Most of the real work of the U.S. Congress (and
perhaps the most contentious) will occur after the elections when Congress
returns to finish the "business of the people” during a short Lame Duck
session. Almost everything of consequence, most notably a set of automatic, economy-related spending cuts
and tax increases that have been called a "fiscal cliff,” will be debated during
the post-election Lame Duck.
the list of issues important to marine retailers is the expiration of a full
menu of President George W. Bush-era tax cuts on December 31. The resulting tax increases, should an extension of the Bush Tax
Cuts fail to pass, when combined with more than $100 billion in automatic
across-the-board spending cuts (called sequestration) set to take effect at the
same time, have become known as the fiscal cliff. Economists warn that unless Congress acts,
the one-two austerity punch could sent the fragile economy back into recession.
automatic cuts are punishment for the inability of last year’s deficit
reduction "super committee” to strike a bargain to cut the 10-year deficits by
at least $1.2 trillion as promised by last summer’s debt and budget pact. The Bush tax cuts were originally set to
expire at the end of 2010, but were renewed two years ago.
is no certainty that Congress will handle the issue in the Lame Duck,
especially if Republicans retake the White House and gain seats in the House
and Senate. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has asked Congress to delay its
work in this regard until he’s in office.
important issues to marine retailers are tied to the Bush tax cuts. The first is re-authorization of the sales
tax deduction in lieu of deduction state income taxes. This deduction is especially good for major
purchases, such as a boat, in states where there is no state income tax, like
Florida and Texas. The other issue is continuation of the 35-percent tax rate on inherited assets valued more than
$5.5 million, known as the estate tax. MRAA has long supported both the state sales tax deduction and elimination
of the estate tax and will work hard to retain both tax provisions.