Do rich Maryland boat owners really need a tax cut?

MarylandAi??Delegate Ron George (R-Arnold) Ai??and Senator John Astle (D-Annapolis) have just filed bills to give a tax cut to some of the state’s richest boat owners. The tax cut is being pushed by the boating industry, and it should be noted that Astle has received $3,250 from a sea transport association over the past 8 years.

Currently, Maryland has a vessel excise tax that charges boat owners 5 percent of the value of their boat if they keep it in the state for more than 90 days a year.

Under the new bill, this tax would be capped at a total of $10,000. That means that the cap would exclusively benefit boat owners whose boats are worth more than $200,000. The owner of a $1 millionAi??yacht, for example, would save $40,000 if this cap was put into place.

According to statistics from the National Marine Manufacturers Association — which represents the boating industry nationwide — the average “price of a new boat, motor, trailer package was $25,554” in 2007. The average price of a new powerboat that same year was $35,486.

Thus, by their own statistics, the boating industry admits that most boat owners will not see a tax cut from this bill, and that it will only benefit owners of boats that are much more expensive than average.