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U.S. Reps, Restaurant Industry Support a Cleaning & PPE Tax Credit as Part of Congressional Hearing

September 25, 2020

During a U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means subcommittee hearing today, committee members, restaurant industry representatives, and other leaders expressed their support for the passage of a cleaning and personal protective equipment (PPE) tax credit—a bipartisan proposal spearheaded by ISSA—The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association and supported by more than 40 trade associations to protect the safety of workers, customers, and the public.

In his opening statement at the hearing on “Restaurants in America During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” the ranking member on the House Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures, Rep. Adrian Smith (NE-R), stated that “Restaurants—their cooks, servers, bartenders, and hosts–need assistance, and I hope we can have a constructive conversation about ways we can help within this subcommittee’s jurisdiction, such as assistance with cleaning and safety costs or adjusting the employee retention tax credit.”

As part of his submitted remarks for the hearing, the ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Kevin Brady (TX-R), stated that “We should be passing the Healthy Workplace Tax Credit introduced by Rep. Tom Rice and the Workplace Testing Tax Credit introduced by Rep. David Schweikert. These measures will help our small businesses safely and responsibly reopen while protecting the health and well-being of workers. We have a tax code today that is built for growth. And we have restaurants around the country who want to keep their doors open, keep their workers paid, and keep our bellies full. Let’s use that tax code to help them weather this storm so that together we continue rebuilding our great American economy.”

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer (D) testified that “When I talk with restaurateurs in my community, they are pretty clear on the type of help they need: expansion and increased flexibility of the Paycheck Protection Program, expansion of the Employee Retention Tax Credit that I know this committee is considering, and tax credits to help with the unexpected costs of personal protective equipment to safeguard the health of their employees and customers alike.”

In his written testimony, Melvin Rodriguez, President and CEO of Galatoire’s Restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana and Chair of the National Restaurant Association, stated that “…restaurants have worked with state and local health officials and adapted to distancing, equipment and facility upgrades. But these upgrades have a cost, and we would ask that Congress enact a refundable tax credit to help restaurants sustain further investments in an era of dramatically decreased revenues. We appreciate the introduction of the Healthy Workplace Tax Credit and the Committee’s support for this issue.”

Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-D) mentioned in his introduction “The safe reopening tax credit to help small businesses cover the expenses that help reduce the spread of the virus such as PPE, plexiglass, and improvements to facilitate social distancing.” Multiple witnesses agreed that such a tax credit would be of great help in keeping their businesses safe and open.

Rep. Stephanie Murphy (FL-D), co-sponsor of the bipartisan Clean Start: Back to Work Tax Credit Act, mentioned that there is bipartisan and bicameral support for “providing a safe reopening tax credit” and said that such a credit should be part of any stimulus package. She pointed out that “the economy isn’t going to return to normal until people feel safe engaging with businesses, and restaurants are just one but one very obvious example of small businesses trying to survive and navigate new standards of protocol for safety…so we should be helping them to survive and operate in a safe way.”

Take action now: Please contact your elected officials today and urge them to pass a cleaning and PPE tax credit before they leave Washington, DC to campaign in their home districts for the upcoming elections. For questions regarding ISSA advocacy, including our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact John Nothdurft, ISSA Director of Government Affairs.