Monday, October 31, 2011

Washington Post Talking About ASSET

By Thomas Heath - Washington Post 10/28/2011

Speaking of auto dealers ...

Jack Fitzgerald, local auto dealer turned grassroots organizer, is turning his attention to a new cause: the estate tax.

The gravel-voiced businessman, born poor on North Capitol and K street, has helped to found Americans Standing for the Simplification of the Estate Tax.

“We’ve been in and out of 100 offices and organizations,” said Fitzgerald. “We haven’t been thrown out yet. People are interested in it. Our proposal eliminates the forced closure of a business or of a farm to pay a 35 percent estate tax, which may soon be raised to 55 percent.”

The coalition hopes to have a bill before Congress in 2012.

Friday, May 20, 2011

40,000 Child Safety Seats

It was an amazing milestone to celebrate on May 19th the installation and education with a parent on our 40,000th child safety seat. When we first started this program in 1999 with Montgomery County we could not have imagined that we would still be so active and involved, to reach 40,000 car seats. The best news is how much the misuse rate has continued to drop with each event, from a high of 97% in 1999 to just 50% year to date. Remarkable. Thank you to all the volunteers and to our friends at the state and local level for making this possible.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fitzgerald Joins Billion Acts of Green: Earth Day 2011

Jack Fitzgerald talks about the Billion Acts of Green theme for Earth Day 2011. Fitzgerald Auto Malls is committed to doing our part by recycling 82% of what we use. In addition, our LEED Gold dealership in Germantown Maryland uses Solar and Wind Power, and all our Maryland dealerships are 100% Wind Power. Florida and Pennsylvania are Green Power.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Car Rental Convention

I must admit that when they asked me to give the keynote address at the National Car Rental Convention in Las Vegas I couldn't understand why they wanted to hear from me. As it turns out, so many of the rental operators are facing the same challenges that we all face in business, from staffing issues to government regulation.

My message to the franchisors and franchisees (some of which were ours from Rent-a-Wreck/Priceless) was very simple: all politics is local and get involved. I know that is not the first time people have heard that expression from Tip O'Neil's book, but the truth is more business people need to educate our elected officials on how our business works and the jobs we provide.

Whether you provide three or four jobs, or 1,000...those jobs are important to the people who have been elected to public office.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

ASSET: Americans Standing for the Simplification of the Estate Tax

We are proud to be part of a new organization that we have cofounded called ASSET: Americans Standing for the Simplification of the Estate Tax. We want to pay the estate tax, just change the way its collected.

While experts argue over the merits of the estate tax in what seems like a never-ending debate, there is a way to eliminate many of the problems it causes while preserving the revenues it generates. ASSET has developed an interim measure that will continue the concept of an estate tax while changing the way it is collected.

The present method of collecting the estate tax causes the liquidation of farms and businesses and the loss of thousands of jobs. The ASSET proposal will eliminate that problem.

We propose a “pay-as-you-go” solution in which taxpayers making approximately $1 million dollars a year or more pay their estate tax in an annual surcharge on their adjusted gross income (AGI) (instead of a tax only imposed upon their death). The total amount of the surcharge in a given year would be sufficient to replace all of the present revenue from both the estate and gift tax.

The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) in December 2009 calculated that a surcharge rate of 1.77% imposed on the AGI of the top 1% of taxpayers would equal the revenue generated by the estate and gift tax, based on the 2009 rates. Based on those statistics and the newly enacted estate tax rates, ASSET now believe it may be worth considering applying the surcharge only to taxpayers with an AGI of $1 million or more.

The surcharge is small because all loopholes are eliminated; and all targeted taxpayers pay. Taxpayers save the millions they’re currently paying to avoid the tax. The IRS saves expenses because the tax is collected on Form 1040.

The government nets more and taxpayers spend less, and no farms, businesses or jobs are lost.

Many experts have opined that the total capital gains taxes that will result from the sale of estate assets (with no step-up in value) would be much greater than the estate taxes that would have been collected. Because the surcharge equals the total revenue from the estate and gift tax, the excess capital gains taxes will represent a windfall to the government. It is worth considering whether some of this windfall could be “rebated” in future years to reduce the amount of the surcharge and it could also be used for deficit reduction. We will need the IRS to track the assets to be sure they collect the capital gain tax. And, it is worth considering how this proposal might address the question of how taxpayers might opt to undo their “irrevocable” trusts and other trusts created as part of an estate plan, which would generate the avalanche of economic activity and capital gains referenced above.