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Proposals Seek to Add Additional Taxes and Fees on the Purchase/Use of Trucks and SUVs
With gas prices on the rise, the last thing consumers want is additional fees for purchasing and operating a vehicle that meets their needs. However, some lawmakers are seeking to penalize consumers for purchasing and driving trucks, SUVs and other vehicles through increased taxes or surcharges.
This has become an ongoing trend as legislators in Hawaii, New York and Vermont are considering proposals that would limit consumer choice by making popular performance and luxury cars, as well as SUVs, light trucks and minivans, substantially more expensive to own and operate. California and Washington are among the states that have recently rejected these “gas guzzler” bills, based on high constituent opposition. The SAN continues to educate lawmakers that additional taxes unfairly threaten consumer safety, choice and jobs, and that a new federal energy law will provide market-based solutions.
“For the most part, these bills will restrict ownership of larger cars and trucks to the wealthy who can afford to pay the surcharge,” said Steve McDonald, SEMA vice president of government affairs. “The legislation targets lower- and middle-class individuals who need and depend on these vehicles to transport their family, operate their small business or participate in recreational activities.”
In presenting that message, enthusiasts in Washington state were successful in defeating two bills that sought to tax vehicle owners in an attempt to reduce motor-vehicle emissions. The first bill would have established two separate progressive fees for state motor vehicles based on (1) engine size and (2) calculations of carbon emissions. These fees would have been collected by the state at the time of initial vehicle registration and at subsequent renewals of registration. The second bill sought to establish a progressive annual excise tax for all passenger motor vehicles based on the EPA’s fuel-economy ratings. This tax could have required some vehicle owners to pay up to $240 each year.
In response to constituent correspondence, the Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee indicated concerns with the proposals and that the hearings would not be scheduled on the bills.
To provide a comprehensive approach on fuel consumption and climate change, the SAN supported landmark federal legislation in 2007 raising the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for passenger cars and light trucks by 40%, to an industry average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. The SAN worked with the automakers and other industry associations as part of the CAFE Coalition to help negotiate a compromise approach that would allow carmakers to reach a fair and attainable standard. The law spurs new technology while providing time to apply such breakthroughs to mass production. This approach should ensure against unnecessary disruption to the marketplace, businesses and workers. Unlike the state laws under consideration, the new federal law preserves the ability of the consumer—whether a small-business owner or the parent of a growing family—the option afforded by pickups, minivans and SUVs available for cargo room, performance, towing and hauling capacity. The new law will also significantly reduce carbon-dioxide emissions since CO2 is a byproduct of burned fossil fuel. Finally, the federal approach provides a national solution, as opposed to a potential patchwork of state rules.
For more information on this position or other legislative issues, visit the SEMA Action Network website at www.semasan.com.
LEGISLATIVE QUICK HITS
Idaho Replicas: The Idaho House of Representatives approved a version of SEMA-model legislation to create a state motor-vehicle definition for replica vehicles and allow these vehicles to meet only the equipment and emissions standards in effect for the model year and vehicle being replicated. The bill next moves to the Senate Transportation Committee for consideration. The bill defines a replica vehicle as a “vehicle made to replicate any passenger car or truck previously manufactured, using metal, fiberglass or other materials. Replica vehicles must look like the original vehicle being replicated but may use a more modern drive train.”
Kansas Street Rods/Custom Vehicles: SEMA-model legislation to create a vehicle-registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles and provide for special license plates for these vehicles will be considered by the Kansas House Transportation Committee. The bill defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom as an altered vehicle at least 25 years old and manufactured after 1948. The bill allows kit cars and replica vehicles to be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same model-year designation as the body of vehicle it most closely resembles.
Michigan Street Rods/Custom Vehicles: SEMA-model legislation that would create a vehicle registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles and provide for special license plates for these vehicles was approved by the Michigan House of Representatives by an overwhelming 107 to 1 bipartisan vote. The bill must now be considered by the Michigan Senate Transportation Committee. The measure defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom as an altered vehicle at least 25 years old and manufactured after 1948. The bill allows kit cars and replica vehicles to be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same model-year designation as the body of vehicle it most closely resembles.
Tennessee Custom Vehicles: The Tennessee State Senate has approved a version of SEMA-model legislation to create a vehicle registration and titling classification for custom vehicles. The House version of the bill is still currently pending in the House Transportation Committee. Both bills define a custom-built car as a vehicle that is built for private use and is not constructed by a licensed manufacturer or remanufacturer. Under the bill, kit cars and replica vehicles will be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same model-year designation as the production vehicle it most closely resembles.
