This week, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., brought back the “Maritime Industries Relief Act” which, he insists, will help spur Florida’s economy.
Mast’s office explained the rationale behind the bill.
“The bill repeals the duty payment imposed on pre-owned dutiable foreign-flagged boats offered for sale to U.S. residents while in U.S. waters, including motorboats, sail boats, canoes and rowboats,” Mast’s office noted. “The repeal of this duty payment will make it more affordable to bring used boats into the United States, which will then rely on service and support in U.S. ports by U.S.-based companies and workers. The current tax structure disadvantages U.S.-based marine businesses by making it more likely that used boats will go to foreign-based ports to be repaired.”
The congressman noted that in his district alone the marine manufacturing industry helps support more than 3,000 jobs and more than 400 businesses, leading to an economic impact of more than $600 million.
“This is a jobs bill, plain and simple,” Mast said. “We have a thriving maritime industry, and it’s absolutely critical that we do everything we can to help American businesses compete. This is a perfect example of a win-win for consumers and local businesses.”
Mast also insisted the bill would make it “more affordable for U.S.-based consumers to purchase used boats” and noted there “there are more than 41,000 recreational boats owned by 18th District residents, more than 70 percent of whom have an annual household income below $100,000.”
Still, Mast has brought out this proposal before and it has not made much headway in Congress. While the bill was sent to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee this week, Mast has, so far, not reeled in any cosponsors. There is also no version of the bill over in the U.S. Senate.
Kevin Derby wrote this analysis. He can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.