ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Maryland's proposed $50 annual-boat-slip tax has been withdrawn by the administration of Governor Robert Ehrlich after marina owners and thousands of recreational boaters in the state voiced opposition to the plan, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) said in a statement Friday.
Amendments to Maryland House Bill 495 that were introduced Friday afternoon on behalf of the Maryland Department of the Environment were released with all "slip fee" language removed, reported BoatU.S.
BoatU.S. had strongly criticized the Governor's proposal to levy a yearly $50 fee that would raise money for wetlands protection, and urged boaters to contact their state senators and delegates to let them know of their opposition to the proposal, arguing that boaters would gain no direct benefits from the fee.
"Clearly, our 35,000 Maryland members, and thousands of other recreational boaters in the state and the marine industry made their voices heard," said BoatU.S. President Jim Ellis, a resident of Arnold, Md. "One out of six boat owners in Maryland is a BoatU.S. member, and as many as one of every two slip holders belongs to BoatU.S."
BoatU.S. said it supported wetland protection, but that the funds from the proposed fee were going to be used mainly to support the hiring of 34 additional Department of the Environment personnel to process wetlands permits for construction and mining purposes.