Trump discusses his plan for tax reform with truckers in front of a specially designed tractortrailer

Trump discusses his plan for tax reform with truckers in front of a specially designed tractor-trailer.

Trump uses truckers to elevate tax reform push

A video replay of Trump's speech to truckers is available through the White House.

President Trump promised a group of truckers during a speech in Pennsylvania that his plan to lower taxes will provide financial relief to their businesses and families.

“America first means putting America’s truckers first,” said Trump, speaking in front of a tractor-trailer decorated with the slogans “I Love Trucks” and “Truckers for Tax Reform.”

Trump made frequent references to the heroic and underappreciated role that truckers play in America’s economy. He promised to keep fuel prices low and advance a $1 billion infrastructure package “with a special focus on roadways and highways.”

The central theme of the speech, however, was on his previously announced framework to modernize the “outdated, complex, and extremely burdensome tax code.”

The result for truckers will be that “you will have so much money to spend,” he said.

Among the highlighted items of the framework were reducing the number of tax brackets, lowering tax rates, boosting credits for child and elderly care, and making it easier for companies to bring back overseas profits.

Trump also pledged that companies will be able to write-off 100% of new equipment in the same year it is purchased, and to cut the marginal tax rate for small and mid-sized businesses to the “lowest level in more than 80 years.”

Trump recognized Kevin Burch, president of Jet Express and chairman of American Trucking Associations (ATA), who said he would “be able to invest in new equipment and additional training for workers” if tax legislation is passed.

Additionally, Trump called for the permanent end to the estate tax, often referred to as the death tax.

Trump cited Calvin Ewell, president of trucking fleet H.R. Ewell, as an example of a business owner who could struggle to pass down his family-owned business if that tax is not repealed.

“While trucking sustains the vitality of the U.S. economy, we also carry a heavy tax burden, paying the highest corporate tax rate of any transportation mode,” said ATA president and CEO Chris Spear. “That is why we joined President Trump at today’s event, in support of his plan to reform our tax code. We urge Congress to follow the president’s lead and pass tax reform by year’s end."

One day before Trump’s speech, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed during her daily briefing there was not yet any actual tax reform legislation.

“Our priorities remain the same. But the final piece of legislation hasn’t been finalized, so this is a time of negotiation. But the principles and the priorities that we’ve laid out are not up for negotiation,” she said.

Don Daseke is optimistic tax reform legislation will benefit all truckers.

Ahead of the speech, Daseke Inc. CEO Don Daseke told Fleet Owner he was optimistic Trump would be able to lower tax rates, bring back overseas corporate profits, and boost economic growth at home.

“We, like all business executives, are in favor of all of those things,” said Daseke, whose company is a flatbed and specialized freight specialist.

In response to a question, Daseke said he believes Trump’s tax plan will benefit all truck drivers, including the 1,000 owner-operators his company utilizes.

“If it is good for the American economy, it is good for largest trucking company and the smallest trucking company,” he said of the tax proposal.

​He also suggested that including truckers as part of the tax speech would help keep the focus on the desperate need for a new federal infrastructure plan. 

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