The Tire Industry Association (TIA) has joined other automotive associations in signing letters requesting urgent action to protect industry members in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
A letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., urged Congress and the Trump administration to take the following actions:
- Issue a “disaster” declaration that would allow small businesses to obtain funding directly from the Small Business Administration and other federal, state and private relief entities;
- Allow 100% deduction of business losses in 2020 for all non-remote-function-capable small businesses (NRFCSB);
- Allow NRFCSB employees to qualify for federal-state unemployment insurance benefits without impacting the employers’ insurance rates;
- Provide federal childcare subsidies for NRFCSB employers and employees;
- Provide mortgage assistance plans for the same employers and employees;
- Provide federal assistance for COVID-19-related health care costs, and/or a mandate that private insurers must cover COVID-19-related health care either for free or at most the actual cost of the care; and
- Include tax-exempt entities such as associations and nonprofits in temporary aid to address the harm caused by event cancellations and reduced attendance.
The letter was cosigned by executives from the Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA), the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association (ILMA), the Auto Care Association (ACA), the California Automotive Business Coalition (CalABC), the International Carwash Association (ICA), the Automotive Service Association (ASA), the California Autobody Association (CAA), the Independent Automotive Professionals Association (IAP) and TIA.
A separate letter was sent to National Governors Association (NGA) Executive Director Bill McBride and cosigned by executives from the ASA, the ACA, the AOCA, the ILMA, the ICA, the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS), the Service Station Dealers of America and Allied Trades (SSDA) and TIA. It urged governors to take immediate action to obtain an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration for their states so that suffering small businesses can have access to Small Business Administration disaster support.
“The crisis isn’t two months away. It’s here,” the letter to the NGA said. “Consumers are scared. Many of these businesses are already down by 40% to 75%. Their operating margins cannot sustain such losses. When they fail, millions of employees become unemployed with no other source of available income, while thousands of business owners declare bankruptcy.”
TIA Director of Government Relations Roy Littlefield IV said the association is very concerned with the impact the virus will have on the tire business and the greater economy.
“TIA represents small businesses that cannot switch their core functions to remote operation during this disaster,” he said. “Tire dealers are staying open under these conditions to especially service trucks, emergency vehicles and vehicles of medical personnel. Tires and tire dealers are essential to keeping the flow of supplies to stores and hospitals.”
The Automotive Service Association (ASA), which also participated in the letter, is urging its members to contact their governor for federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration requests.
The Small Business Administration has said it will work directly with state governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. SBA has also updated the criteria for obtaining disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Under the revised criteria, “disaster assistance loans will be available statewide following an economic injury declaration. This will apply to current and future disaster assistance declarations related to Coronavirus.”
ASA is urging members to go to this link to write to their governors in support of obtaining an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration.
In addition, ASA has signed onto a letter to the National Governors Association urging immediate action be taken to obtain an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration for each state, so that small businesses can have access to SBA disaster support.
This follows ASA contacting members of Congress reiterating that the outbreak of COVID-19 has rapidly been impacting industries and small businesses, such as automotive service providers and suppliers, that do not have the ability to switch their core functions to a remote operation.
Finally, ASA has signed onto a letter to the National Governors Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties, and the National League of Cities, urging their members to ensure that state and local policies safeguard the ability of essential business to continue operations including automotive repair facilities.