Sharp fee increase nears for Missouri boat registrations

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A bill that would, in some cases, quadruple the cost of boat registration in Missouri has passed the state’s legislature and is on its way to Gov. Matt Blunt, the Associated Press reported in a story on The Kansas City Star Web site yesterday.

Every three years, boaters must pay to register vessels longer than 12 feet that are used on public waterways. The registration fees vary based with the length of the boat. The longer the boat, the greater the increase in fees. Charges for boats shorter than 16 feet long would climb from $10 to $25, while fees for registering boats longer than 40 feet would jump from $40 to $150, according to the story.

The first $2 million from the fees would go into the state’s general revenues, with anything above that being used to fund the needs of the Missouri State Water Patrol. Legislative researchers project the fees to generate more than $4.7 million annually, meaning more than $2.7 million would go to the Water Patrol, AP reported.

Debate about the bill in the House, which approved the bill 140-12, was brief, with lawmakers generally saying they agreed the state needed to find a way to raise Water Patrol salaries. In the Senate, however, the vote was far closer, with some critics questioning how fair it is to raise fees so suddenly, according to the story.

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