in a new browser tab. Links to email addresses may open an email in your email client, or you may have to right click and “Copy Email Address” to paste it into your email client.

Finance Committee Position Name
Co-Chair Fonfara, John W.
Co-Chair Berger, Jeffrey J.
Ranking Member Frantz, L. Scott
Ranking Member Davis, Christopher
Member Albis, James
Member Alexander, David
Member Altobello, Emil
Member Arce, Angel
Member Boukus, Elizabeth A.
Member Brycki, Paul
Member Butler, Larry B.
Member Cassano, Steve
Member Coleman, Eric D.
Member Fox, Daniel J.
Member Hennessy, John “Jack” F.
Vice Chair Lemar, Roland J.
Vice Chair Leone, Carlo
Member Lopes, Rick
Member Moore, Marilyn
Member Morin, Russell A.
Member Mushinsky, Mary M.
Member Reed, Lonnie
Member Rojas, Jason
Member Sanchez, Robert
Vice Chair Santiago, Hilda E.
Member Serra, Joseph C.
Member Stafstrom, Steven
Member Stallworth, Charlie L.
Member Steinberg, Jonathan
Member Verrengia, Joe
Member Winfield, Gary A.
Member Zoni, David
Member Berthel, Eric C.
Member Boucher, Toni
Member Bumgardner, Aundré
Member Candelora, Vincent J.
Member Carter, Dan
Member Devlin, Laura
Member Floren, Livvy R.
Member Frey, John H.
Member Harding, Stephen G.
Member Hoydick, Laura R.
Member McLachlan, Michael A.
Member Perillo, Jason
Member Piscopo, John E.
Member Rebimbas, Rosa C.
Member Rutigliano, David
Member Shaban, John T.
Member Srinivasan, Prasad
Member Wood, Terrie
Member Yaccarino, Dave W.

Riley discusses 30-year plan to improve infrastructure

Mike Riley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut spoke at the Torrington Club on Wednesday, April 22 and discussed Gov. Dannel Malloy’s 30-year proposal to improve Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure.

You can learn more about the event at the Republican American website.

 

Get involved with Truckers Against Trafficking

Motor Transport Association of Connecticut is proud to be affiliated with Truckers Against Trafficking. TAT is a 501(c)3 that exists to educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking and travel plaza industry to combat domestic sex trafficking.

As the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways, the trucking industry has the ability to help combat sex trafficking in the United States. Your call to (888) 373-7888 has and can save lives in the future.

Human trafficking, a term for modern-day slavery, is a $32 billion worldwide industry with more than 20.9 million people enslaved. It has been reported in all 50 states, and the number of victims in the United States is estimated in the hundreds of thousands. The TAT website has been created to enable members of the trucking/travel plaza industry and other travelers learn what you can do to help stop this atrocity.

You can help by getting trained with TAT materials.

 

Learn about Truckers Against Trafficking

Truckers Against Trafficking Training Film

Two American teens are targeted at their high school by a trafficking ring. They were kidnapped to be prostituted at motels, strip clubs, the internet, and truck-stops. One trucker’s call changed all of that. Hear from truckers who have seen human trafficking on their routes, the FBI, a trafficking victim rescued through the call of a trucker, and information on concrete ways members of the trucking/travel plaza industry can fight this crime in the course of their daily work.

Recent News

You can read more news at TAT’s website blog. Recently TAT was awarded the Suzanne McDaniel Memorial Award for Public Awareness.

Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) is proud to announce that we have been awarded the Suzanne McDaniel Memorial Award for Public Awareness as part of the annual Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus Awards on April 22 at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Bill Brady, an 18-year veteran over-the-road truck driver for Lodestar, accepted the award on behalf of TAT. A dedicated trucker against trafficking, Brady has been working with TAT since 2012, speaking at schools and colleges, working trucking shows for TAT and often driving the Freedom Drivers Project to various locations around the country. To read his remarks, click here.

Representatives from the American Trucking Associations, Truckload Carriers Association, National Association of Truck Stop Operators and Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association were in attendance.

“It is truly an honor to be accepting the Suzanne McDaniel Memorial Award for Public Awareness. She was an incredible woman who did so much to help those who needed it most, and that is exactly what we’re trying to do at TAT each day … help the exploited and vulnerable. None of it would be possible without our industry partners who are truly driving change in combating domestic sex trafficking. This is a great moment for all of us,” stated TAT Executive Director Kendis Paris.

