Recreational vehicle dealers in the Kansas City, Mo., area are worried the government’s $787 billion stimulus bill may not stimulate many sales in their troubled industry.
The Kansas City Star reported that a key provision of the bill grants a federal tax deduction applicable on the first $49,500 paid for a new car, truck or motorhome.
But language was stripped from the bill that would have extended that tax break to non-motorized trailers, fifth-wheels and other towed camper units. Those units make up 85% of the industry’s annual sales.
“We are being left out,” said Preston Filger, the owner of Liberty RV. “It would help. It absolutely would benefit our sales.”
At the same time, Filger acknowledged sales of costlier motorhomes sorely need the break. “The motorhome market has taken more of a beating than travel trailers,” he said.
Phil Ingrassia, vice president for communications with the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), said the industry had lobbied for inclusion of towable units, noting, “We worked to get that in, but it didn’t make the cut.”
The good news is that other tax breaks that aid the industry are still standing, including the deductibility of interest paid on “second home” RV loans, Ingrassia said.
Brad Outersky, the owner of Show Me Campers & Boats in Grain Valley, said he would love to have the tax break for his dealership, which sells only non-motorized units.
“My manufacturers are dying,” he said. “One of them just laid off nine salesmen.”
Outersky said that despite the stimulus snub, sales so far this year were surprisingly strong – starting with the 34 boats, campers and trailers his store sold at the Mid-American Boat & RV Show held the last two weekends at Bartle Hall.
Show promoter Pat Riha said that while attendance was off about 9%, that was better than preseason shows elsewhere, which have reported 30% dips.
“People who could afford to buy came to negotiate and make deals,” Riha said.