TRENTON, N.J. – The Democratic-controlled state Senate in New Jersey voted 33-1 to approve a bill that would reduce the sales tax on all boats bought in the state by 50 percent, according to NJ.com.
Governor Christie conditionally vetoed the bill originally, saying the first proposal would have provided relief only for those who buy vessels for more than $285,000. His condition proposed clashing the 7 percent sales tax on all boats in half to also help "individuals, including middle-class citizens, who purchase smaller boats." The earlier proposal from the Senate would have capped the tax at $20,000.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association said high-priced boats accounted for only a small fraction of the $160 million in new boat sales made in the Garden State last year.
The original measure also included a change to the 7 percent tax on use of boats that were bought in other states but operated in New Jersey. The bill would have waived the tax on boats used in the state for fewer than 90 days per year. Christie's proposal changes the period to 30 days to ensure the use tax is enforceable.
Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May), one of the measure's main sponsors, said Christie's changes will not only help small boat owners but also those who do work on these vessels and own businesses in the maritime industry along the Jersey Shore. State Sen. Jeff Whelan (D-Atlantic) said the bill will also give people incentives to buy a boat in New Jersey instead of going elsewhere to get a better deal.
"This is a good bill," Whelan said. "It's going to put people back to work."
The state Senate will next vote on the entire bill. After that, it would still need to be approved by the state Assembly and signed by Christie before it becomes law.