Washington state legislature considers boat-repair tax cut

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Proposed legislation that would stop Washington state’s heavy taxation on long-term repairs for visiting boats would boost the economy and stop owners from taking them to nearby tax-free Canada for repairs.

That’s according to Diane Talley, a representative of the Port Townsend (Wash.) Marine Trades Association, who told a Port Townsend meeting last week that tourism and the marine trades “are huge” in Jefferson County, Wash.

“They create a lot of jobs and a lot of money,” Talley said at the meeting on the marine tourism bill, according to the Peninsula Daily News.

This change would make Washington port facilities a more hospitable option for large boats in need of extended repair, the trade group’s government affairs director Peter Schrappen said at the meeting.

“Right now we are losing a lot of this business to Canadian ports, where boat owners don't have to pay any tax at all,” Schrappen said.

Some parts of the Washington peninsula are only 25 miles from Victoria, British Columbia.

Individually owned boats now can enter Washington waters with no restriction for the first 60 days and have the ability to extend their permit twice for a total of 180 days. If boats stay longer they must leave the state or pay a tax equivalent to 10 percent of the boat's value.

Boats owned by entities instead of individuals are subject to a different standard and are allowed only 60 days of moorage before the tax is required. The proposed legislation would treat both vessel types the same and would create $29 million in new spending statewide, according to the association.

The bill is under development for the coming session of the legislature in January.

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