Parking Taxes, Conference, Education Head NPA Agenda
October, 2009PT spoke with Marty Stein, President of the National Parking Association in his office in Washington DC.
Cities need money, so they increase taxes on parking operators. Before they do that, why not enforce the laws that exist and collect that money?” Marty Stein was a parking operator in Michigan before he became head of the National Parking Association. He is proud that his heritage can bring knowledge and depth to his position.
“Yes, I am aware that a parking operator (not an NPA member, by the way) has been convicted of tax evasion in Los Angeles. And I’m glad that this is happening. It’s about time that municipalities begin to be consistent in the application of the law. Legitimate operators need to know that as they follow the law and collect and pay the taxes, they aren’t putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage to organizations that don’t.”
“I do believe, however, that due to the current economic downturn, municipalities are looking at every possible revenue source. They aren’t really in a position to raise property taxes, so they look to private businesses to help pay their bills. Parking is an easy mark for them.”
“I was thinking about all this while I was driving in this morning. At Connecticut and L, just around the corner, there is a tremendous back up every morning, caused by people who cross the street against the “don’t walk” sign. They block traffic and prevent people from turning right and cause a lot of congestion.
“It seems to me that if the city enforced the “Walk/Don’t Walk” signs by having someone stand there and pass out tickets, two things would happen – revenue would be generated for the city, and congestion would be lessened. Our legislators seem to want to generate income by passing new laws where the goal should be to actually enforce the laws we have.”
“Parking is an integral part of our city. If all the garages closed on any given day, the city would be at a standstill.
Turning to the latest news from NPA headquarters, Marty said the group is excited about its convention being held October 12-15 at National Harbor, MD.
“It’s a beautiful setting overlooking the Potomac, and in a world class property with all the amenities to make the Parking Show of Shows a grand success.
“The exhibit hall is full: we have exceeded the number of vendors we had last year. That in itself is surprising since Las Vegas was such a big draw. Registrations are strong, and we are looking forward to a great convention.
“Our Keynote speaker, T. Boone Pickens, has a lot to say, not only about The Pickens Plan, his environmental initiative, but also on the economy and our dependence on foreign oil. We have a great mix of business sessions for private operators, hospitals, airports, municipalities, or valet operators; there is something for everybody. The NPA is noted for its long history and networking opportunities. Our members have decades of experience and mingle and work with newcomers, share ideas, and make the industry better.
“In addition to all that, the NPA is proud to be a presenting sponsor for the National Building Museum’s new exhibit entitled “House of Cars: Innovation and the Parking Garage.” Based on Shannon Saunders McDonald’s book, the exhibit explores the history of the parking garage from its inception through today.
“The NPA’s sponsorship was made possible by serious contributions from Herb Anderson at Impark, Derek Kiley at WPS, Scott Burr at Tech Painting, Gary Cudney of Carl Walker and Brett Harwood. Their financial assistance enabled us to be the presenting sponsor and went a long way to making the entire exhibit possible.
“The NPA is going to take a traveling version of the exhibit to the sites of our conventions over the next three years, heading to Boston in 2010, Las Vegas in 2011, and then to our convention location in 2012, which has not yet been chosen. Andrew Blair of Colonial Parking, DC, has funded the travelling roadshow.
“It’s a busy time at NPA. We revamped our strategic plan last year and, using it as a base, we have a number of new initiatives that are underway, including our first Webinar this month.
“John Udelson, the chair of our Certification Advisory Board and his group has completely revamped the NPA Certified Parking Professional study guide, giving it a much broader scope. It fills the needs of middle and upper level parking managers. Our marketing goal is to involve people who own and run buildings so they will recognize the advantage of having a certified manager in their facility.
“Also, the results of our second annual rate survey have been collected and are being refined and analyzed. The report will be released in the fall. More than just a rate study, this year we have benchmarked operating expenses and will have good comparisons of different segments from urban, airports, shuttle operations, hospitals, and municipal parking systems. Not only rates, but also cost comparisons of operating different types of parking.
“With our annual rate study and other initiatives, our goal is to be the go-to place for information, education and networking opportunities for parking professionals.”