West Virginia Antique Vehicles: SAN-supported legislation that would amend state law governing antique motor vehicles to expand their permissible use was approved by the West Virginia House and Senate. Under current law, use of antique vehicles is strictly limited to club activities, exhibits, tours, parades, testing, obtaining repairs and for recreational purposes. This bill would increase weekend use to begin on Fridays at 12:00 p.m. and extend through Monday at 12:00 p.m. Next, the bill goes to the governor before being enacted into law.
Dear SAN Members:
As chairman of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus, I wish to extend my thanks for your continued efforts on behalf of the motor-vehicle hobby. Since assuming the chairmanship a year ago, I have made it my number-one priority to expand the Caucus so that together we can ensure that this hobby is protected for years to come.
As you are aware, the Caucus is a non-partisan group of state legislators whose common thread is simply a love and appreciation for automobiles (from pre-World War II classics to street rods to ’60s-era musclecars to late-model imports and everything in between).
Through the combined recruiting efforts of my fellow Caucus members and enthusiasts like you, the Caucus now has members in all 50 states and more than 240 members nationwide. I am gratified that our coalition of state lawmakers continues to raise the motor-vehicle hobby’s profile in the state legislatures and in the public’s eyes.
While I am extremely pleased at how the membership numbers have increased, our work is far from done. By this letter, I am asking your help in educating your state legislators about the benefits of Caucus membership and encouraging participation by your lawmakers.
There is no specific obligation in joining the Caucus. New members must only agree to list their names among other state legislators around the country who have also agreed to associate themselves with this great American hobby.
Thank you for your help.
New York Assemblyman Bill Reilich
Chairman, State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus
New York State Assembly (134th Assembly District)
HEY, THAT'S MY CAR!
1973 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 502
Owner: Anthony Griesehop
I have owned this car since 1979 and, at first, used it as a daily driver. It’s an original SS with a column shifter and swivel bucket seats. In 1985, it underwent a complete restoration. All of the sheetmetal was replaced except for the roof and front fenders. Since then, it has been kept in climate-controlled storage and has only been rained on twice.
Like any true gearhead, I was always looking to make it more powerful. It’s had six different engine and transmission combinations, five of which being small-blocks. Finally, it was time to switch to a 502 modified big-block. With 620 horsepower, it runs mid-11s on the quarter-mile. There’s no substitute for the 502.
UNDER THE HOOD: 502 big-block, Crane .610/.632 hydraulic components; Cloyes timing chain and gears; Crower 1.7 stainless-steel roller rockers; Manley studs and guide plates; Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold; Hooker headers; MSD ignition; Holley 4150 pro series carburetor; Turbo 400 manual transmission with 3000 stall convertor; Mr. Gasket line lock; Ford 9-inch rearend with Strange case and pinion support; Richmond 4.11 gears; Modified Detroit Locker with 35 spline Summers axles; Hotchkis control arms; Monroe coil-over shocks.
OUTSIDE: Weld Drag Lite wheels and Mickey Thompson tires. Two sets of rear on 15x10 rims. One N-50-15 SS compound and 28x13.5x15 ET Drag Street Slicks.
INSIDE: All factory except silver fur seat inserts and a Sun oil-pressure gage.
Letter to the Editor
Driving Force readers may recall the “Taking Reading on the Road” article from the April 2007 issue in which we spotlighted Kristen Thomas as she developed a youth reading program in South Carolina. We recently received an update on her efforts.
Dear Driving Force:
It is with great excitement and appreciation that I am writing to let you know that I was accepted to Converse College, a woman’s liberal arts college in Spartanburg, South Carolina. This was due in a large part to my “Knowledge is Power” program and my involvement with the SEMA Action Network. I have been awarded $12,200 scholarships so far, most of which are four-year renewable.
In applying for school and competing for school scholarships, I used everything I learned from working on this project, my association with the SAN and the numerous connections I have made through the hobby. Who would have thought that through all of this I would have met someone like Chip Foose? A special thanks to SAN director Jason Tolleson, YearOne for help in restoring my ’77 Pontiac TA and Eric Waters with Zoom Performance Products for his mentorship in this endeavor.
I appreciate how being around the SEMA Action Network has helped me grow. I will be sure to keep you posted on my experience at Converse. Perhaps we should hold a SAN event on campus. What do ya think?
A Golden Opportunity
Annual Legislative Conference to Convene in Sacramento
In working with the SEMA Action Network to ensure that California enthusiasts have a voice in Sacramento, California, the Association of California Car Clubs (ACCC) consists of thousands of hobbyists throughout the state who advocate on California laws and policies regarding collector and classic automobiles.
Formed in 1972, it is a volunteer organization of regional representatives who keep member clubs, individuals and business members across the state informed of issues that impact the hobby.
