Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) and Abigail Spanberger (D-Virginia) March 31 reintroduced legislation to establish a refundable income tax credit for qualified commercial drivers.
First introduced by Gallagher and Spanberger in April 2022, but failing to make it out of the House Committee on Ways and Means last legislative cycle, the bipartisan Strengthening Supply Chains Through Truck Driver Incentives Act would provide short-term incentives to attract and retain new drivers, the legislators believe.
The lawmakers expect to bill to create a new refundable tax credit of up to $7,500 for truck drivers holding a valid Class A CDL who drive at least 1,900 hours in the year. This tax credit would last for two years (2023 and 2024). A new refundable tax credit of up to $10,000 is available for new truck drivers or individuals enrolled in a registered trucking apprenticeship. This tax credit would also last for two years. The bill also allows new truck drivers to be eligible for the credit if they did not drive a commercial truck in the previous year or drive for at least 1,420 hours in the current year. They may receive a proportion of the credit if they drive less than 1,420 hours in the year but drove at least an average of 40 hours a week upon starting to drive.
“We need to encourage more young men and women to join this career path," Gallagher said, invoking the notion of a workforce shortage in trucking, "and this bipartisan bill is a commonsense way to recruit and retain more drivers to keep our shelves stocked and our economy moving.”
The legislation is endorsed by the American Trucking Associations, American Loggers Council, National Grocers Association, International Foodservice Distributors Association, American Building Materials Alliance, Forest Resources Association, Hardwood Federation, Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America, Third Way, and National Pork Producers Council.
Earlier this year, Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-South Dakota) and Jim Costa (D-California) introduced the Safer Highways and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking (SHIP IT) Act, a bill that, among other things, also called for a temporary $7,500 tax credit for eligible drivers. That bill puts a cap on eligibility linked to adjusted gross income for the taxable year not exceeding $135,000 for couples filing jointly; $112,500 as head of household; or $90,000 individually. New drivers under the SHIP IT Act would be eligible for a $10,000 tax credit. That bill in February was referred to the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.