In an effort to promote workforce opportunities for individuals entering the trucking workforce, the House lawmakers recently proposed a bill. This bill will allow drivers with a Class A CDL to receive a refundable tax credit up to $7,500.
This bill was unveiled by Representatives Mike Gallagher and Abigail Spanberger in response to the shortage of drivers throughout the industry. This bill is known as the Strengthening Supply Chains through Truck Driver Incentives Act. Spanberger, member of the Agriculture Committee, notes the efforts truck drivers had made during the pandemic. They were required to continue working through the pandemic in an effort to keep the economy moving and communities strong.
Gallagher, a member of the Armed Services Committee, adds that the trucking industry is fighting a huge workforce shortage, which is disrupting virtually every aspect of the supply chains. He believes that more men and women need to enter the trucking industry in order to keep the shelves stocked and improve the economy.
There are a few requirements that truck drivers would need to meet in order to qualify for the refundable tax credit. First of all, the drivers would need to log at least 1,900 operational hours during the year. This would break down to roughly 36 hours per week, right in line with the current driving regulations hours of operations. Furthermore, the bill allows the credit to be accessible for a two-year period through 2024. In addition, a provision could establish a refundable tax credit of up to $10,000 for people in a registered trucking apprenticeship program.
The legislation had been reported to a committee of jurisdiction for consideration, which its sponsors had introduced the bill last year. There are a number of stakeholders involved in the bill, like the American Trucking Associations for example. The American Trucking Association is behind this bill as they believe the trucking workforce is short roughly 78,000 drivers.
The American Trucking Association President Chris Spear states that reducing the nationwide shortage of qualified truck drivers will require an investment in developing the future of the truck drivers. Even with the driver pay continuously increasing, the Strengthening Supply Chains through Truck Driver Incentives Act will help create even more of an incentive for those considering the trucking industry.
This bill will help provide relief for citizens currently driving trucks, help retain these industry workers, and incentivize individuals to go into the industry. Spear believes that the bipartisan legislation will help make a difference in the lives of new truckers, even helping individuals reach the middle class lifestyle without the time and massive expense of a four year college degree.
Dale Bennet, the Chief Executive Officer of the Virginia Trucking Association, states that the pandemic and supply chain issues displayed the importance of having a sufficient supply of qualified truck drivers. He believes that the proposed bill will help provide a short-term solution to not only retain truck drivers, and even attract new drivers as well.
The executive director of the American Loggers Council notes that the legislation will help provide incentives that are necessary in order to support the “pipeline” of drivers.
There are many other backers of the legislation, all of which include some form of association with the trucking industry. This would include the National Grocers Association, the International Foodservice Distributors Association, the American Building Materials Alliance, the Forest Resources Association, the Hardwood Federation, the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America, Third Way and the National Pork Producers Council. These associations all rely on the trucking industry to keep their companies running efficiently, without drivers their industries will suffer.
Overall, it is unsurprising to see a high number of organizations in support of the Strengthening Supply Chains through Truck Driver Incentives Act. The act will create a $7,500 refundable tax refund for drivers who have logged at least 1,900 miles over the course of the year. This will help incentivize new drivers into the trucking industry, retain drivers already in the industry, and could even bring back drivers who left the industry previously.
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