BoatUS is urging Kansas boaters to head to the polls Tuesday and vote "yes" on a boat property tax amendment that would allow the legislature to reduce or even remove the personal property tax paid on boats.
Currently in Kansas, recreational boats are filed in the "other" category of personal property and taxed at 30 percent of a boat's value by the county mill levy. Passage of the constitutional amendment would allow lawmakers to put watercraft in its own category and lower or even exempt watercraft from personal property taxes, according to a BoatUS statement.
According to a report in the Kansas City Star, an official with the state Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism reports that boat registrations are down by about 20,000, costing the state as much as $1 million in property tax revenue. Currently a $20,000 boat in Kansas is taxed at $750. In neighboring Oklahoma it carries only a $150 property tax bill.
"Boating is solidly middle-class, and it creates job opportunities," BoatUS President Margaret Podlich said in a statement. "Kansas boat owners are moms and dads, your fishing buddies or possibly your neighbors, and taxing them at this high rate hurts both them and the state."
For years, many Kansans have registered their boats in neighboring states that have a lower or no personal property tax, and the state has lost revenue. The constitutional amendment would make it possible for Kansas boat owners to be on a par with neighboring states, such as Oklahoma and Nebraska, that do not have a watercraft tax.