|Posted by Katie on March 8, 2013 at 2:30 PM|
The following information and links come via the Marine Trades Association of Maryland. For more information, please visit their site: http://www.mtam.org/
NEW ACTION ALERT!
If you haven't already done so, now is the time to send an email to members of the Maryland General Assembly urging them to pass legislation that will help make Maryland's boating industry more competitive with our neighbors up and down the Atlantic Coast. The hearings are done but the committees have not yet brought these bills to a vote. Please understand that the more they hear on this issue - the better chance we have of getting them to vote in favor of these bills.
The emails and phone calls that have been received thus far are making a difference! During the House and Senate hearings on House Bill 548 and Senate Bill 90, members of both committees showed they are paying attention to our concerns and asked smart, supportive questions of our representatives during their testimony. Many committee members also expressed healthy skepticism of the opposition from the Department of Natural Resources - essentially asking DNR officials to do more than just oppose our ideas but give their own solution for how they would improve Maryland's marine trades industry.
ONE MORE EMAIL OR PHONE CALL DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
DNR officials are realizing that there is growing support among members of the Senate and House to approve a reasonable limit to Maryland's boat excise tax, to help restore a competitive balance between Maryland and such states as Delaware, Florida, Rhode Island and Virginia. So DNR officials have switched to a technique frequently used by state agencies seeking to derail legislation they oppose in the face of widespread public and legislative support - they're pushing for the issue to be sent off to "summer study."
Let's see if we get this straight. DNR just spent $84,000 on a study (a study fairly similar to one the Marine Trades Association of Maryland had gotten a $7,500 quote to conduct back in December 2011). Now they want to spend more taxpayer dollars on more study and delay. In the meantime, our boating industry continues to suffer. As boating sales and boating registrations are picking up again nationally, the numbers just aren't bouncing back here in Maryland.
We've had enough study and delay. We need to try something. Maryland has been talking about a boat excise tax cap since 2002, and while we've done nothing, other states have taken a competitive advance. Florida passed a tax cap in 2010, and its boating registration numbers have soared.
We've had enough study. We've had enough delay. If we pass a reasonable cap with a four-year sunset provision, that will give our industry enough time to show the state that we can, in fact, boost our boat registration numbers enough to help our industry and replenish the revenues to the Waterway Improvement Fund.