Vote looms on California boat tax

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – A bill that would close a boat sales-tax loophole in California has been attached as a rider to the state’s budget bill and could be voted upon this week, according to a story posted today on the Web site.

But businesspeople in the boating industry think the bill could sink boat sales statewide if passed.

“A lot of business is generated locally off that sale to our local economy,” Mike Whitehead, a boat captain who handles offshore deliveries, told the newspaper. “You lose a high-end ticket item out of California like that, it’s going to hurt, not just with the boat but the ancillary services.”

The boating industry generates about $17 billion a year in California, State Dept. of Boating and Waterways spokeswoman Megan Standard said.

Whitehead drew parallels between the proposal and a 1991 luxury tax of 10 percent that crushed boating businesses. Locally, boat sales dropped about 80 percent and half of new boat dealers folded, according to the newspaper.

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