ARA of Florida member joins effort to assist Japan disaster recovery
Tiffany Riordan, director of marketing at Atlas Party Rental in Boynton Beach, Fla., has a personal connection to Japan that inspired her to help when the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck the country in March. While attending high school in Plymouth, Mass., Riordan participated in her town’s sister-city exchange program, spending a summer with a host family in Shichigahama, Japan. The experience made a powerful and lasting impression on her that spurred her to action in the wake of the disaster.
As soon as she heard about a fundraiser being organized by Ingrid Adolphus of The Event Production Co., Miami, she called to see how she and Atlas Party Rental could help. Before long, Riordan was sending emails to everyone in her company’s database to get the word out about the event. Atlas Party Rental jumped on board as a sponsor and donated tables, linens and chairs. Others in the event industry pitched in as well.
On March 31, more than 200 people gathered at the Moore Building in Miami to support the effort. The event raised more than $3,700, with all funds going to the American Red Cross for the sole purpose of assisting disaster relief efforts in Japan.
“When I was in high school getting ready to travel to Japan, I had no idea what to expect,” Riordan says. “I could have never imagined that many years from that day, the Japanese people were going to be hit with such a horrific tragedy. It was the most amazing feeling to be able to give back to Japan as an adult. The most amazing part was that the industry in which I have made my career also was willing to give back. On March 31, we all came together. I was no longer one girl traveling on my own to a faraway land. I was one woman in a group of industry leaders who came together to give back and that was a fantastic feeling,” she says.
ARA of Arizona draws a large crowd for tax code meeting
The Ritchie Bros. facility in Phoenix hosted 85 ARA of Arizona members on April 22 for a western barbecue dinner and general membership meeting. The main purpose of the meeting was to discuss various aspects of the current tax code in Arizona.
Farrell Quinlan, state director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB); Kevin McCarthy, president of the Arizona Tax Research Association; and Bob DeBusk, president of American Equipment Rentals in Phoenix, were invited to speak about current bills that may impact equipment rental companies in the state as well as the best ways for members to make their needs known to legislators.
The first Arizona-specific issue discussed was House Bill 2202, which was recently signed into law. The bill provides a way for businesses to form an “affected class” based on the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code. Because the equipment and party rental business shares a SIC code, they can more effectively demonstrate a “mass misunderstanding” of taxation laws such as R15-5-1502, which made labor, pickup, delivery, assembly and setup taxable items in Arizona. Many businesses were unaware of this change in the tax code and are being hit with thousands of dollars in fees and fines. “Based on a show of hands at the meeting, more than 60 percent of our membership was definitely unaware of the taxation changes,” says Rory Robinson, manager of Appel’s Rent All in Gilbert, Ariz. The hope with the new law, he says, is that past oversights will be forgiven and businesses can move forward in good faith.
DeBusk then presented information about the 5 percent tax surcharge on rental trailers, which is to be collected on all trailers rented without drivers for the purpose of hauling personal property.
In addition to promoting awareness of the current tax code, the speakers encouraged members to get to know their local state legislators because “[they] are very sensitive about being known as a friend to small business.”
The meeting topic for this meeting was chosen from those identified as having member interest in a recent ARA of Arizona membership survey. Future meetings are expected to address the other topics of noted concern to members.