Bad times are good times for getting legislation


We may be in bad economic times, but these are very good times for local marine trade associations (MTAs) to be going after desired legislation and regulatory changes in their respective states. You might say that these days -- “The moon is in the Seventh House.” (I have no idea what that really means). But it could refer to circumstances on state levels that make successfully seeking positive legislation a good bet. Simply put, because of the current economic debacle, state lawmakers appear more receptive than ever to any policy changes that could spur on economic turnaround. The same can be said for regulatory agencies that, in the past, may have ignored boating industry needs.

The key is to frame the legislation or regulatory changes you’re after as (1) saving jobs and helping to create new jobs; and (2) as stimulating an economic turnaround. There are already some excellent examples:

In Florida, Gov. Charlie Crist just signed four economic-development bills designed to “help create jobs, encourage economic growth and improve the standard of living for Florida’s families.” One of those bills makes positive changes in the sales and use tax on boats. HB No. 7031 - Economic Development - allows non-residents who purchase a boat in Florida, or bring a boat into Florida for repair or alteration, to remain in the state 180 days before becoming liable for the sales and use tax. The old law was 90 days and all the MTAs in Florida sought this change. As the Governor’s office put it: “Allowing boat owners and their guests to remain in Florida waters will stimulate Florida’s marine industry, as well as stimulate businesses that support the marine industry.”

When it comes to successfully dealing with regulatory agencies, Ohio is a good example. The Boating Associations of Ohio (BAO) has just wrapped up a major change with the Dept. of Transportation by which dealers can now obtain a single annual permit for a single annual fee to haul a variety boats on the highways (instead of a permit for each boat.) The argument for change was: “Reducing these costs for dealers will save jobs and small businesses.”

In Alaska, although they used existing lemon law as a base, the dealers recently got passed a landmark dealer agreement bill. They argued that the legislation was necessary to keep dealers healthy and able to provide good paying jobs in their businesses.

Even on the national level, helping marina owners stay alive on Lake Cumberland, Ky., has been keyed to economic growth. Legislation has been introduced by Reps. Rogers and Whitfield because, “Scenic Lake Cumberland has been the hub of economic development in our area of southern Kentucky for years," they noted. “And during tough financial times, we need to do all that we can to protect small businesses and help spur economic growth.” The bill will suspend lease payments for marina owners until higher water levels are restored and reimburse the businesses for losses in revenue, costs of relocating on Lake Cumberland and interest payments on loans undertaken as a result of low water levels brought about by ongoing dam repair projects.

It’s a great time for MTAs to analyze what they need their lawmakers to do to benefit their members and go after it.


NMMA to Hold State of the Industry Webinar

The March 4 webinar takes place at 11 a.m. and includes the presentation of the Marine Industry Customer Satisfaction Index Awards and the Alan J. Freedman Award.

Sanlorenzo Reports 2020 Financials

Gains in the Asia-Pacific and Americas markets offset losses for the Italian builder’s superyacht division.

Into the High Season

Our monthly Pulse Report survey asks dealers about restocking inventory and more, as the new season looms.

It Takes Two to Tango

The boom in boat sales we’re enjoying is a result of the combined efforts of the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation.

Besenzoni - for over 50 years ambassador of made in Italy in the world - designs and produces accessories for pleasure and commercial boating characterized by simple and functional design

Besenzoni constantly assists its customers in 90 countries with 187 representative points and a direct assistance network consisting of 164 operating units around the world coordinated by the headquarters.

Sea Tow Saves Cold-Stunned Turtles

Its Corpus Christi outfit is rescuing turtles that were affected by the deep freeze in Texas.