To ensure that state officials are responsive to the concerns of hobbyists, the ACCC holds an annual legislative conference in Sacramento each May. The conference allows automotive hobbyists to discuss mutual issues and challenges directly with legislators, the Air Resources Board, the Bureau of Automotive Repair, the California Highway Patrol, the Department of Motor Vehicles and other government officials.
The dates for the 2008 conference are as follows:
May 6, 2008—Car display on the West steps of the Capitol
May 7–8, 2008—Presentations from government officials and other invited guests
May 9, 2008—Group tour of a state agency
Collectors, hobbyists and car clubs in California can obtain additional information and register for the legislative conference by visiting www.acccdefender.org.
You’ve Got Mail!
E-Mail Action Alerts Send Up-to-Date News to Your Inbox
We here at the SAN appreciate everything that you, the enthusiasts, do to stay informed about the laws that affect the auto hobby. To ensure a continuous flow of information, we are asking all SAN members who have e-mail addresses but are not currently receiving any e-mails from us to update their information by e-mailing Jason Tolleson at email@example.com.
Any time there is legislation in your state that affects the hobby, the SAN will send an e-mail letting you know how the bill impacts you, what action to take and who to contact.
These action alerts provide the most up-to-date information on the legislation in which you are the most concerned. Rest assured that any information you provide will not be sold or distributed to anyone. We simply want to provide you with the best information available in order to protect your interests as a hobbyist.
Car Clubs Awarded for Going the Extra Mile
Car clubs in four regions of the United States have been selected as winners of the coveted Eagle One Golden Rule Award for conducting the most outstanding community-service program in their region during 2007.
The winning clubs were:
West: Cruisin’ the Boulevard, Petaluma, California
Midwest: E’ville Iron Street Rods, Evansville, Indiana
East: Heart of Maryland Classic Chevy Club, Mount Airy, Maryland
South: Corvettes of Naples, Florida
A grand prize winner, selected for the first time in the 15 years that Eagle One has conducted the award program, was Cruisin’ the Boulevard. The western region winner was selected for the most compassionate achievement. The club donated life-saving devices called Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for 21 police cars in the city, as well for three high schools and the City Hall. The AEDs are portable electronic devices that automatically diagnose emergencies that can cause cardiac arrest and sudden death.
In recognition of their achievement, Eagle One will make a donation of $1,500 to a favorite charity. A donation of $500 will be made to a favorite charity of the other three winners. In addition to the cash donations, each club will receive a custom-designed award and a generous supply of Eagle One premium appearance-care products and Valvoline products for fund-raising events.
Newly Introduced Legislation
Note: The following state bills are not laws. They were recently introduced and are currently under consideration by the respective state legislatures:
New York AB 1919: Provides vehicles registered as historical vehicles the option of only using a rear license plate.
Minnesota HB 863/Rhode Island HB 7827: Allows the state to adopt emissions standards established by the state of California.
Clean Fuel/Hybrid Vehicles
Illinois HB 5975: Creates a tax credit of $500 for the purchase of an E85 vehicle.
Mississippi HB 1490: Would establish a $2,000 tax credit for anyone that purchases a new hybrid electric vehicle.
California SB 1567: Changes existing law to allow GPS units to be mounted on the windshield.
Iowa HB 2224: Would allow vehicles that meet a state low-profile qualification to use a window decal instead of a license plate on the front of a vehicle.
New York SB 6934: Amends traffic laws to prohibit the use of any device created to block either a radar or laser use by police officers.
Rhode Island HB 7621: Modifies the salvage vehicle code so all salvage vehicles receive the same title. Also changes existing law so that salvage vehicles that can only be used for parts will have “for salvage parts only” stamped on the title.
Arizona HB 2837: Amends the street-racing law by raising the fine for a first offense to no less than $500 and the fine for any subsequent violation to no less than $1,000. Also extends the time period to 60 months in which individuals cannot receive another street-racing conviction or be found guilty of a felony and have their license revoked.
Florida HB 1043: Amends the street-racing law to include spectators as those who can be charged and fined for participating in street racing. Further defines what an act of street racing is to include “exhibition of acceleration” and “exhibition of speed.” Also sets new charges and penalties for those caught racing or caught as a spectator, if anyone is killed during the act of street racing.
California AB 1971: Allows for tires equipped with retractable studs to be used year-round if the studs are retracted during non-inclimate weather.
