March 7, 2013
The General Assembly has an opportunity this year to give a big boost to Maryland's struggling marine industry while also generating additional tax revenues for the fund responsible for upkeep and improvements to the region's waterways. It's time us to place a cap on the state's boat excise tax. Over the past few years, Maryland has fallen behind our competitor states up and down the East Coast when it comes to how much of a boat's value should be subject to an excise tax. Neither Delaware nor Rhode Island has a tax. Virginia has long had a cap, limiting boat owners to paying no more than $2,000 in an excise tax, and Florida passed a cap three years ago. Not surprisingly, Marylanders who own bigger and more expensive boats are increasingly choosing to register them in other states.
March 4, 2013
Maryland's boating industry suffered badly in the economic downturn and has yet to fully recover, so it's no surprise that many in the boat business are once again looking for help from Annapolis. Unfortunately, the latest proposal - to cap the vessel excise tax at $10,000 - could do more harm than good. That's not just some knock against millionaires and their yachts - although they would be the primary beneficiaries of such a tax policy. Since the excise tax is set at 5 percent, that means only boats worth more than $200,000 would be affected.
September 4, 2012
One of the great summer pleasures that comes with living in Maryland is the opportunity to get on a boat and paddle, motor or sail your way around the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Few places in the U.S. are better suited for boating, and the state's geographic blessing has produced economic rewards for its citizens - an estimated 35,000 jobs produced by a $2 billion industry. But these are not the best of times for those in the boating industry. The economic recession of 2007 hit hard, and the recovery has been slow.
March 13, 2011
When the opponents of an increase in Maryland's alcohol tax got an opportunity to make their case before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee last week, their message was clear: Anything that increases the price of beer, wine and liquor will cause consumers to buy less of it, and that will cost the state jobs. But what was curious about their argument was that they admitted that if the tax increase were enacted, they would effectively exacerbate the impact by increasing the final retail price by much more than the extra tax they pay. Here's why: The proposed tax increase, advertised by advocates as a dime a drink, works out to about $2.41 for a case of beer, about 50 cents for a bottle of wine (though, curiously, the industry reports this as $1.01 in its advocacy materials, as if people typically bought magnums)
January 17, 2010
Wait 'til next year. That's the theme of this year's General Assembly session when it comes to contentious possible solutions to the fiscal mess Maryland - like all other states - finds itself in. The theme bothers Republicans. They worry that higher taxes might be pushed through Annapolis next year by a Democratic majority fretful about making such moves before November's elections. "They are trying to use smoke and mirrors and Band-Aids to get through this year," said Senate Minority Leader Allan H. Kittleman, a Howard County Republican.
January 15, 2010
Maryland collects a measly $15 million a year in excise taxes on distilled spirits. Whiskey drinker Thomas Meighan Jr. might have cost the state that much all by himself in court, police and jail costs and general mayhem. Meighan had at least nine drunken-driving convictions as well as convictions for battery, disorderly conduct and theft before being charged with traffic offenses and manslaughter in the hit-and-run death of a Johns Hopkins University student last fall, The Baltimore Sun reported.