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September 28, 2016 5:00 PM, EDT

OOIDA Settles With New York State For $44.4 Million

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association reached a $44.4 million tax refund agreement with New York state Sept. 21.

New York’s Supreme Court had ruled Feb. 1 that the highway-use tax and decal fees that the state required out-of-state truckers to pay were unenforceable. In its class-action lawsuit, OOIDA had argued that the fees violated the Constitution’s Commerce Clause since out-of-state truckers who drove mostly in other states were paying a higher per-mile rate than their New York counterparts.

“We fought against a number of similar taxes back in the 1980s and 1990s, and the states lost in every one of those cases,” OOIDA President Jim Johnston said. “Given that history, we were shocked that New York even thought they could get away with this blatantly unconstitutional tax. The amount for the New York HUT decal is $19, which may seem insignificant. But if other states were to do the same thing, it would be huge — collectively and in administrative costs.”

According to OOIDA, class action members will receive a full refund, plus interest, subject to attorneys’ fees. OOIDA also said it will ask the court to require carriers who passed along any fees to owner-operators to reimburse them.