April 26, Tucson
23rd Annual Chevy Showdown
Sponsor: Classic Chevy Club of Tucson
Information: www.classicchevycluboftucson.com/Coming_Events.html or 520/883-4304
April 4–6, Del Mar
8th Del Mar Rod & Custom Nationals
Information: www.good-guys.com/events/eventDetails.aspx?eventid=08-623 or 925/838-9876
April 27, Los Angeles
Spring “Fun” Car Show
Sponsor: Coastal Valleys CHVA
April 27, Fresno
Fresno Swap Meet and Hot Rod Palooza
Information: www.ryanspromotions.com or 209/356-0436
April 26–27, Los Angeles
29th Annual “Fun under the Sun” Auto Show
Sponsor: Association of Handcrafted Automobiles
Information: www.replicarclub.com/Future/Knotts.htm or 818/597-8797
April 5, Crescent City
Catfish Festival Car Show
Sponsor: Azalea City Cruisers
April 5–6, Pinellas Park
19th Annual Westcoast MOPAR Show
Sponsor: Westcoast MOPAR Club
Information: www.westcoastmopar.org/AnnualShow2008.htm or 727/584-1210
April 5, Macon
12th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival Mustang & Ford Show
Sponsor: Flag City Mustang Club
Information: www.fcmccherryblossom.webs.com or 478/390-2986
April 19–20, Conyers
11th Annual Horsepower at the Park
Information: www.horsepoweratthepark.com or 678/957-6749
April 25–26, Helen
Springfest in Helen
Sponsor: Corvair Atlanta & Heart of Georgia Corvairs
April 26, Dallas
20th Annual Georgia Classic Rides Car Show
Sponsor: Georgia Classic Rides
Information: www.georgiaclassicrides.com or 770/445-1481
April 13, Elmhurst
25th Annual NIR-WPC Car Show/Swap Meet
Sponsor: Northern Illinois Region of The Walter P. Chrysler Club
April 23–26, Bowling Green
Sponsor: The National Corvette Museum
Information: www.corvettemuseum.com or 800/53-VETTE
April 27, Louisville
14th NSRA Kentucky Appreciation Day
Sponsor: Okolona Street Rods & NRSA
Information: www.okolonastreetrods.com/index.html or 502/741-1229
April 27, Leonardtown
23rd Annual Spring Fling
Sponsor: St. Mary’s Rod and Classic Club
Information: www.stmarysrodandclassic.com/events.html or 301/994-9666
April 26, Cherryville
C. Grier Beam Truck Museum Antique Car Show
Sponsor: C. Grier Beam Truck Museum
Information: www.beamtruckmuseum.com/events.htm or 704/435-3072
April 23-27, Carlisle
Spring Carlisle Collector Car Swap Meet & Corral
April 26–27, Anderson
7th Annual 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals
April 11–13, Beaumont
Texas Motorsports Expo
April 18–20, Glen Rose
Heart of Texas Roundup
Sponsor: North Texas Corvair Association
April 18–20, New Braunfels
16th Annual New Braunfels Swap Meet and Car Show
Sponsor: New Braunfels Area Car Club
Information: www.newbraunfelsswapmeet.org/index.htm or 830/303-2277
April 19–20, Baytown
4th Annual Texas 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals
April 26-27, Jefferson
31st Annual Spring Jefferson Car Show and Swap Meet
Sponsor: Madison Classics
Early May 2008 Events
May 3, Marietta
27th Annual “Peach Blossom” Car Show & Swap Meet
Sponsor: Southeastern GTO Association
Information: www.segtoa.org/BOP/BOPC_Flyer_021008.pdf or 770/993-8654
May 8–10, Bowling Green
Sponsor: The National Corvette Museum
May 3–4, Springfield
11th Annual 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals
May 3, Taylorsville
15th Annual Apple City Classic Car & Truck Show
Sponsor: Apple City Street Rodders
Information: www.applecitystreetrodders.com/carshow.htm or 826/632-1695
May 3, Oley
Sponsor: Violators Motor Club
May 9–11, Carlisle
Carlisle Performance & Style
May 3, Roanoke
20th Annual Mustang and Ford Powered Round-up
Sponsor: Roanoke Valley Mustang Club
Information: www.roanokevalleymustangclub.com or 540/387-1979
Attention Car Clubs, Event Organizers and Enthusiasts!
Put SAN on Your Mailing List!
We’d like to know what’s going on with SEMA Action Network clubs and enthusiasts across the country; what charity events you’re involved in; when and where the rod runs, car shows, trail rides, rallies and tech meetings are held; and what legislative and regulatory issues concern club members and individual enthusiasts.
One of the best ways to keep us abreast of what’s going on and what’s important to the vehicle hobbies nationwide is for us to receive your club newsletters and updates. Please consider placing SEMA on your mailing list. Send correspondence to: SEMA Action Network, 1317 F Street, N.W., Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20004-1105. Or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.