If you are a business owner in the school bus industry, you might not have much free time to think about succession planning. But a plan for the future ownership of your business is not optional.
The move would help taxpayers and school districts save nearly $14 million per year, according to the New York School Bus Contractors Association.
Fuel and infrastructure tax credits for propane, natural gas and biodiesel are among tax provisions that have been retroactively extended through 2014.
Arlington (Wash.) Public Schools leaders are looking for support for a two-year levy on the Nov. 4 general election ballot expected to generate $1.5 million each year to replace old school buses. Nearly half the district’s fleet is at least 13 years old and fully depreciated.
School bus operations have been exempt from the federal fuel tax since 1978. Keeping it that way is a key concern for many in the industry.
The bill, signed into law last week, is designed to give flexibility to school districts facing transportation budget reductions. The legislation allows districts that have lost at least 10% of their transportation fund levies due to property tax caps to use money from other funds to pay for transportation through 2016.
The Indiana legislation would allow school corporations that have lost at least 10% of their transportation fund levies due to circuit breaker credits (property tax caps) to use money from other funds to pay for transportation through 2016. The bill unanimously passes the state Senate.
The Propane Council of Texas reports that about 75 Texas school districts are operating buses powered by propane autogas. A 50-cent-per-gallon tax credit for propane has helped districts generate big savings in fuel costs.
Under the new legislation, fuel used for school buses operated by municipal and parish school boards would not be subject to the state fuel tax. Currently, contractor-operated school buses in Louisiana qualify for a refund of three-fourths of the fuel tax.
Dallas County Schools is among the school systems in the state running buses on the fuel, and it reportedly saves about $500,000 annually with the $0.50-per-gallon tax credit. Officials from the Propane Council of Texas say that with the recent extension of alternative-fuel tax credits, districts will be able to save more money this year.
The fiscal deal passed by Congress this week includes provisions that benefit fleets that use alternative fuels. The bill, expected to be signed into law by President Obama, extends tax credits for such fuels as propane, compressed natural gas and biodiesel — all of which power many school buses.
Repeal of the exemption was under consideration in the Senate Finance Committee. The National School Transportation Association called on committee members to defend against the effort, which association officials said “would have been tantamount to imposing a tax increase on private school bus transportation providers.”
After some IRS offices challenged operators’ claims of exemptions for smaller school buses earlier this year, the NSTA presented the issue to members of Congress, who asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to clarify the tax policy. Geithner stated that the law does not limit the fuel tax exemption based on size of the bus, and the IRS cases have been dismissed.