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MRAA looks back on legislative successes

Thursday, January 10, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Liz Walz
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On Wednesday, January 2, 2013, the 112th Congress of the United States finally ended. Many may think the slow rate of legislating is a good thing, but for the record, the 112th Congress was the most unproductive Congress since 1948, when President Truman called Congress the "Do Nothing.” Congress passed only 220 public laws.

This Congress found legislating so difficult that lawmakers repeatedly created artificial deadlines intended to spur them to act. The near shutdown of the government early in 2011, the near breach of the debt ceiling in August 2011 that ended with a reduction in the nation’s debt rating, and the fiscal cliff were the three key artificial deadlines.

However, despite the poor production statistics, MRAA had its legislative successes in 2012. The second home mortgage interest deduction was on and off the table in discussions all year, but in the end it was retained in the fiscal cliff final negotiations.

The Estate (Death) Tax was permanently re-authorized with a $5,000,000 individual and $10,000,000 couple threshold (an important first that represents the "success" for marine retailers), but at a 40% maximum tax rate, an increase from the 2012 rate of 35%.

The Sport Fish and Boating Trust Fund was re-authorized for two-years at its current levels of spending authorization.

The usage of sales tax in lieu of the state income tax deduction was permanently re-authorized.

The CLASS Act, Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, which was a key part of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and set up a federal program to pay for long term disabilities in a program similar to social security, was repealed because it was unworkable and far too expensive for small business.

Finally, MRAA continued its longtime support for dredging, a reduction in federal regulation, and open waters for all boaters and opposed mandatory adult life jacket wear requirements and ethanol blended gasoline for boating.