Washington State Legislature and the Boating Industry 2013-2014
Marine Jobs Bill
The Marine Jobs Bill is NYBA’s top priority legislation. It is modeled after Florida’s tax cap passed in 2010. Several states on the mid-Atlantic seaboard have adopted similar policies. Maryland joined this list in May of 2013. Working with members of legislature, NYBA has successfully persuaded DOR to drop its projection for lost sales tax revenue from $12 million in 2011 to $4.5 million in 2013. After thorough analysis of DOR’s most recent projection, and with the continued help from supportive legislators we expect that projection to drop even further. New jobs, revenue, and registration growth data, coming out of Florida and now Maryland, as well as research on showing the number of boats sold here that eventually leave, continue to strengthen our argument supporting this important legislation.
Defending Tax Preferences Critical to Continued Vitality of Washington’s Recreational Marine Industry
Washington’s Recreational Marine Industry benefits from several specific tax exemptions and preferences key to the success of the industry. Among these are exemptions on sales tax for purchasers who reside outside our state; use tax exemptions for brokers, dealers, and manufacturers; and allowing brokers and dealers to award full assessed value against the purchase price on transactions involving a trade in. With the state desperate for revenue, the movement to close, reduce, or force industries to prove the value of these and other valuable tax preferences, has gained a great deal of momentum. Unfortunately, each of these specific preferences has come under some form legislative attack over the last two legislative sessions. NYBA continues to fiercely defend these tax preferences and stands shoulder to shoulder with others in the business community as they defend tax preferences that benefit business across the board.
Marine Tourism Bill
This bill would make cruising permits available boats owned by entities (primarily LLC’s) based outside of Washington. Despite a broad coalition of grass roots support and overwhelming evidence showing the economic benefits that extending the amount of time that entity owned boats could stay in Washington would generate for Puget Sound districts, DOR remains steadfast in their concern regarding Washington residents using the “corporate veil” to avoid taxes on boats. The effort to pass this bill resulted in a proviso included in the House budget for the Department of Commerce Study on Washington’s marine industry including specific provisions to study tax equity among neighboring neighbor jurisdictions. NYBA will continue to support this legislation and inclusion of this study in the final budget.
Defending the Recreation Resource Account (part of Capital Budget)
The Recreation Resource Account is a dedicated account funded by unclaimed marine fuel tax rebates. It funds capital improvements to boat launches and other infrastructure related to boating. Funds in this account have been raided in several times recent years. However, the RRA is currently fully funded in both the House and Senate budget proposals. Additionally, this account and other dedicated recreational accounts will receive an increasing level of funding under the transportation package currently being negotiated by the legislature. NYBA will continue to monitor the budget negotiations and maintaining full funding for this account will remain a legislative priority for NYBA for the foreseeable future.
Derelict Vessel Removal
This bill continues a $1.00 surcharge on boater registrations, in addition to the $4.00 charge that boaters already pay for derelict vessel removal. It also creates a workgroup to create a system where the commercial marine industry and Navy share in the costs of derelict vessel removal as these types of vessels are pose the greatest risk to the environment and are the most expensive to remove. This bill was signed by Governor Inslee on May 20th, 2013.
This bill increases the penalty for boating under the influence from $1000 to $5000. A BUI will not be included as a DUI on a boater’s driver’s license. It also gives law enforcement the ability to cite boaters involved in a boating accident if probable cause is determined in a boating accident. Finally, the bill contains provisions outlining specific safety equipment requirements for rented vessels. This bill passed May 16th, 2013.
This bill creates a new infraction for transporting watercraft into Washington by road without meeting Washington’s Aquatic Invasive Species requirement. This bill was signed by the Governor on May 20th, 2013.