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SEMA Members Discuss Industry Concerns With Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill

As the political climate continues to evolve in advance of the 2010 elections, SEMA members arrived in Washington, D.C., for the biennial SEMA Washington Rally. On May 12, Rally participants met with the senators and representatives to discuss critical issues facing their businesses and the industry.

Read more about how the SEMA Washington Rally helps members of Congress better understand the specialty-equipment industry and provides SEMA members the opportunity to provide recommendations on how to address touch issues facing businesses and employees.

Employers Can Take Advantage of Tax Breaks to Hire Unemployed Workers

Under a SEMA-supported “jobs bill” enacted into law last March, private employers can claim tax credits if they hire someone in 2010 who has been out of work for at least 60 days. The federal government estimates the credit already applies to 4.5 million new workers hired between last February and May.

SEMA Street Rod and Custom Vehicle Bill Goes to Massachusetts Governor for Signature

A version of SEMA-model legislation (H.B. 4871) to create a vehicle registration classification for street rods, custom vehicles, replicas and specially constructed vehicles was passed by the Massachusetts State Legislature. The bill has been sent to the governor for his signature and enactment into law.

SEMA Councils Respond to SEMA PAC Challenge

SEMA is holding a “Council Challenge” contest from August 1 to October 8, 2010 to further expand the awareness of SEMA PAC (Political Action Committee). The contest is limited to council Select Committee members. The council with the highest total contributions and 100% “PAC-approved” Select Committee membership will be the winner. The grand prize includes $1,000 to be used toward a council project, recognition and special seating at the Industry Awards Banquet at the SEMA Show and other high-visibility acknowledgements.

Congress Fails to Enact Small-Business Relief Bill

The U.S. Senate was unable to agree on a SEMA-supported bill (H.R. 5297) to provide smaller banks with access to $30 billion in funds intended to be loaned to small businesses. While the Senate may reconsider the measure, the defeat meant that the House of Representatives would not consider the bill in the near future since House members will be working in their home districts during August. During the debate, SEMA sent a letter urging the Senate to also repeal a requirement that taxpayers with business income issue 1099 forms to all vendors from whom they buy more than $600 of goods or services in any year, beginning in 2012.

Congress Pursues Legislation to Outline a National Manufacturing Strategy

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the “National Manufacturing Strategy Act” (H.R. 4692), which would make manufacturing a top priority for Congress and the administration. This SEMA-supported legislation is intended to promote government policies to foster economic growth, increase employment and productivity, and expand exports for the nation’s manufacturing sector. The legislation would establish a public-private advisory board to make policy recommendations to the president on how to achieve short- and long-term goals and report its findings to Congress.

SEMA Opposes Requirement to File IRS 1099 Forms for Everyday Purchases

Beginning in 2012, businesses will be required to file “Form 1099” information returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and report all payments to corporations for goods or services in excess of $600. Under current law, most corporations are exempt from receiving 1099s. The 1099 reporting requirement is expected to raise $17 billion over 10 years. It was included as a revenue-raising initiative under the new health care law, in this case, collecting taxes on a potential source of unreported income.

Government Seeking Right-Hand Drive Vehicle Converters

SEMA has been asked by the federal government if any companies would be interested in converting domestic vehicles for export to right-hand-drive countries. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) purchases about 90,000 vehicles a year for various government agencies, and a small number of those vehicles are exported for use in foreign countries.

New Law Limits Debit Card Swipe Fees

SEMA and 54 other trade associations asked Congress to limit the amount credit card companies can charge merchants when processing payments. Congress addressed some, but not all swipe fees when it enacted the new financial reform law.

Canada Approves SEMA-Requested Lead Fuel Exemption for Competition Vehicles

Environment Canada issued a SEMA-supported final rule to indefinitely extend an exemption allowing the use of leaded gasoline in competition motor vehicles. The exemption has been renewed several times since it was first established in 1996. SEMA had previously opposed efforts to permanently terminate the exemption and effectively ban racing vehicles using leaded fuel. The new rule recognizes the relationship between the Canadian and U.S. racing industries and adopts a consistent environmental approach to leaded fuel use.
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