Archive for Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Kansas boat tax question winning

November 7, 2012


TOPEKA — Kansas voters were giving support to a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would change the way boats are taxed.

Unofficial returns early today indicated the measure was narrowly passing with 90 percent of the vote counted.

Voters were asked to add the words “and watercraft” to the constitution where it addresses levying property taxes. The measure was backed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism in hopes of encouraging more residents to purchase and register boats in the state.


Derkle25 5 years ago

Wouldn't a new tax on boats DISCOURAGE people from buying or registering a boat in kansas? Come on people this is simple logic.

Clickker 5 years ago

So we add boats to the already unfair tax on vehicles and we are supposed to buy more boats? Not logical. Do "watercraft" include kayaks and canoes as well?

Xwards 5 years ago

Boats are already taxed at a relatively high rate. The change in the constitution would lower that rate. "Watercraft" would refer to motorized boats.

jafs 5 years ago

I was very disappointed that I hadn't seen anything in local media about this issue before I voted.

The wording was quite confusing, and the main body didn't seem to connect to the summary, and it was hard to figure out what the change would actually mean.

Also, a boat owner I talked with said that taxes on boats weren't that high, and he felt nothing should be changed - he's probably the most conservative person I know personally.

otto 5 years ago

If you go to (providing you vote in dg county) you can see a sample ballot prior to voting.

jafs 5 years ago

Thanks - I might do that next time.

But, just seeing a sample ballot doesn't give any analysis of the measure proposed.

Joe Adams 5 years ago

But Google can after you see the ballot issue?

jafs 5 years ago

Wow - funny sentence structure.

Yes, I could google after seeing the issue on the ballot, but if there isn't anything in the media, then that wouldn't help much.

Joe Berns 5 years ago

seriously? I hadn't read the measure before, but the wording seemed very clear to me. A vote yes would lower the taxes on watercraft. As a boat owner, this is a no brainer to me.

jafs 5 years ago

Yes, seriously.

The summary said that watercraft would no longer be taxed as personal property, and that the legislature could then decide to tax it as something else, or not at all, while the actual text didn't seem to include anything about boats.

And, it's interesting that the only boat owner I know personally who is quite conservative, didn't vote for this because he felt it opened the door to higher taxation, and thought current tax rates were fine.

Joe Berns 5 years ago

The only boat owner you know then isn't very informed. Its pretty common knowledge to boat owners that we get the shaft with taxes and the like compared to other states.

jafs 5 years ago

Go argue with him then.

He has 3 boats, and is quite conservative.

jafs 5 years ago

I missed that somehow - wish I had seen it before I voted.

Sharon Nottingham 5 years ago

thank goodness i voted in advance. the ballot question was ridiculously I had to do further research online to make an informed decision.

john heleniak 5 years ago

The boat taxes in Kansas are some of the highest in the country. Too many of my friends register their boats in OK or MO because it is hundreds of dollars cheaper. For example, the taxes on my boat taxes is kansas was stated at $612, MO was stated at $125, and OK was $101. This bill, hopefully it passed, will bring more money into Kansas even though the taxes would be lower. It's a win-win for boat owners and Kansas.

MarcoPogo 5 years ago

I don't think there's a "break even" point. It seems to be a matter of tax money that is going to other states in order to avoid paying the high KS rates.

chootspa 5 years ago

Yes. There's a break even point. They weren't all going to other states to register boats. So if you lower the taxes here, there would have to be more total registrants in Kansas in order to generate the same amount of revenue from boat registrations.

MarcoPogo 5 years ago

I get ya on the break even point, but I thought one of the reasons they gave for proposing the amendment in the first place was that there was a significant number of people registering out-of-state.

chootspa 5 years ago

It's a common argument used to justify a tax cut - that it will "pay for itself" by encouraging more people to pay into the system. It seldom does. Will it in this case? I have no idea.

Terry Sexton 5 years ago

I voted yes to change it because I read that boat taxes & fees are way outa whack to the extent they have a discouraging & prohibitive effect on the industry statewide. Feeling fortunate to have read a little blurb about it in this here newspaper, I think it was. Otherwise I probably would've misunderstood the issue.

Anytime we can lower personal property taxes we should do so. I don't like paying personal property taxes on stuff that's already gotten a sales tax outa me. That includes automobiles, but I doubt that's changin' anytime soon.

Chris Golledge 5 years ago

I tend to agree with you on the whole principle of property taxes. The money was taxed when I earned it, the money was taxed again when I made the purchase, and then I get to pay taxes for the privilege of owning it. However, as it stands now, I pay taxes on my utility trailer, and not on my boat, which seems kind of bass-ackwards.

Crazy_Larry 5 years ago

Property tax means you don't own your property. Don't believe me? Try not paying your property taxes. Property taxes are wrong and should be abloished, IMHO.

headdoctor 5 years ago

‘‘A vote for this proposition would permit the legislature to provide for separate classification and taxation of watercraft or to exempt such property from property taxation and impose taxes in lieu thereof."

