What dealers can expect from Washington, D.C., in 2013
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Posted by: Liz Walz
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On Thursday, January 3, the 113th
Congress was gaveled into session with great hope for reduced polarization and
paralysis, but with no real evidence that they’ll lift anytime soon.
Some say the worst is yet to come, but others
point to the bi-partisan support of H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of
2012 passed to resolve the tax issues of the fiscal cliff, as a key indicator
of a willingness of the two parties to work together. H.R 8 provides about $600 billion in
additional government revenues, but the president has already said he wants
more tax revenue, and Republicans say tax increases are not on the table. These viewpoints set the stage for more
There will be hard fought
discussions, and hopefully legislation that cuts government spending as the
next phase of the fiscal cliff deal hits in the few weeks. Just look to the current news to see
predictions the U.S. may default on its debt as soon as February 15 as the
basis for the next battleground to demand deep federal spending cuts and
hopefully a reduction in federal regulations.
On other issues, MRAA will be part of
the team in Washington that negotiates a legislative compromise for
re-authorization of the Sport Fish Restoration Trust Fund. The fund was re-authorized for two years in
2011, but may come up in Congress in 2014.
2013 will be spent working out legislation that fishing and boating
groups can support. The $600 billion
annual fund is key for sport fish restoration, fishing and boating outreach,
boating access, education, and boating safety.
MRAA wants to open the discussions with support for expanding the Clean
Vessel Act to include the purchase of equipment to comply with Clean Marina
programs and increased funding for outreach.
Other key issues will include
protection of waterfront properties for marine usage, repeal of ethanol blend
gasoline for boats at least at the E15 level, continued opposition to mandatory
adult life jacket wear requirements, increased funding for dredging and an
expansion of federal dredging funds for small boat harbors and channels used
primarily for recreational boating and fishing.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act
re-authorized the Estate Tax at 40%, an increase from the 35% in effect for the
past few years. MRAA will continue its
efforts to repeal the Estate Tax, but if that is not possible, at least reduce
the maximum tax rate.
One of the most important issues
facing marine retailers in 2013 will be Congressional efforts to reduce federal
regulations and government control of small business. This will be a long and hard fought fight,
but is a fight that must be pursued to greatly reduce the cost and
complications of doing business.