U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Kevin Cramer, along with U.S. House of Representatives Steven Horsford, Darin LaHood and Jimmy Panetta have unveiled the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act of 2021, which would provide relief and recovery measures for the travel and hospitality, entertainment, convention and trade show industries and their workers. According to Sen. Cortez Masto’s office, it would stimulate the economy by creating new recovery incentives for hospitality and trade shows, extend the employee retention tax credit to reduce layoffs and keep Americans employed, create a perishable food and beverage credit to help small businesses cover costs of inventory lost during COVID closures, and provide a tax credit for middle class families to jumpstart travel when safe.
“Many industries involving tourism and travel were the first to be hurt by COVID-19 and could be the last to fully recover,” said Sen. Cramer in a press statement. “Our bill provides help to some of the hardest hit businesses, encourages employee retention, and incentivizes families to travel when it is safe to do so.”
Last year, Sen. Cortez Masto introduced the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act of 2020 to address the significant challenges facing the tourism and hospitality industries in Nevada and across the country. The travel economy shrank by $492.3 billion in 2020, and spending declined by 42 percent over the year. No industry has lost more jobs during this pandemic than leisure and hospitality; out of all jobs lost nationwide, 39 percent have been from the leisure and hospitality sector. The decline in travel spending has caused federal, state, and local tax revenues to decline by over $64.0 billion over the course of 2020, a 36 percent decrease from the previous year.
In a statement, the American Society of Travel Advisors said, "ASTA strongly supports the bill, has been in touch with all of the sponsor offices and will work with them to incorporate it into upcoming COVID relief legislation."
Specifically, the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act of 2021 would:
- Extend the Employee Retention Tax Credit from July 1, 2021 to January 1, 2022
- Provide a modest tax credit for qualified travel expenses for many Americans
- 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, 2022 and December 31, 2024
- Restore the Entertainment Business Expense Deduction for three years 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 that would cover any cost associated with reopening or increasing service at an establishment forced to close down or reduce operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic—including any renovation, remediation, testing or labor cost needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, effective between the date of enactment and December 31, 2022.
- Provide a temporary credit for unmerchantable inventory costs for small businesses that were lost due to necessary precautions to halt public gatherings
Beyond ASTA, the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act of 2021 is endorsed by U.S. Travel, the American Gaming Association, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the National Restaurant Association and a number of other associations and coalitions focused on hospitality and tourism.