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Letters: Another Boat Tax?
Opposition To Plan To Fund Ocean Inlet Dredging
June 25, 2015

B
oat owners could soon be paying more to the state of NC. A proposal in the Legislature would create a new requirement for boaters in Eastern NC called the Coastal Waterways User Identification Number for boats 24 feet and longer.

A 24-foot boat’s ID number would cost about $70; a 40-footer would cost $200, per year. This would be on top of the higher boat registration fees all NC boaters began paying 2 years ago to finance dredging of NC’s ocean inlets. Ocean inlet dredging is where this new tax’s money would go as well, according to the bill sponsored by 3 senators from NC’s ocean-front counties.

It appears unlikely that Oriental and Pamlico County — away from the ocean inlets — would see any of its silted channels dredged with that money.

As reported on TownDock.net this week, this bill targets boats in Coastal Waters, defined by the State as waters under the jurisdiction of the Division of Marine Fisheries (as opposed to Inland Waters that are the jurisdiction of the Wildlife Resource Division.) Pamlico County has both, creating the possibility of confusion over enforcement.

The proposal prompted readers Jane and Michael Tigar to write to their state representative Michael Speciale and share some of that letter, here.

A proposal to make boating more expensive for us is ill-advised, particularly given that the Legislature increased the boat registration fee just recently. With our relatively small new boat, we never use the inlets that are to be dredged, yet when I look at the map, we will pay the fee.

The inlets that are to be dredged are used by tourists passing through, by commercial vessels of all sorts coming up and down the ICW, and so on. This tax hits a small portion of the boat owners — who are already paying for the right to use their boats.

We understand that these inlets — which are part of the navigable waters of the United States — should be kept clear. Those funds should not be gathered by a tax that is selective and discriminatory.

Michael & Jane Tigar
Oriental, 28571
6/25/15

(In response to their email to Representative Speciale, and as their letter was being posted here, the Tigars say they received this email from Legislative Assistant, Hazel Speciale:

Mr. & Mrs Tigar,

Representative Speciale does not support these increased fees on boaters. Yesterday, the House did not concur with the Senate changes to the budget so conferees will be assigned and the negotiations will begin.

Thank you for your comments.

Hazel Speciale
Legislative Assistant
Representative Michael Speciale)


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