The Republican-controlled Ways and Means committee of the Texas House of Representatives has okayed a tax break for the purchase of yachts.
(Above–Little comment needed. Photo by B. Straub.)
“Republican Rep. John Davis said other states have paved the way for his proposal — primarily Florida, which backers of his bill say is No. 1 in boat sales to Texas’ No. 2. “We’re losing our yacht sales in Texas to Florida,” said Davis…. Davis said it’s not so much a big break for yacht owners as an effort to keep the economic activity surrounding the vessels. “We’re losing a lot of downstream jobs and sales tax revenue,” he said, because Florida has limited sales taxes on yachts to $18,000. Davis’ bill, as filed, would limit the amount of boat tax to $15,625 – the amount normally due on a $250,000 vessel – regardless of sales price. He said he’s changing that to match Florida’s $18,000 maximum.The fiscal analysis on the original bill said it would cost Texas $1.4 million annually in lost tax revenue, but supporters including yacht brokers note the figure doesn’t take into account the ripple effect of Texas losing yachts. Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, said at a Ways and Means hearing on the proposal that he felt like “I just walked through the Twilight Zone.”
Beyond what this proposal says about some yacht owners, the Florida legislature, Rep. Davis, and our nation as a whole, let’s say that giving a tax break to yacht buyers really would spur some minor amount of economic activity and jobs here in Texas. I’m not conceding that point—But let’s just say.
Wouldn’t better educating our kids, providing greater resources for public health, and avoiding the public sector layoffs we are seeing in Texas also be good for our state? Wouldn’t these things create economic benefits and jobs in Texas? Yet our state legislature seems intent on attacking the most important aspects of our future in Texas in the current budget debate.
Let’s take teacher layoffs in Texas. Rather than maybe– or maybe not– keeping people employed in such a round-about way with tax breaks for the purchase of yachts, why not take the funds that will be lost from the yacht tax break and put those funds towards retaining teachers who would otherwise be terminated?
Or, instead, maybe we could just have tax breaks for the purchase of yachts.