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Michigan trade group opposes ending yacht tax break

The Michigan Boating Industries Association is taking a stand against legislation introduced by three Democratic congressmen to amend a tax provision that allows boat owners to write off mortgage interest payments if their boats meet the IRS classification as second homes.

The Ending Taxpayer Subsidies for Yachts Act was introduced by Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., and Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn.

"The boating industry cannot afford a repeal of this provision. This repeal would greatly damage our industry and result in job loss. The boating industry represents nearly 52,000 jobs in the state, and they are important to the Michigan economy," said John Ropp, president of the trade group.

"The bill's use of the term 'yachts' is not appropriate, as many mid-size boats owned by middle-class citizens also meet the IRS qualifications for this credit. This act will affect more boaters than realized and impact the economy deeper than considered," Ropp added.

The association said the bill is similar to luxury tax and Coast Guard user fees of the early 1990s that were repealed.

"They did nothing but create unemployment. The same would result from this legislation, a misguided effort to punish 'fat cats,' but in reality punishing many middle-class boat owners as well," Ropp said.

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