Wanna know how to make a car rental company mad? Slap a tax on every car rental and use the money to fund mass transit. In Florida, this is a proposal being brought forth that’s stinging already strapped car rental agencies.
In order to pay for Tri-rail a freshman senator is suggesting that tourists pay for South Florida’s commuter trains, which need help getting traction in a car-dominated state.
But the American Car Rental Association will have none of this, declaring that renters already are paying way too much in taxes and that adding a surcharge is taxation without representation, since people with rental cars are not likely to use the commuter rail system.
Like the tolls that states such as New Hampshire love to slap on visiting motorists en route to Maine from Massachusetts and Connecticut, out of state visitors are popular targets for taxation, since they don’t vote in the state and can’t really do much more than meekly pay up.
Florida tourism officials are also blasting the fee, saying that the national recession is responsible for the tourism downturn and thus, rental car fees are not increasing as it is, the existing tax revenue is down 14% already. Visit Florida derives some of its funding from an existing $2 surcharge, so the last thing that they want is to have to split a diminishing pot of revenues with Tri-Rail.