Editor’s Note: The following column by Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association President Phil Ingrassia details pressing issues that the organization is currently tackling. The article appears in the July issue of RV Executive Today.
Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) leaders joined with RV Industry Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds for RVIA’s Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., last month. The day has become an annual event to raise the visibility of the RV business in the halls of Congress and federal agencies.
One of the top issues RVDA is working on is the new limit in the deductibility of RV trailer floorplan interest for certain dealers, which is contained in the tax reform bill Congress passed late last year. While the bill provided much needed relief for small businesses, last-minute technical changes made during the House-Senate conference unintentionally limited the deductibility of RV trailer floor plan costs for dealers with annual revenues of more than $25 million.
RVDA is working with RVIA and the RV lending community to fix this oversight, and we have identified several champions in Congress to assist. For more information, visit the advocacy section of www.rvda.org.
RVIA and others in the outdoor recreation industry are also concerned with the tariff situation and its impact on RV manufacturers and suppliers.
Another ongoing issue that RVDA is working on with its allies on Capitol Hill and within the Trump Administration is the modernization and expansion of campgrounds on federal lands. RVDA has a leadership role in the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR), which is pushing two major pieces of legislation before Congress.
The first is the Recreation Not Red-Tape Act (S. 1633 and H.R. 3400). This legislation is a bipartisan effort to remove barriers to outdoor recreation experiences, making it easier for more people to enjoy America’s public lands and waters. The bill simplifies and streamlines recreation access on public lands and extends the recreation season to ease overcrowding at public campgrounds.
The other is the National Park Restoration Act (S. 2509 and H.R. 5210). This bill provides innovative and bipartisan solutions to help overcome the more than $11 billion maintenance backlog in our national parks – four times what the parks receive in annual appropriations. The measure would create a National Park Restoration Fund to provide mandatory funding for maintenance backlog and priority projects at national parks.
We are seeing some progress. In June Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced that $61.6 million will be distributed to states to support outdoor recreation and conservation projects. These are nontaxpayer dollars from energy lease revenues that will help federal matching grants that leverage public and private investment to improve outdoor recreation opportunities. This is the type of creative funding that the United States needs to fund outdoor recreation infrastructure, including campgrounds.
The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) is also working at the state level and has called for all governors to establish Outdoor Recreation Industry Offices in their states. Secretary Zinke is asking governors to recognize that outdoor recreation is an economic driver across the country. RVDA board of directors member Mike Pearo recently met with the governor’s office in Minnesota on this issue, and ORR is working to set up meetings with other governors to encourage the formation of these offices.
RVDA will keep members up-to-date on issues throughout the summer and fall. I encourage you to visit the advocacy section of www.rvda.org for more informa- tion and to get involved. You can also contact me at [email protected] or Brett Richardson, RVDA’s director of legal and regulatory affairs, at [email protected]