Proposed tax reforms could cripple industry

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Consumer boaters association BoatU.S. is comparing the potential impact of a proposed elimination of the mortgage interest deduction for second homes to that of the luxury tax in the 90s.

In a BoatU.S. online survey, 75 percent of respondents said they were opposed to a proposal by the President's Advisory Panel on Tax Reform to end the mortgage interest deduction for all second homes, which includes boats that have sleeping quarters, cooking and toilet facilities, the association reported in a statement yesterday.

Fully 55 percent of those responding said that elimination of the deduction would cause them not to buy a boat they would otherwise purchase. Another 51 percent said they would not buy a boat if the deduction for interest on home equity loans was eliminated.

"The survey results should be a wake-up call for the boating industry," said Michael Sciulla, senior vice president of BoatU.S. government and public affairs. "Like the federal luxury tax of the early 1990's, the elimination of the mortgage interest deduction for boats will cripple an industry that is already facing serious challenges that include an increasing loss of access to the water, high fuel prices, and stagnant growth."

The tax reform panel released its report last October. Treasury Secretary John Snow was supposed to review the report and make recommendations to President Bush by the end of 2005 so that the President could present them to Congress.

In a speech earlier this week at Stanford University, Snow said the Bush administration wants to forge ahead with a major revamping of the tax code, but that no timetable had been established.

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