I think the above is what caused several voters to stumble on the ballot. It wont surprise me if Brownback and company completely remove watercraft from taxation. Who knows how in lieu of will translate once ran through the legislature.

classclown 5 years ago

I see several comments here fueling the arguments some make about how some people should never be allowed to vote.

All I can do after reading said comments, all I can do is shake my head and think about how that explains a few things.

Adrienne Sanders 5 years ago

The problem with this bill is that it doesn't say what the taxes will be, so even if you agree that they're too high as is, voting for something that doesn't say what it will be changed to didn't seem like a great idea.

jafs 5 years ago

I also wondered whether or not the taxes can be lowered without changing the way in which boats are taxed currently.

Can't the taxing entity change the assessments or rates without changing how boats are classified?

Curtis Lange 5 years ago

Proof people took the tl;dr approach to that amendment and checked yes. I, after reading it in full, wholeheartedly checked NO!

tomatogrower 5 years ago

If the drought continues, who is going to want a boat in Kansas anyway?

Chris Golledge 5 years ago

So, the conclusion is that, because the wording/meaning was not clear on the ballot, those with enough disposable income to own a boat get a tax break on what would otherwise be taxable property. By default, there is now no tax on boats, and I don't see the Republican legislature jumping to add a new tax to anything.

gr 5 years ago

"Nobody who can afford jet skis and boats is gonna balk at the tax."


Nobody who can afford to live in lawrence is gonna balk at the tax. Nobody who can afford to own a house is gonna balk at the tax. Nobody who can afford to own a car is gonna balk at the tax. . . .

gr 5 years ago

Luxury? You didn't say anything about that in your statement. Many people do think owning a home is a luxury. And there are some who think owning a car is a luxury.

Maybe what you meant was anybody who owns something you don't should not balk at any targeted tax on that item.

gr 5 years ago

"The boat taxes in Kansas are some of the highest in the country. Too many of my friends register their boats in OK or MO because it is hundreds of dollars cheaper. For example, the taxes on my boat taxes is kansas was stated at $612, MO was stated at $125, and OK was $101. This bill, hopefully it passed, will bring more money into Kansas even though the taxes would be lower. It's a win-win for boat owners and Kansas."

Other states have the lottery, so why not Kansas. Other states have lower boat taxes so why not Kansas.

So, if other states have lower taxes in general, why not Kansas? Wouldn't that also encourage more people to live here, to create businesses here, and generate more taxes? If other states are not hostile towards businesses, what should Kansas be? Or are boats different because they think there is a captive audience?

gccs14r 5 years ago

The only reason I voted for the amendment is because I don't think anything related to tax rates or property classification should be in the Constitution, and this removes one more item from it. All the Constitution should have in it regarding taxation is language giving the Legislature the authority to tax. All the verbiage about actual taxes and rates should be in legislation. It's no wonder we keep having "Constitutional Amendment" conversations.

jafs 5 years ago

Then the legislature has full control, and can do whatever they like, including raising taxes or eliminating them entirely.

I suspect that's why my conservative acquaintance didn't like the idea.

gccs14r 5 years ago

Changes would still have to go through the legislative process and be signed into law by the Governor and would be subject to judicial oversight, so it's not like there would be a great whipsawing of rates and classifications every two years. If legislators can't be trusted to legislate in the best interests of the People, maybe we need better legislators, rather than mechanisms to tie their hands so they can't hurt anything.

jafs 5 years ago

Why not?

If the legislature wants to change them, and the governor agrees, it's done.

What sort of "judicial oversight" would apply here?

I agree, of course, with your point about legislators, although there are disagreements about what the best interests of the people are, which is a big problem.

Trumbull 5 years ago

One would have thought that they could have simplified the tax question on the ballot. The summary was helpful, but the body was an entire lawyer speak too. Goodness.

BTW lawyer speak (any legal or tax documents) will put just about anybody to sleep. DId anyone pass out at the polls? Knees buckle? Geeze. Glad I have a place to rant. Pardon me.

riverdrifter 5 years ago

Well, my boat might be a Kansan now instead of a Floridian. I bought it in Florida from the manufacturer and they showed me a comparison of the cost between registering it there vs here. No-brainer.

Crazy_Larry 5 years ago

Avoiding paying your taxes! What a patriot! Let me guess...are you a conservative? Is that you, Mitt Romney? Winner, winner! Chicken dinner!

riverdrifter 5 years ago

Nah, I'm a Kansas Democrat. The boat spends most of the time in the Everglades, anyway. Try again.

bearded_gnome 5 years ago

or it'd make him like John Kerry, registering boat in 'nuther state to avoid taxes.

try again loser.

Crazy_Larry 5 years ago

Are you talking to me, loser? There's a reply button for that, g-pa! Still a little upset over the Romney loss I see. Cheer up ol-buddy-ol-pal-o-mine!

riverdrifter 5 years ago

Big nose is just that: A loser. He's always poking his nose into somebody else's business.

Carol Bowen 5 years ago

Voters should be offended that a constitutional amendment could be handled so flippantly. There was very little review and no information on how the state's constitution can be amended. Evidently, a simple majority approves an amendment. Another question. Is the Kansas constitution cluttered with this kind of stuff?

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