CT Marine Industry Lobbying Pays Off

Members of Connecticut’s marine industry prove that people can make a difference by letting their legislators know how they feel.

Most of the tax proposals were jettisoned by legislators, but Connecticut trade officials say its sales tax drives business to neighboring Rhode Island. Connecticut’s marine industry won concessions last week after state legislators decided to reverse course on a spate of new taxes. But the head of the Connecticut Marine Trades Association (CMTA) said that sales taxes on boats still makes his state non-competitive with neighboring Rhode Island.

Under the proposals, Connecticut would have eliminated the existing sales tax exemption for the value of a trade-in boat as well as reinstated sales taxes on maintenance and labor costs for boat repairs. Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy also wanted to levy a property tax on boats and add three percent to the existing six percent sales tax on new boats costing more than $100,000.

Grant Westerson, executive director of CMTA, told IBI that his organization spent nearly $1 million in lobbying costs and marketing efforts to convince state legislators to jettison the majority of taxes. The campaign began in mid-February after the proposals were announced.

“We generated literally tens of thousands of emails and phone calls,” said Westerson. “We talked to one legislator, who wasn’t even on the budget committee, and he had received 250 emails.”

The association set up a website called DoNotSinkAnIndustry.com with updates on the proposals as well as sending out thousands of postcards to boaters around the state. Under the new budget, the property tax proposal was eliminated, and the sales tax exemptions reinstated. The sales tax on new boats was raised from 6 to 6.35 per cent, and for boats more than $100,000 the sales tax was lifted to seven per cent.

Courtesy of www.ibinews.com.

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