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Editor’s Note: The following is a note to members from Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) President Mike Molino outlining ongoing activities in Washington, D.C., to improve conditions in the RV industry.
Indiana Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Granger, was the leader in getting the motorhome sales tax deduction included in the stimulus package.
This week, the American Recreation Coalition’s (ARC) Executive Committee – Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) President Richard Coon, the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s Thom Dammrich, ARC’s Derrick Crandall, and myself – met with Donnelly. He is very tuned in to the White House. Donnelly rode on the President Obama’s first Air Force One flight. As you may realize, that trip had an RV connection, because they flew to Elkhart, Ind. Donnelly is an industry supporter and, for a second termer, has a lot of “juice.”
Donnelly understands our credit and banking issues. He says his face-to-face sessions with the president and with his Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel, assure him that they understand it also.
He believes the industry will be in a favorable position because President Obama has drawn a line in the sand regarding job losses in Elkhart. The administration will keep that on their radar screen and do whatever they can to fix the problem as a sign of recovery.
Donnelly says they cannot afford to have the Elkhart situation worsen. Donnelly is working on getting the credit system to support RV loans both floorplan and retail. He has talked directly to several national bank CEOs and met with Federal Reserve officials this week. He promised to keep us informed.
The congressman also apologized for not getting the industry the full benefit from the sales tax credit. Donnelly said that at one time he had both motorized and towables in the stimulus bill. The Senate changed the language during the joint mark-up of the bill so that it includes only motorized. He said he would lead a follow up effort to get towables included the next chance they get. He expects a second stimulus later in the spring.
By the way, too few are celebrating our greatest (in my opinion) recent achievement in making RVs affordable. We retained the mortgage interest deduction for RV loans. There was some doubt at one point. The auto industry wanted to include car loan interest as deductible and got rejected. We were holding our breath that the Congress would cut off our deduction. We kept it. That’s worth a lot more than sales tax credit.
There is a move in Washington that could limit this deduction for certain income groups, so the industry must be vigilant in this area.