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Safe boating, scholarships and the death tax

As we approach the midpoint of the traditional summer boating season, a tip of the hat to the National Safe Boating Council on their newest safe boating public service video.

Under the leadership of executive director Virgil Chambers, the latest public service announcement entitled “Casting Off” is a clever tongue-in-cheek video that encourages safe boating by wearing a life jacket. The video, paid for by a Coast Guard grant, demonstrates that the important life jacket message can be effectively rendered without the need for a “shock” or “gruesome” storyline.


Click play to watch “Casting Off.”

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Kudos to the Michigan Boating Industries Association for continuing to provide scholarships to students seeking careers in the marine industry. It’s the kind of program that can easily be dropped when the economy goes south. But the association’s Recreational Boating Industries Educational Foundation has kept it a priority and just awarded $6,800 in scholarships to 10 students for the 2012-13 school year.

“There are many interesting and challenging jobs within the boating industry and we are passionate about educating students about our industry,” said foundation chairman John Hatfield of Howe Interlakes Marine. Since inception, the foundation has awarded $339,396 to deserving students.

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Less than six months and counting … that’s what’s left until the “death tax” (formally known as the inheritance tax) skyrockets from 35 to 55 percent and the exemption plummets from $5 million to $1 million. The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas is continuing its push for full, permanent repeal of the estate tax. The tax is a burden on boat dealers and jeopardizes family inheritance and the continuation of family-owned and operated small businesses, according to MRAA president Matt Gruhn. There are reports the House could act in August on a bill to extend the current rates for another year, a move MRAA says it can support if it’s a permanent extension as a route to eventual total repeal. More likely, however, Congress will not act on any tax legislation until after the November election in the lame-duck session. Then, fasten your seat belt.

The MRAA also reports there has been some concern expressed recently about the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, aka Dodd-Frank, and its application to boat dealers. In an interesting turn of events, MRAA’s Washington lobbyist Larry Innis reports being approached by another group to trade off MRAA’s staunch opposition to any repeal of the second home mortgage deduction in return for an exemption for boat dealers from the cumbersome Dodd-Frank reporting requirements.

“The good news is boat dealers are already exempt from Dodd-Frank reporting,” Innis said. “MRAA successfully achieved that during the conference committee process when former Senator Sam Brownback (Kansas) included language that effectively exempted boat dealers. So unless a dealer actually carries the financing, something virtually no dealer does, dealers are exempt from Dodd-Frank reporting requirements, plain and simple,” he emphasizes. Further, MRAA’s long-standing support for maintaining the second-home mortgage deduction also remains unchanged.


9 comments on “Safe boating, scholarships and the death tax

  1. CaptA


    Lets be clear. The first $5,000,000 is exempt from the death tax. This means the majority of the country (i.e., 99%) will not be subject to the tax. This tax does not affect almost everyone in the USA. Most people really don’t care about it.

  2. Chris Neal


    Let’s be clear, it’s people that only care about their own special interests (like the “99%ers) that are killing this country. We have a completely disfunctional tax system because of all the different special treatments given to the politically connected. The ‘death tax’ is plain and simply an unfair tax. So what if it only can be applied to a few people? It’s still wrong, and the people for whom the tax will be applied are also the same people that employ the ‘99%’. Politicians get away it because people like you only care about yourself and cannot be bothered to think about the greater good.

  3. John

    Thanks, CaptA!! And there are many many ways to establish trusts and other financial instruments to avoid estate taxes. Sure wish the fantasy of the so-called “death tax” would evaporate.

  4. john ennis

    The exemption places the industry in bed with pawn shops and car dealers. You are who you sleep with..and if you do so with industries whose reputations are lower then whale S..T which is at the bottom of the ..speaking of the dealers who play monitary games with lenders at the expense of customers are doomed to hopefuly sink

  5. Doug Reimel

    The real problem is there are not enough people with ” skin in The Game”. They do not know what it is to fail and pick yourself back up. More importantly people do not know what it is like to have your own government pull the rug out from underneath you, and yet, you must get back up again just for personal pride (which is not readily abounding). The 99% don’t and won’t give a sh*t until the government monster is taking their 70″ flat screen TV for not payment of taxes. Sorry I forgot, that is an entitlement under W.A.T.C.H. otherwise known at Welfare At The Cost of Heirs, clause.

    Government is to BIG. Government is the problem. If it where fair the Government would be out of business.

  6. bruce

    The rich are running this country! They have us all believing the are the employers. Its the corporations that they own that hire. and the corporations already do not pay much taxes with all there loopholes. Ask General Electric.These are personal taxes, not corporate taxes. I am sure the rich have and will use many ways to keep hiding there money in offshore accounts or other ways the 99% have never heard of . Ask gov. Romney.
    We has a people keep believing all the T V adds there money can buy. Just read the other comments either they are the rich or the believers of the adds.

  7. Doug Reimel

    I do not know about you, but I do not consider myself a 1%er. I work enough hours that most peopole would consider I have 2 full time jobs. I knowingly do this. They are the true 1% that are rich and do not work because financially they do not need to, they are able to do anything they want.

    And then there are those who are incorrectly in the 99% who do not work, live a carefree lifestyle. They accomplish this because our own government takes yours and mine hard earned money through taxes and gives it to someone who will not work to better themseves. Keep in mind that person cannot purchase the very goods and services that puts money in yours and mine pocket, meaning receprication.

    Defining Rich: housing, food, clothing, time to do what you want, modern conveniences (cell phone, cable, internet, tivo, ect) no cares, no worries.

    There are the truly poor who do not have the capacity of taking care of themselves, and then there are those who are taking advantage of the system. If a freind of yours was always taking advantage of you, would you keep letting them take advantage of you?

  8. David Tomen

    Some good conversation in this thread, and is reflective of the political polarization in the country. Rather than relying on the political pundits on TV it would serve us well to check the facts.

    The U.S. Small Business Administration reports in the latest census data that Small Business employs about half of U.S. workers. Of 120.6 million nonfarm private sector workers in 2007, small firms employed 59.9 million and large firms employed 60.7 million.

    So, to say that the 1% can or will provide all the job growth in this country is likely incorrect. Common sense says we should support the MRAA in pushing for a permanent repeal of the estate tax. It does not serve us well as an industry to allow anyone to sidetrack the conversation, but to keep it on track in protecting and growing the recreational boating industry in the USA. My 2-cents. :-)

  9. CaptA

    David T–You are absolutely correct.

    Chris N.-You spew alot of passion but do not back it up with facts. THE FIRST $5,000,000 dollars is currently EXEMPT FROM THE TAX! My point is because 99% of the population has a net worth way LESS THAN $500,000 the majority of the US population just does not give a damn about the death tax. The “wealthy and the politicians are spining the death tax and making it appear like it affects most of the population. The fact is–it does not affect even remotely the majority of the population. As David T pointed out. The 1% are not the majority of the employers. The engine of growth is in small businesses, the majority of which are worth less than $5,000,000.

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