The Garden City Telegram
10/23/2012
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Your Views

Vote to lower watercraft tax

Tax on watercraft — too high. The personal property tax on watercraft in Kansas is one of the highest in the nation. During the last legislative session, the Kansas Legislature passed, with only one opposing vote in the House, House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 5017. This Resolution, if passed by two-thirds of the Kansas voters during the November general election, will give the Kansas Legislature the opportunity to reduce the personal property tax on all watercraft registered in Kansas. Currently, the personal property tax on watercraft in neighboring states either does not exist, unless the vessel is used for commercial purposes, or is much lower than in Kansas.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, Recreation and Tourism estimates that there are at least 10,000 Kansas watercraft registered out of state to avoid the extremely high property tax. Sixty-four percent of the boats registered in Kansas are 13 years old or older and Kansas has shown a significant decrease in watercraft registration in the past 10 years. Presently, Kansas watercraft is taxed based on 30 percent of its appraised value times the mill levy. In Sedgwick County, for example, a $30,000 family ski boat would have an annual personal property tax between $900 to $1,000. That does not include the boat trailer, as it is taxed separately. If registered in Oklahoma, the annual tax would be about $250 and the trailer is not taxed in Oklahoma.

Personal owned, non-commercial motor vehicles are currently taxed at a much lower rate than watercraft in Kansas. If (HCR) 5017 is passed it will give the Kansas Legislature the authority to reduce the tax on watercraft during the 2013 legislative session. It could increase revenue with the return of watercraft presently registered out of state coming back to be registered in Kansas and should be an incentive for boaters to upgrade or purchase new watercraft. This would spur the economic growth of marine dealers and related businesses. In addition, it could increase family outings at Kansas lakes and reservoirs, and enhance the use of the great water-related resources Kansas has to offer, while increasing revenue in the form of park permits, fuel, groceries, etc., in the local communities.

The chance to reduce the personal property tax on watercraft has taken years to become a reality. If not passed this year, the present method used to tax watercraft will remain the same and as the purchase price of watercraft rise, so will the property tax. The opportunity to change the way watercraft is taxed in Kansas is a decision left up to the voters in the November general election. Now is the time to begin the process of lowering the outrageously high personal property tax on Kansas registered watercraft. Vote Yes to amendment (HCR) 5017.

DON LEATHERMAN,

Liberal

Leatherman is president of the Kansas BASS Federation Nation.

Sports lure youth from roller skating

It is obvious to those that care that roller skating is not doing well in western Kansas.

These are the reasons why:

High school and junior high now has athletic events that take skaters away from skating. These events now include girls and ladies events in basketball (junior high and high school), volleyball, golf, soccer, tennis and swimming.

Boys events now include golf, tennis, track, basketball, baseball and soccer. These may or may not include junior high events.

As if additional school events are not enough, read on.

The recreation commissions take skaters away in droves with youth (ages 8 to 12) baseball, football, soccer, basketball, softball (up to adult level) and sometimes wrestling.

If that is not enough competition for roller rinks, the YMCA offers programs which attract people who would have been roller skaters years ago.

My parents operated a successful skating rink (Skilling Skating Rink) for more than 30 years, but they did not have as many school athletics, YMCA and the recreation commissions to compete against.

CHARLES SKILLING,

Garden City