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Sorry, yacht owners

Your champion has failed you.

Rep. John Davis, R- Houston, said he’s given up for this session on capping the sales tax for big yachts to try to compete with Florida’s more favorable tax laws. But Davis said he’s still trying to find a legislative vehicle for a “safe harbor” provision that backers also say is meant to help keep jobs in Texas. The safe-harbor provision would exempt the vessels from the sales tax if they’re bought by non-residents and taken out of Texas within 10 days. It also would allow people to bring yachts to Texas to be repaired or remodeled and keep them here until the work is done without incurring the use tax, which kicks in after 90 days. With an eye toward floating the tax cap again in the 2013 session, Davis said he would like his Economic and Small Business Development Committee to study and develop data on the drift of yacht sales to Florida.

Poor babies. In a world where our schools were fully funded, where Medicaid was on solid financial footing, and where our tax code could reasonably be described as adequate to meet the state’s needs, I’d be perfectly fine with the “safe harbor” and yacht-repair provisions that Davis is still pursuing. In the world we currently inhabit, one wonders if there aren’t any higher priorities he could be pursuing – things that might actually help a larger portion of the population than the yacht-owning portion of it – in the extremely finite time remaining in the session. And I trust that if the data the Economic and Small Business Development Committee develops shows that the demand curve for yacht sales is not significantly affected by the sales tax rate that this will be the last we hear of this ridiculous issue. Right?

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3 Comments

  1. Ron in Houston says:

    Bummer. I’m seriously going to Florida to by my yacht.

  2. Robert says:

    What a foolish attitude based upon envy. It’s not the yacht owners/buyers who are punished but the businesses in Texas who sell such, employing Texans. The buyers will just buy from somewhere else along the Gulf.

  3. matx says:

    Isn’t much of the real money from services and boat registrations and services? Are the Texans buying boats never going to sail them here, or keep the boat and its registration in Florida? Florida changed its law to keep boat buying on-shore in the USA, instead of nearby Caribbean countries. I don’t think it will make a boat owner very popular in Texas with his/her boat proclaiming someplace in Florida as its home port.