May 2, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Situational awareness: Facebook is booting a string of "dangerous" personalities — including Milo Yiannopoulos, Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones (and InfoWars), Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer and Paul Nehlen — from Facebook and Instagram. Go deeper.

1 big thing: The next battle in car apps

Remember Uber vs (insert city name here)?

There's a similar set of fights underway over car-sharing apps, which let people rent out their cars to random strangers, without the taxes and fees incurred for rental cars.

Why it matters: "Taxes, fees and surcharges can add as much as 30 percent to the cost of renting a car while generating millions of dollars," the AP reports.

  • "Forty-four states levy excise taxes on rental cars — on top of the standard sales tax, if one applies — and most allow local governments to levy their own as well..."
  • "At stake is hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue that cities and airports count on to pay for stadiums and convention centers or to fund police, fire and other general operations."

The big picture: "The battle is heating up in some three dozen state legislatures as well as the courts and offices of local tax authorities."

What they're saying:

  • "Those supporting stricter regulations say people who rent out their cars for profit should not only pay the taxes but meet the safety and transparency requirements that go with renting a car."
  • Lobbyists for Turo, one of the apps, "point to the billions of dollars car-rental firms save on taxes. Most states charge no sales tax for vehicles sold exclusively for rental, and allow those companies to pass along vehicle licensing fees to customers."

The bottom line: "Barraged with lobbying from both sides, lawmakers are grappling with how to regulate an emerging industry without destroying it — a repeat of recent fights between the taxi industry and Uber and Lyft, and between hotels and Airbnb."

Bonus: GIF du jour

Cyclone Fani intensified into a monstrous, high-end Category 4 storm in the western Bay of Bengal today as it wobbled closer to the Indian coastline, Axios Science editor Andrew Freedman reports.

GIF: RealEarth

The Indian government is working to evacuate massive amounts of people from the most vulnerable areas near the coast, with media reports putting the size of the evacuation between 800,000 and 3 million, qualifying it as one of the largest evacuations in the country's history.

Go deeper.

2. What you missed

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

  1. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Attorney General Bill Barr did not tell the truth during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee — and "that's a crime." Video.
  2. Moore no more: Stephen Moore withdrew from Fed board consideration today, less than an hour after claiming to be "all in" despite Senate concerns. Details.
  3. The Trump administration is dropping its demand that China cease hacking U.S. companies to steal intellectual property, according to the Financial Times.
  4. White House lawyer Emmet Flood sent a letter to AG Bill Barr accusing special counsel Robert Mueller of playing politics with his claim that the report "does not exonerate" Trump on obstruction of justice. Read the letter.
  5. A jury has found the founder of Insys Therapeutics guilty of a scheme that involved bribing doctors to prescribe the company's powerful opioid, Subsys, and tricking health insurers to pay for it, Reuters reports.
  6. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh is resigning amid multiple investigations into a scandal involving the sale of her children's books, reports the Baltimore Sun.
3. 1 pod thing

Chelsea Handler has a podcast on the way, based on her memoir “Life Will Be the Death of Me," the AP scoops.

  • "In the book, Handler writes about the self-discovery that came out of a year of intense therapy and what she learned. She also reflects on the accidental death of her brother, who fell off a cliff while hiking in Wyoming at age 22, when she was 9."

Audio trailer here.

Mike Allen