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Statement By:
Barney Bishop III, President and CEO, Associated Industries of Florida

Regarding Additional Excise Taxes on Rental Cars

November 25, 2009

“This week is one of the most heavily traveled of the year and, according to AAA, 86 percent of Thanksgiving travelers will be reaching their destinations by automobile. Many of these travelers will choose to rent a vehicle. As Florida lawmakers contemplate a special session to address funding for commuter rail programs, this week serves as an important reminder that
taxing the rental car industry to fund commuter rail is a losing proposition.

Nationally, more than half of all annual car rental revenue is generated by local customers and businesses. Whether it’s for in-state travel or local commuting, it’s the Florida families and businesses renting cars that will end up paying this extra tax during a time when they can least afford it. Many businesses looking to cut costs have turned to driving rather than flying when sending employees to meetings or conferences. Increased rental car taxes don’t just hurt our citizens and our businesses, but also exacerbate our declining tourism industry.

Associated Industries of Florida is encouraged by the Florida Legislature’s reluctance to levy additional excise taxes on the struggling rental car industry. We look forward to working with lawmakers to strengthen our rail industry while ensuring we do not harm another critical industry in the process.”