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CONGRESS REPEALS BOAT LUXURY TAX

 CHICAGO, Aug. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- With a crucial vote on President Clinton's budget package, the U.S. Senate put an end tonight to the boat excise tax that helped drive the marine industry into recession and push its workers out of jobs. Boat builders expect the news to have an immediate impact on sales, production and work force levels as dealers get signatures on pending orders and pent-up demand takes hold.
 "Our manufacturers don't view repeal so much as a victory as a chance to get back to where they were before this damnable tax wreaked havoc on their businesses," commented National Marine Manufacturers Association President Jeff Napier. "It's hard to be elated when our own government's action created a loss of 30,000 American jobs and destroyed dozens of companies in the process."
 Napier was nonetheless quick to acknowledge members of Congress who worked so hard on behalf of the industry over the past two and a half years. "We're grateful to those in the House and Senate, as well as those in the marine industry who persisted in eliminating this tax." Napier named Senators John Breaux (D-La.), John Chafee (R-R.I.) and George Mitchell (D-Mass.) and Congressmen Clay Shaw (R-Fla.), David Bonior (D-Mich.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) as instrumental in advancing legislation to repeal the excise tax and in gaining bipartisan recognition that the tax was failed policy.
 First conceived three years ago as a symbolic gesture to cull revenue from the rich, the 10 percent tax began having an immediate impact on boat sales as buyers adopted a wait-and-see attitude. Actual enactment of the tax in Jan. 1, 1991 on top of a contracting economy brought sales subject to the tax to a virtual standstill, leaving a wake of unemployment, plant closings and foreclosures in the marine industry. Down a full 70 percent from peak levels in 1988, big boat sales remain historically low.
 The legislation approved by the Senate late Friday and by the House Thursday makes repeal of the luxury tax retroactive to Jan. 1, 1993. Manufacturers and dealers who have had to pay the tax themselves during the past seven months to close boat sales will use refunds to restart production lines, rehire workers and beef up marketing. Napier predicted that boating sales and jobs would make a significant recovery. "We think the pent-up demand from customers who refused to pay this tax will enable boat builders to re-employ 5,000 workers within six months." He also noted that renewed boat sales would help American manufacturers regain their competitive price position in world markets.
 -0- 8/6/93
 /CONTACT: Mary Mann of NMMA, 202-944-4980/


CO: National Marine Manufacturers Association ST: Illinois IN: MAR SU:

LD-TM -- NY065 -- 0512 08/06/93 22:20 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 6, 1993
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