U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) last week unveiled new bipartisan legislation to provide comprehensive relief and recovery measures for the convention, trade show, entertainment, travel and hospitality industries and their workers. The Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act of 2020 would stimulate the economy by creating new recovery incentives for hospitality and trade shows, enhance the employee retention tax credit to help maintain worker connections to their employer, and provide recovery incentives for middle class families to jumpstart travel when safe.
The coronavirus pandemic has devastated economies and industries across the country, and Nevadas hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors have been especially hard hit. These industries are the economic engine of our state and our communities, and the incredible challenges they are now facing due to COVID-19 demand our attentionand actionin Congress, said Senator Cortez Masto. This bipartisan bill, which I am proud to introduce, will give these industries the support and incentives they desperately need to recover and thrive as the Silver State continues efforts to safely and responsibly re-open.
While the economy is on its way to recovery, several businesses and workers are still hurting and in need of assistance, said Senator Cramer. Our bill injects help into some of the hardest hit industries and encourages them to hire and retain employees.
While Nevadas resort industry continues to do all it can to recover as quickly as possible and bring Nevadans safely back to work, the road back to economic normalcy is expected to take years. The bipartisan Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act will help expedite recovery and provide immediate relief to struggling Nevada families and businesses that depend on the meetings and conventions and the travel and tourism industries, said Virginia Valentine, President of the Nevada Resort Association. We applaud Senators Cortez Masto and Cramer for taking action to prevent permanent job losses and further damage to our battered industry and workforce by focusing on common sense solutions.
By targeting tax incentives on the areas that need the most helpincluding in the meetings and events and entertainment sectorsthe Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act will provide a significant boost to travel jobs, helping to ensure the millions of Americans that rely on travel for income can get the financial stability they need, said Tori Barnes, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy at the U.S. Travel Association.
The bipartisan Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act will enable the gaming industry to retain employees and jumpstart nongaming elements of our business, like meetings and conventions, which account for the majority of our revenue in markets like the Las Vegas strip, said Bill Miller, President and Chief Executive Officer at the American Gaming Association.
The bipartisan Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act, introduced thanks to the continued leadership by Senators Cortez Masto and Cramer, is exactly what the hotel industry needs to help drive demand, bring back jobs and reignite a continued investment in the communities they serve, said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
For a full list of endorsements for the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act, click HERE. Legislative text can be found here.
The COVID-19 pandemic presents a tremendous challenge to both public health and the economy, and no industry in the U.S. has been more severely impacted than the travel and hospitality sector. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in travel and tourism has fallen by 23.9% across the nation this year. Passenger air travel to Las Vegas has declined by 60.8% alone, and even as Nevada continues the process of re-opening, Las Vegas has seen a decline in visitor volume of 57% from August of last year.
The Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act would address the significant challenges facing the tourism and hospitality industries as the U.S. continues work toward recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act would:
- Support the convention and trade show industries by establishing a tax credit for the cost of attending or hosting a convention, business meeting, or trade show in the United States between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2023.
- Make improvements to the Employee Retention Tax Credit.
- Restore the Entertainment Business Expense Deduction by repealing the changes made by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
- Support the restaurant industry by establishing a tax credit for restaurants or food service businesses, covering any cost associated with reopening or increasing service at an establishment forced to close down or reduce operations due to the COVID-19 pandemicincluding any renovation, remediation, testing, or labor cost needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Credit would be effective between the date of enactment and December 31, 2022.
- Provide a modest tax credit for qualified travel expenses for many Americans.
One of Senator Cortez Mastos top priorities is ensuring Nevadas hospitality, travel and tourism sectors have the resources and support they need as our economy continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. She recently partnered with Senator Durbin in introducing the Worker Health Care Coverage Protection Act, a bill that would protect millions of unemployed or furloughed workers from losing their health insurance by enabling them to access subsidized COBRA coverage and keep their insurance. Senator Cortez Masto also introduced the Sustaining Tourism Enterprises During the COVID19 Pandemic (STEP) Act, bipartisan legislation to provide economic support for organizations involved in promoting and hosting tourism, travel, or other special events.