Boat owners happy about tax decrease in Kansas

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This Memorial Day weekend, many Kansans will break out their boats for the season.

Because of a new law that decreases the boat tax in the state, that hobby is hitting wallets a little less.

For Dick Blanchard, a boat owner for almost 50 years, owning a boat can be an expensive hobby.

“It’s just like a new car, you got to figure in your sales tax and other administration fees, as well as your monthly payment,” he says.

But starting next year, it’s going to cost a little less. The boat tax in Kansas will go down from 30% of the boat value, to 11.5% in 2014 and 5% in 2015.

So the $1,800 Blanchard and his wife pay now per year will go down to $700 next year and $300 after that.

“With gas going up, every bit going down helps,” Blanchard says.

Good news for boat owners, but Jefferson County Commissioner Richard Malm says it creates a $700,000 problem.

“We’re probably going to have to make that up somehow, someway, and we’ll have to decide at that time what it’s going to be but chances are it’s going to go back on homeowners and Ag land,” Malm says.

It’s money he says often goes to maintain the very lake many of the boats are using.

“We provide police protection for the lake and surrounding area, we provide emergency services, we do the recovery if need be and most of the roads going into lake Perry are county roads which we have to maintain,” Malm adds.

But Janet Blanchard says the current tax rates in Kansas send many out of state to register their boats.

“So basically they’re pushing income away from the state of Kansas by not having at least a comparable rate,” she says.

For this couple, saving $1,500 a year means their 2004 Champion Fish Hunter will get the upgrades it needs.

“The taxes going down will be an immense difference,” Janet says.

Malm says there are currently 5,000 boats registered in Jefferson County.

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