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TIA speaks out on government legislation

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The Tire Industry Association (TIA) has taken stands on various legislative issues of late. They involve veterans of the armed forces, estate and gift taxes, and federal highway programs.

1. TIA applauds the United States House of Representatives and Senate for passing the Putting Veterans to Work Act of 2011 (H.R. 674). TIA has been working with the U.S. Department of Labor and members of Congress to develop this sort of business/public sector/private sector plan to hire disabled and returning veterans.

At the recent TIA General Membership Meeting in Las Vegas, association members unanimously adopted a resolution in support of the legislation.

"The just passed legislation would increase an existing tax credit for businesses to hire veterans and help them provide real opportunity during our economic recovery," says TIA President Larry Brandt.

According to Executive Vice President Roy Littlefield, these tax credits "will make a difference in lives of many hard working returning soldiers, sailors, airmen and their families, and would be an important way for America to say ‘thank you’ for their shared sacrifice.’”

The Putting Veterans to Work Act of 2011 gives companies tax credits for the following:

* hiring veterans who have been looking for a job for more than six months (up to $5,600), or who have been unemployed for more than four weeks but less than six months ($2,400);

* hiring veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been looking for a job for more than six months (up to $9,600).

The bill also expands education and training opportunities for older veterans by providing 100,000 unemployed veterans of past eras and wars with up to one year of additional Montgomery GI benefits to go toward education or training programs at community colleges or technical schools.

2. TIA and  a coalition of 27 other organizations have written members of the Congressional Joint Select Committee (Super Committee) urging them to reject any proposals to increase or make permanent the estate or gift taxes when addressing the deficit or debt ceiling.

“In order to prevent the dissolution of family businesses, America’s main engine of economic growth, we are urging the Super Committee to leave any estate or gift tax increases (either lowering the exemptions or increasing the rates) completely off the table as they deliberate measures to reduce the deficit., says Brandt.

“The current gift tax exemption helps family businesses, especially independent tire dealers in shifting assets away from being subject to the nightmare of the estate ta," says Littlefield. "Reducing the gift tax exemption will force family businesses to redesign their lifetime financial planning structure, further distracting these people from maintaining their companies in these tough economic times.”

A bi-partisan group of more than 190 House lawmakers have co-sponsored legislation to repeal the estate tax while extending the current gift tax at $5 million and 35%, making it unlikely that the House would support a measure to lower the gift tax exemption. The American Family Business Foundation recently published a study that shows repealing the estate tax could cover up to 30% of the $1.2 trillion deficit reduction over 10 years, when macroeconomic effects of ending the estate tax are considered.

 3. In what will be the first step in a very long process, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, in a unanimous 18-0 vote on Nov. 9, approved a two-year reauthorization of federal highway programs at current levels.

The bill now moves to the Senate floor calendar, where it will wait for three other committees to approve funding, transit, and safety components that will eventually be merged into one piece of legislation.

Although the final bill may look very different from the legislation just passed out of committee, here is a review of the positions that TIA has taken on particular provisions of the Federal-aid Highway Bill as they stand now:

* a new six-year bill (support);

*current taxing and spending levels (support);

* motor fuel tax increases (oppose);

* national weight distance tax on trucks (oppose);

* elimination of the FET (federal excise tax) on new truck tires (oppose);

* a 10% increase on the FET of new truck tires (oppose);

* reinstate FET on tread rubber (oppose);

* vehicle miles traveled tax on automobiles (oppose);

* privatization of highways (oppose).

Passage of a highway bill that reflects the positions taken by TIA "is a major political priority," says TIA.

For more information on TIA, visit www.tireindustry.org.

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