U.S. Congresswoman Lois Frankel (D-FL) told a story at the Palm Beach International Boat Show that inspired her to push for a way to enhance the financial impact of the yachting industry.
“For many years, every year I was in the state legislature, it would coincide with our budget meetings, so I would miss so many boat shows,” Frankel said during a press conference near the waterfront on Friday.
“When I retired from the legislature to run for mayor of West Palm Beach, I came down to this boat show and what amazed me was how many thousands of people were here,” Frankel said as she pointed to the crowds. “That is what really inspired me.”
Frankel introduced a bill in 2011 that is gaining strength with bi-partisan support.
“We have an idea we’re cooking up in Congress, we have a way to bring more boats and more jobs not only to South Florida, but to the country,” she said.
The bill would allow foreign-flagged yachts to come into the United States year-round, not just at boat shows, to sell their yachts and then pay the tax, according to Frankel.
“We have an antiquated law that requires foreign-flagged yachts, even before the sale is made, to pay upfront a tax, the duty,” Frankel said. “We believe this is discouraging lots of them from coming here to sell their yacht.”
Frankel said that there are about 400 yachts offshore that would want to come into the United States with approval of the bill.
Jeff Erdmann, chairman of Florida Yacht Brokers Association (FYBA)’s Legislative Affairs Committee said the world was a different place when the original law was enacted.
“It was put in place in 1908 when world was an isolationist place here in the U.S.,” Erdmann said. “Right after World War I it was a very different economy, a very different environment,” he said. “Today trade is so important to our economy and we want to bring more to the United States.”
Ermann said, “If we could get yachts to be able to come to the United States, offer their boats for sale and then pay the duty afterwards it would not cost the federal government a single penny.”
The move would bring more revenue to the state of Florida, he said.
“But the additional impact, $2.46 billion in economic impact, that’s just going to build the economy overall,” Ermann said.
“When we talk about jobs,” Frankel said. “We think this bill will do it.”
Click for full detail of bill H.R.4065 – “To amend the Tariff Act of 1930 to provide for a deferral of the payment of a duty upon the sale of certain used yachts, and for other purposes.”
Dorie Cox is associate editor of Triton Today. Comments on this story are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.