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Nebraska boat dealer law in doubt

Legislation plugging a controversial boat tax loophole in Nebraska is in jeopardy again.

The bill, which has had its share of fits and starts, took another turn for the worse when its main promoter, state Sen. Dave Pankonin, announced his resignation, effective Oct. 7, Nebraska Watchdog reported.

Earlier this year Pankonin said that in order “to get it right” he was putting the Boat Dealers Licensing Act on hold until lawmakers return in January. Pankonin said he was confident that waiting a year would ensure the bill’s passage.

But this week a spokesperson for Pankonin told Nebraska Watchdog that when Pankonin resigns, the bill will be facing a “wait-and-see proposition.”

It’s been nearly two years since a Nebraska Watchdog investigation led to accusations that then state Sen. Kent Rogert failed to pay the sales tax on his boat by saying he was a boat dealer and receiving a boat dealer’s registration number, allowing him to avoid paying sales tax on the boat.

The investigation also uncovered dozens of other boat owners across the state using a loophole to avoid paying taxes.

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