I recently read a piece from a brave soldier about Turo and other rental car providers. I salute Damon Crutcher and his ability to earn extra money while serving our country. But I need to set the record straight on a few things.
First, Enterprise founder Jack Taylor served our country, too. In fact, Jack was a pilot on two aircraft carriers during World War II, including the USS Enterprise. After coming home from the war, he launched his career and eventually created Enterprise, with a nod to his veteran roots.
Today, military veterans and members of the guard and reserves make up 10 percent of Enterprise’s total U.S. workforce. As a member of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP), Enterprise employs more than 1,300 military spouses. And Enterprise, which employs more than 150 veterans in Arizona alone, has been repeatedly honored for its ongoing support of the nation’s military.
Every Enterprise employee is understandably proud of our military history and commitment. We’re also proud of how Enterprise learned to provide customer service excellence and vehicles for every occasion as it grew its car rental, vehicle leasing and travel businesses during the last 60 years. So, as the head of Enterprise Rent-A-Car Arizona operations, I can assure Turo that we not only continue to invest in the latest technology, but also wholeheartedly believe in competition and innovation.
We also believe that proper insurance, safety requirements and fair taxes should be a given when cars and trucks are rented to the public. That’s why, SB1305, sponsored by Sen. David Livingston, ensures an even playing field among companies like Enterprise and Turo. All for-profit companies have an obligation to their local communities to pay their fair share of taxes and fees – just like AirBnB and any other home-renting platforms.
And fairness is at the core of a broad coalition supporting SB1305. Our coalition includes American Car Rental Association members like Enterprise and Hertz, as well as cities, airports, the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association, and the Cactus League.
Speaking of the Cactus League, Mr. Crutcher’s op-ed said it will receive the same amount of funding if a car is rented under Rep. Travis Grantham’s competing bill, HB2559. The truth is the funding shortfall would actually come from the state general fund, forcing residents from Kingman, Show Low and Sierra Vista to fund it and other projects in Maricopa County.
Further, it is flat-out false to claim there are special tax breaks for commercial rental car companies. As accountants know full well, taxes occur at the consumer level when retail transactions occur, just like when Mr. Crutcher bought his car for his own personal use.
Yet another financial myth: Turo “hosts” would earn less money or be on the hook for any other expenses if SB1305 passes. You see, the taxes and surcharges on rental car transactions contained in SB1305 are already law. SB1305 merely provides a streamlined and already tested platform for the remittance of these taxes – to be paid by the person who rents a car, and then collected and remitted by the platform facilitating the rental. Under SB1305, none of the paying, collecting or remitting falls to the car owner. That means no additional obligation falls to the owner whatsoever.
It doesn’t matter how long cars are rented – for an hour, a day, a week or longer – or whether reservations are made on the phone, on a website, on an app or even in person. And it doesn’t matter whether the provider has been family owned and operated for more than 60 years like Enterprise, or whether it’s a 10-year-old company like Turo run by hedge-fund owners in Silicon Valley. All for-profit companies should be held accountable, and they should collect and remit the proper taxes whenever and wherever vehicles are rented.
Kevin Bass is the director of Arizona operations for Enterprise Rent-A-Car