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Frist maneuvers for another vote on estate tax

November 18, 2010
By Ray Scarpelli Sr., Metro Chicago NADA Director

Though the Senate rejected legislation that combined an estate-tax cut with an increase in the federal minimum wage and the renewal of several expired tax cuts, the fight for a permanent reduction in the estate tax is not over. The bill, which on Aug. 3 fell three votes short of the 60 votes needed to bring it to the floor for debate, may see another vote this fall. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) told senators who voted against the bill to "rethink long and hard" during the four-week recess that ends in early September.


Illinois Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin and Barack Obama have opposed the measure, but it still is important for dealers to contact them and appeal for their support.


Four Democrats joined Republicans and voted for the bill: Sens. Robert Byrd (W.Va.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Bill Nelson (Fla.) and Blanche Lincoln (Ark.). Two Republicans voted against the bill: Sens. Lincoln Chafee (R.I.) and George Voinovich (Ohio).


Despite the bill’s defeat, the vote represents progress on death-tax relief. Frist’s statement that he may bring up the bill in the fall provides the NADA with a strong opportunity to push the issue during its Washington Conference in September. During the August recess when senators are in their home districts, call to thank those who supported NADA’s effortsIf your senators did not vote to support the legislationcall them to express disappointment, ask for an explanation, and urge them to reconsider their votes next month. The NADA appreciates the help of all dealers and state and metro association executives who worked on the issue and have already contacted their senators.


In other legislative and regulatory news:


  • The NADA’s efforts to make America’s roadways safer by protecting consumers from purchasing flood and salvage vehicles recently took a big step forward when Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) introduced legislation (S. 3707) that would require insurance companies to make total loss information commercially available.


According to Lott, chairman of the influential Surface Transportation Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, the bill "will make available to consumers information about automobiles declared a ‘total loss’ by insurance companies. This legislation is particularly needed in Katrina’s wake, but it’s hardly a new problem. Even without the influx of Katrina-damaged cars, thousands of wrecked, flooded or stolen automobiles are sold every year with clean titles to unsuspecting consumers."


Last year, more than 5 million vehicles were totaled, including an estimated 500,000 from the Gulf hurricanes, yet many of these cars still have clean titles. David Regan, NADA vice president of legislative affairs, added, "(The) NADA strongly supports Senator Lott’s legislation to help ‘red flag’ totaled vehicles forever. Senator Lott is known as a longtime champion for addressing problems related to salvage title fraud, and with the hurricanes in the Gulf region, he is uniquely positioned to address the problem of flood vehicles."


  • The Federal Communications Commission’s new rule requiring opt-out notices to be placed on the first page of fax ads to businesses and consumers took effect Aug. 1. The NADA recently sent to all members a summary of the new rules that included sample opt-out-notice templates. The summary also is available at


In NADA news:


  • The NADA is sponsoring an exhibition of the work of French artist Henri Rousseau (1844-1910).  The exhibition, Henri Rousseau: Jungles in Paris, is on display through Oct. 15 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The association’s sponsorship of the exhibit of early 20th century works coincides with the 100th anniversary of the franchised auto-retail system.  
  • How can you encourage teenagers in your community to consider working at your store? Host an event during NADA’s Automotive Career Month this October. You can request an event-planning kit at The kit contains sample letters to school principals, guidance counselors, and local media; a sample event agenda; two Automotive Career Month posters with room for your dealership information; artwork for student brochures; a brief DVD on the variety of careers available; and a press release and scripts for public service announcements.


In NADA convention news: 

  • Online advance registration for the 2007 NADA Convention and Exposition, Feb. 3-6 in Las Vegas, is open through Dec. 22. To register online or download a registration form, visit or call the convention department at 703-821-7188.


A convention promotional was sent this month to all NADA members. In the coming weeks, look for more information on the convention, including speaker and program listings.