Our Pledge To You


EDITORIAL: Butt out, Springfield, and let people rent out their own cars

The Illinois House meets in Springfield in 2014. | Associated Press file photo

The Illinois House meets in Springfield in 2014. | Associated Press file photo

We still don’t get what’s wrong with letting you rent out your own car.

In August, a bill that would penalize people who want to earn extra money through the emerging app-based business of peer-to-peer car sharing was vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.


Now the issue is back, with lawmakers poised to override the governor’s amendatory veto. Lawmakers are more interested in championing Enterprise — the car rental Goliath that has spread money all over Springfield — than entrepreneurs and free enterprise.

SB 2641 was designed to limit the growth of peer-to-peer car sharing, which is like an Airbnb for your car, by taxing and regulating it the same as the big rental car companies. Joe and Jane Carsharer would have to jump through the same costly hoops, no matter how small a side business this is for them.

The Senate voted to override the governor’s veto on Nov. 14, siding with the rental car industry. The House may do the same within days.

We see no good reason to stifle innovation that helps cash-strapped college students, retirees on a fixed income or anyone else rent out a vehicle that would otherwise just sit in a driveway or out on the street. In Illinois alone, 6,600 car owners have signed up to rent out their vehicles through Turo, the largest peer-to-peer company. Even GM has a peer-to-peer pilot program.

It strikes us as government big-footing at its worst for them to be hit with hefty fees and taxes, such as the same 5 percent state tax, plus extra local taxes, that apply to car rental firms.

We should note, in fairness, that lobbyists for Turo and other car share companies have been dropping campaign contributions on legislators as well.

Peer-to-peer sharing could ease the financial burden of car ownership in big cities, and reduce the amount of space needed in tight urban areas to park cars. It gives consumers an option, one the established car rental companies would rather you not have.

Send letters to letters@suntimes.com