Hands Off Special Transportation Fund

In a recent Letter to the Editor published in the Hartford Courant, Mike Riley, President of MTAC, urges the people of the state to figure out what revenues should be part of the Special Transportation Fund and amend the State Constitution to protect the STF from raids. The letter appeared on April 16, 2015.

hartford-courant-logo

The Courant accurately points out the problem of using transportation funds for other purposes [April 5, “Don’t Raid Dedicated Funds”].

Revenue to the Special Transportation Fund should include all fuel taxes (and yes, the gross receipts tax is a fuel tax that currently goes directly to the general fund). It should also include registration, license and permit fees, fines, sales tax on automobiles, fare box revenue from transit operations and all other payments by users of the state’s transportation assets.

These funds should then be spent only on highways, bridges, passenger rail, bus, bicycle and pedestrian programs.

Before we start short-stopping more Special Transportation Fund revenue, even for good causes, and before we start looking for “new” revenue, the people of this state need to do two things:

  • Figure out what should go into the STF and what should be paid for by the STF.
  • Pass a constitutional amendment to protect the STF from future shenanigans.

Michael J. Riley, Thomaston

2015 Connecticut Truck Driving Championship

The Connecticut Truck Driving Championship organized by MTAC is coming to NETTTS on June 13. This family-friendly event features the competition, a vintage truck display, awards program and barbecue from Outback Steakhouse.

Connecticut considers study of winter road treatments

In February, MTAC sent an email to members referencing an article in the Connecticut Mirror written by Jan Ellen Spiegel concerning the use of sodium chloride, magnesium chloride and calcium chloride during the winter months and the effect the treatments have on truck parts here in southern New England.

More from NBC Connecticut.

Lawmakers in Connecticut are considering whether the state should examine the effect chemical road treatments have on state, municipal and private vehicles, bridges and highways, as well as the environment.

Today, the Transportation Committee heard testimony on a bill that would require the state Department of Transportation to analyze any possible corrosive effects of chemical road treatments.

The Motor Transport Association of Connecticut has questioned the use of such winter road treatments over the years.
Last year, the group called on the General Assembly to make deicers like magnesium chloride illegal, claiming the chemical has been corroding trucks.

Read the full article at NBC Connecticut’s website.

Keeping it clean – Tractor trailer rigs on the road

At issue are the liquid de-icers that have become a common treatment in the DOT’s battle with ice and snow. Magnesium chloride and calcium chloride are sprayed on pavement in advance of a coming storm, and these chemicals can prevent ice from forming on the roadways, making the roads safer for travel and snow removal easier.

Some of the properties that make these chemicals effective in keeping roads clear are the same characteristics that make them so destructive.

It has been noted that magnesium chloride and calcium chloride are highly water-soluble, so they produce a finer mist of spray under the vehicle than traditional rock salt.

Both these chemicals tend to absorb moisture from any source, which means that even when the weather and your equipment are dry, these chemicals continue to attract moisture. They easily mix with the water that they attract and seep into the tiniest cracks.

Frame rails, cross-members, suspension components, air tanks, fuel tanks, battery boxes, brackets, brake shoes, electrical systems, air conditioning condensers, radiators, metal coolant tubing, steel wheels, cab floors and refrigeration units are not safe. “Rust-jacking” a term used to describe when corrosion develops between the brake shoe table and the brake lining. On a rust-jacked brake shoe, rivets will still be holding part of the lining to the shoe, but in between the rivets, it’s cracked. Corrosion can seep into air brake systems, as well. This issue is not just a trucking industry concern. Some studies show that these chemicals cause concrete to deteriorate more rapidly, and electrical utilities have reported corrosion of power poles as well as electrical shorts.

For several years, MTAC has been at the forefront of the discussion about the vehicular corrosion caused by caustic road treatments. While we concede that the new materials do a good job at keeping our highways safe before, during and after winter weather events, we have brought attention to the damage caused by these chemicals.

What you can do

Research and selecting parts:

  • Look for components with corrosion resistant coatings.
  • Opt for premium brake shoes when ordering trailers.
  • Spec & retain brake dust shield.
  • Consider stainless steel parts when affordable.
  • Specify premium-wiring systems, sealed wiring connectors.
  • Specify full fenders – and fender liners when available.
  • Minimize specs combining dissimilar metals, which can cause corrosion when they touch even without the aid of de-icers. Separate such components with insulation.

