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Time is now to push favorable legislation

Mention increasing state revenues and keeping people working and you’ll find instant friends in your state legislature these days. The time for local and state marine trade associations to push for positive state legislation couldn’t be better.

In last November’s elections, the Republican party took control of the majority of state legislatures, 26 in all. There are 15 Democratic-controlled legislatures and eight split, with Nebraska being officially non-partisan. Regardless of the dominant party, however, every state lawmaker is concerned with jobs and generating income. So, when it comes to gaining lawmakers’ support for bills that can create both, the current timing is perfect.

 Such is the case in Ohio, for example. The Boating Associations of Ohio has thrown its strong support behind a bill that would extend summer. HB 191, introduced last month in the Ohio General Assembly, is a measure that would prevent the school year from starting before Labor Day and require it to end by Memorial Day. In other words, to go back to what was essentially a traditional school year not too many years ago.\

Actually, BAO has been seeking such a law since neighboring Michigan passed similar legislation more than four years ago. There, the documented results have been summer business has increased, summer jobs are maintained longer (particularly good for college students), and state tax receipts have increased. Ohio dealers want to same benefits!

Truth is, for years the start of the school year has been creeping toward early August in most states. It has resulted in a shortened summer for families and decreased business for recreational and tourism industries. Thus far, 11 states have passed some form of school year legislation. These serve as blueprints for pursuit of the same in other states.
Notably, where there are Republican-controlled legislatures, the reception is at least perceived to be better for positive business-oriented lawmaking. And there haven’t been this many in more than three decades. In addition, many legislatures now have large numbers of small business owners serving in them.

The great recession has resulted in state lawmakers becoming more receptive than ever to any policy changes that could spur economic growth. While Connecticut’s just-passed 0.65 luxury tax on boats selling above $100,000 runs counter to what will spur business and job growth, most state legislatures can be expected to look favorably on positive legislative proposals that keeps jobs and raises revenues.

Dealers and the leaders of their MTAs should be identifying what public policy changes are desirable that could result in increased business, jobs and revenues for the state coffers. Likely, those taking such proposals to lawmakers will find a favorable reception.


3 comments on “Time is now to push favorable legislation

  1. Gary Rademaker

    Norm – Federal legislation is pending that could have a significant impact on the entire boating industry. This proposed legislation deserves our attention and support. If passed, this legislation would put $50 BILLION dollars ANNUALLY (yes – EVERY year) into consumers’ pockets without creating ANY burden on taxpayers. Some of that $50 BILLION will find its way to the boating industry. The rest will find its way back into our economy – creating jobs, stabilization and eventually, growth. And eventually, the stabilization and growth will impact the boating industry as well.

    The legislation is simple. It’s called the HOME Act (or H.R. 363), and here’s how it works: Using the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, all mortgages currently owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that meet the basic criteria will qualify for the opportunity to refinance at historically low market rates. This would allow homeowners to reduce their monthly mortgage payment by hundreds of dollars—reducing the number of defaults and preventing foreclosure. To fund the program, Fannie and Freddie would issue new mortgage-backed securities (MBS) to fund the refinanced mortgages and use the proceeds to pay off the existing MBS (just like what happens now when borrowers refinance). Fannie and Freddie would receive the same cash flow to cover default risk that they do now, passing along the reductions in financing costs to borrowers.
    COSTS: Little-to-no cost to taxpayers. The fees for refinancing would be rolled into the mortgage to eliminate the cost to taxpayers—penalties would be waived. As GSEs, Fannie and Freddie are currently wards of the federal government. As a result, mortgages they currently hold are financial liabilities held by the U.S. government. The HOME Act would help reduce that liability over the medium-to-long-term by preventing the potential for millions of foreclosures that would otherwise leave taxpayers on the hook. There are about 30 million outstanding mortgages whose losses are guaranteed by the federal government through Fannie or Freddie. Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase have evaluated potential savings from such a program and have estimated an annual reduction in mortgage payments of about $50 billion.
    This bill is currently in committee for consideration. I believe this bill could have a swift and substantial impact on our industry, and deserves our support. More information on the bill can be found at

  2. CaptainA


    The school year was shorten so kids could help out on the family farm. The family farm does not exist anymore. I think it is RIDICULOUS to shorten the school year. If anything it needs to be extended. Out children need to be competitive in the world market place so they can have a chance to make enough money to purchase boats. This is the most short-sighted article you have ever written.

  3. C. Moore

    Gary Fannie & Freddie got us here it’s time to disolve them for ever, not let them have any more control of money, programs, or securities. Who’s going to buy this toilet paper?? Oh yea the evil wall streeter speculators – not!!

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