New York drops luxury tax proposal

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New York officials are not going ahead with a proposed 5 percent tax on boats of more than $200,000, which was included in Gov. David Paterson's original budget proposal.

"We're pleased that the legislature and the governor realized that this boat tax would not only fail to bring in revenue, but would significantly damage many marine businesses," said David Dickerson, NMMA director of state government relations, in a statement.

The NMMA, along with the New York Marine Trades Association and other allies worked to have this proposal eliminated from the budget. Hundreds of letters and e-mails were sent to the governor warning of the consequences such a tax could have on the marine industry, the NMMA said.

"The impact of the proposed tax would hit New York marine dealers most immediately. About 38 percent of their sales are of boats 30-39 feet long, most of which retail for more than $200,000," the NMMA said in a letter to the governor.

"Loss of even 20 percent of these sales to neighboring states, or to decisions to not purchase a vessel rather than pay the tax, would lead to even greater layoffs than already experienced in the New York market," the letter stated.

The NMMA notes that area dealers also have experienced significant sales declines since the New York National Boat Show had its dates moved to December. In 2001, attendance was 95,000 and, at the most recent show, it dropped to less than 50,000.

NYMTA executive director Christopher Squeri said the tax would do nothing to increase the state's coffer because consumers will simply buy fewer boats or purchase them out of state. That will hurt everyone, from dealers to marinas and other waterfront businesses.

"It's a domino that's just going to be horrible," Squeri said when the proposal was announced.

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