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NYMTA leads fight against proposed boat tax

Marine industry lobbyists in New York are launching a grassroots effort to fight the governor’s proposed tax increase for boats and other luxury items.

“We have to educate the governor’s office on what this will do to business in New York,” Chris Squeri, executive director of the New York Marine Trades Association, told Soundings Trade Only.

Gov. David A. Paterson wants to raise sales taxes on boats and other luxury items to fill a budget deficit of $15 billion. The proposal includes an additional 5 percent tax on boats of more than $200,000.

Squeri says the tax will 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.

After hearing about the proposed tax, Squeri organized a meeting at this week’s New York National Boat Show to inform dealers. He also called lobbyists from the National Marine Manufacturers Association to gather statistics on how the federal luxury tax of the early 1990s hurt the industry.

Squeri and his staff at NYMTA are setting up a special Web site to educate all boating stakeholders on the tax and how to lobby their representatives to vote against the proposal. The site, www.NoLuxuryBoatTaxNY.com, is expected to go online by the end of this week.

“Basically it’s going to be a grassroots effort,” says Squeri. “This affects so many people in so many ways.”

— Melanie Winters
m.winters@tradeonlytoday.com

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