Maintenance:

  • Wash trucks frequently and thoroughly, especially the underside of the chassis and where dirt and water collect.
  • Hose out radiator/AC condenser regularly when de-icing chemicals are in use.
  • Wax polished aluminum and stainless steel accessories.
  • Keep mud flaps in good repair to minimize salt spray.
  • Inspect brake shoes and linings regularly. Remove brake drums so the entire lining surface and the brake shoe web, rollers and cam can be inspected.
  • Specify rust proof painted or epoxy-coated brake shoes when rebuilding.
  • Repair chassis paint stone chips ASAP, don’t drill unnecessary holes, and paint edges where you do drill.
  • If parts need repainting, have them repainted and recoated by a professional with corrosion-resistant products.
  • Do not probe through the insulation to test wiring because it can open an avenue for chemical corrosion.
  • Clean out electrical connectors regularly with water (not soap) and a wire brush, and grease with dielectric grease. Don’t forget the seven-pin connector where it is plugged into the tractor.
  • Protect battery posts and terminals with anti-corrosive spray.

Currently in Connecticut, a study is underway to determine the efficacy of these substances, the damage that they do, the costs and benefits and whether effective alternatives are available. In the meantime, we are vigilant in our research efforts, so that we may make recommendations that help our members deal with the issue of corrosion. Understand that the washing of vehicles, where wastewater flows into watersheds, can violate certain “storm-water runoff” regulations and should be done in accordance with the law.

Malloy’s focus

“We know that transportation and economic growth are bound together. States that make long-term investments in their infrastructure can have vibrant economies for generations. States that don’t will struggle. It’s that simple,” he said. “Transportation connects us – literally – community to community, state to state, nation to nation. It connects us to economic opportunity and it connects us to one another,” he added.

While he specifically mentioned widening I-95, I-84 in Waterbury and the Walk Bridge in Norwalk, as projects he wants to address, he left the full details of his plan to be part of his 2015-2016 Budget Address to the Legislature in February.

To be sure, passenger and freight rail, transit, bicycle and pedestrian projects will be included. In fact, those who have talked to the Governor about his plan, indicate that he says he wants to do just about everything you can think of, including widening I-84 from Danbury to Waterbury, the Aetna Viaduct replacement in Hartford, widening I-95 from Greenwich to Stonington, additional train stations, parking and other upgrades to Metro-North, more bus-ways, the New Haven to Springfield commuter rail and bikeways to everywhere. He has said that his plan will take 30 years to accomplish and cost billions and billions of dollars.

Those lusting for tolls see this year as their best opportunity to tap a lucrative new revenue stream. We have made it very clear that we will strongly oppose the imposition of tolls on the existing highways of this state. In a Courant op-ed this past weekend, we insisted that Connecticut citizens be allowed to amend the State Constitution to protect the Special Transportation fund from the kind of diversions and raids which had been commonplace in the past. It appears that the Governor is amenable to this idea. But, time will tell.

DVIR “No Defect” final rule

The U.S. Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, announced on Dec. 18, 2014, that commercial motor vehicle drivers operating in interstate commerce will no longer have to comply with the daily paperwork requirement associated with completing a post-trip vehicle inspection report (DVIR) when no defects are found. An exception to this rule is the passenger-carrying CMV’s who still must adhere to the procedure.

Intrastate commerce regulations vary by state so carriers should check with their respective state motor carrier enforcement agency to determine the applicability of this ruling to the state code of regulations. Many states have adopted (all or parts of) the federal regulations.

This comes in part as a response to President Obama’s initiative to reduce paperwork without compromising safety.

Regardless of the ruling and its subsequent potential change in paperwork, it should be the responsibility of every commercial motor carrier to continue diligence in training their drivers on the proper procedure in conducting an effective vehicle inspection.

During training, supervisors can use the opportunity to advise employees of their responsibilities as a driver of a commercial motor vehicle.

In a recent trade article published by Lockton, an insurance brokerage firm, the Company suggests that trucking companies follow up scheduled vehicle maintenance results with the driver.

“When a vehicle goes through its scheduled maintenance and is found to have defects which could have been detected during normal driver pre- or post- trip inspections, use that information as an opportunity to coach the driver on the importance of conducting thorough vehicle inspections.

Quietly observe your drivers conducting vehicle inspections, to gain insight as to their normal routines. Should your driver not be conducting adequate vehicle inspections, use the observation to coach the employee on the importance of vehicle inspections.”

Whether you choose to follow the dictates of the ruling or continue with your current DVIR pre- and post-schedule, as many of our members plan to do, nothing can replace diligence when it comes to vehicle maintenance. To read more on this ruling, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website.