As those in the United States continue to grapple with the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its variants, eyes are also starting to turn to the upcoming midterm elections of 2022. The special elections held this year may or may not contain secrets about the conduct of the 2022 elections; However, it’s never too early to start screening emerging candidates and studying their platforms for clues about the impact of their election on American Rental Association (ARA) member companies. This will be even more important with the 2020 census data now determining new congressional districts in many states.
2022 midterm elections. On November 8, 2022, midterm elections will take place across the country. A total of 469 seats in Congress – at least 34 seats in the Senate and the 435 seats in the House of Representatives will be contested, along with 39 races for state and territorial governors and hundreds of other national and local elections. In November 2021, 24 representatives announced that they would be retiring and not running for another term. This number will likely increase in the coming months.
This will be the first election affected by the redistribution following the 2020 census. The census provided information on the demographic and demographic density within each state and forced states to begin redrawing federal and state legislative districts. These changes can affect the district where people vote.
Many congressional districts have changed or even been eliminated because some states have lost population. Other states that have gained in population also gain seats in Congress. The way congressional districts are redesigned varies greatly from state to state. For many, the majority party in the state legislature has redrawn the lines. With several states having primaries in March, incumbents and new candidates want to know what their new district looks like to determine the district’s voter demographics so they can develop a campaign strategy.
Six states are winning seats in Congress because their populations have grown over the past 10 years when the census was last taken. Texas wins two more seats in Congress and five other states win one: North Carolina, Florida, Oregon, Montana and Colorado. Seven states, on the other hand, will lose a seat in Congress, namely Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, New York and California.
For the next 10 years until 2030, when the next census is taken, voters could be assigned to new congressional, state, county, and local districts from which to choose their representatives.
Focus ARA advocacy efforts. In 2021, the ARA Board of Directors made the decision to focus more on legislative and regulatory issues that have a distinct impact on the Events and Equipment Rental segments by dividing the Government Affairs Committee of the association into two, including the Defense of Equipment Working Group and the Defense of Events Working Group.
“The two sides of our association have very different legislative needs and concerns,” said John McClelland, Ph.D., ARA vice president for government affairs and chief economist. “It makes perfect sense that the government affairs team could focus more deeply and meaningfully on the diversity of issues within the two segments. “
The two groups will meet from December 7-9, 2021 to hear legislative and electoral updates as well as to determine issues to pursue in 2022. They will also both plan for a possible caucus in 2022.
The Event Advocacy Workgroup has already been very busy in 2021, guiding and overseeing the work of ARA staff on the formation of the Economic Bridge Coalition (EBC). The coalition was led by the ARA and joined by 16 other organizations whose members are also affected by economic losses due to restrictions on social gathering at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This total effort represents 2 million impacted businesses and $ 1.2 trillion in annual economic activity.
The EBC strives to secure additional funds for these members based on the loss of income from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021. It is the primary focus of the EBC. For more information, visit economicbridgecoalition.org.
The association also spent a good portion of 2021 researching and communicating with members about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which ended in July 2021. The first and second draws of the PPP were available for purchase. qualified candidates capable of obtaining these Small Business Administration (SBA). – back-to-back loans. These loans were designed as a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. The loans could be used to help finance wage costs, including employee benefits, and may also have been used to pay mortgage interest, rent, utilities, worker protection costs, property damage costs uninsured and certain supplier costs and expenses for operations.
The first and second fundraising would be canceled by the SBA if all employee retention criteria were met and funds used for qualifying expenses.
Economic Disaster Loans (EIDL) have also been offered by the SBA. This federal small business loan program has supported small businesses’ recovery from the disastrous impacts of COVID-19 by providing them with access to needed capital. However, this program experienced delays and was implemented with less success than the PPP program.
State legislative initiatives. Based on member contributions and ongoing work in some states, the ARA government affairs team and committees will also work on the following initiatives in 2022:
• Colorado. This state has special registration fees – the registration of special mobile machines (SMMs) – and complying with this is proving difficult and costly for members. The SMM is a 2 percent tax on companies that lease equipment not designed or used primarily for the transport of people or goods, such as road construction equipment. ARA will continue to seek opportunities to work with the state to reduce confusion around the program.
• Florida. After years of attempts to change the property tax law in the state, it looks like 2022 is the year to secure the passage of a measure for tax relief on tangible personal property.
• Georgia. In Georgia there is a weight limit – 5,000 pounds. – on which equipment may be eligible for a property tax recovery right. This represents a significant and costly administrative burden for equipment rental stores with a diverse inventory. In November, letters of support for members were submitted to a potential sponsor to change the weight limit to 1,500 lbs, making more equipment eligible for salvage fees and saving members money .
• Louisiana. The legislature will review the implementation of Sales Tax Rationalization, a system adopted by states to help create a simpler and more consistent sales and use tax system. Louisiana has a complex tax system, which includes reports to each of its many parishes. This decision would again simplify and therefore reduce the administrative costs associated with doing business in the state.
• Michigan. Work continues behind the scenes in Lansing, Michigan, as members demand relief from the state’s general property tax and institute a qualified exemption for heavy rental property.
• Nevada. Efforts to reform Nevada’s personal property tax on rental equipment will continue in 2022. The goal is to have a bill ready for passage in the next session of the Nevada legislature in 2023.
The ARA is also ready to deal with other issues as they arise at the state level.