NMMA urges members to contact Congress

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National Marine Manufacturers Association chairman David Slikkers is urging the group's members to contact their representatives in Congress and help raise the industry's profile.

In a letter to industry colleagues and NMMA members, Slikkers said the association is continuing to tackle the complex issue of floorplan financing and outlined its actions to date, including helping to get marine floorplan inclusion into Term Asset Backed Securities Lending Facility (TALF), working with the Small Business Administration on a marine dealer floorplan financing program and talking with members of Congress about the industry's issues.

TALF, Slikkers acknowledged, is not working as it should for the marine sector and the NMMA is working with lawmakers to correct this flaw.

Slikkers also mentioned a recent letter from Irwin Jacobs, of Genmar, urging boat manufacturers, dealers and vendors to lobby the federal government to include the boating industry in the financing program offered to General Motors Acceptance Corp.

"I do not know if it is possible to have the government compel GMAC or any other lending institution to enter the marine floorplan lending business," Slikkers wrote. "I do not know if we want the government dictating the terms of our business or the business of our lenders.

"Despite billions of dollars given to the auto industry, the government solution has not worked," he added. "I do know that we need to take a serious look at every idea. And I agree with Irwin that it is time for the entire industry to become personally involved in telling their stories to their federal elected officials."

The NMMA's government affairs department will soon make available a letter to send to Congress, Slikkers said. Also, elected officials will be home for a week beginning June 26 and again the entire month of August.

"They need to hear from company CEOs directly and from your employees, vendors and dealers," Slikkers said. "The only way our industry can emerge from this crisis is if we work together to find the answers to these challenges."

Click here for the full letter.

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