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MARITIME REPRESENTATIVE URGES STUDY TO PROVE HARMFUL IMPACT OF MARITIME INDUSTRY TAXES

 WASHINGTON, March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Saying that they "constitute a serious competitive impediment that is pricing many U.S. products out of work markets," a maritime representative is urging Congress to conduct a comprehensive economic impact study of user fees imposed on the maritime industry.
 More than 100 individual user fees are assessed against the commercial maritime industry by 12 federal government agencies that currently collect $2 billion annually. According to a report just released by the General Accounting Office, the federal government's investigative arm, both the number of user fees and the dollars they generate are expected to rise significantly as new taxes already approved kick in later this year.
 Testifying before two congressional panels looking in to the impact of maritime user fees, New Orleans Steamship Association Vice President Channing F. Hayden Jr. said the maritime industry wants Congress to determine how the current $2 billion in taxes has already affected the competitive position of American products.
 "We already know the answer, but we want them to find out for themselves that the indiscriminate imposition of user fees on the maritime industry has been a disaster for U.S. products and the maritime industry," Hayden said. Though user fees are intended to defray the government's cost of providing services to the taxed industry, the GAO says a full 89 percent of the revenues collected in the form of maritime user fees go the General Treasury, not for services provided to the maritime industry.
 Also speaking for the National Association of Maritime Organizations, Inc., Hayden urged Congress to study the economic impact of user fees proposed by the administration and those authorized for the Coast Guard and the Federal Maritime Commission.
 Hayden cited the FMC's new Automated Tariff Filing and Information user fee as an example of taxes that are illogically billed against the commercial maritime industry. The FMC fee replaces revenue that had originally been expected to be raised by a recreational boaters' decal fee. The decal fee was scratched by Congress when recreational boaters objected to the tax and Congress shifted the burden for raising the lost revenue to the maritime industry.
 "The saga of the boaters' decal tax shows a serious flaw in the congressional budget process," Hayden said. "Proposed taxes are not studied in any systematic way. Too often no one knows what harm they cause. This system is contrary to good business practice," Hayden added.
 Hayden wants Congress to measure the net positive impact that a reduction in maritime user fees may have on the economy. "We know that we're losing thousands of jobs as a result of the serious erosion of the U.S. maritime industry. That erosion can be linked to the escalating cost of doing maritime business in the U.S.," he said. "Reducing or eliminating these fees will help revitalize the maritime industry, make U.S. products more competitive in world markets, and create new jobs," Hayden said.
 According to a recent Maritime Administration analysis of the U.S. port industry, more than 1.5 million jobs and $51.8 billion in personal income are directly linked to port jobs. "So are $14 billion in federal tax revenues and $130 billion in business sales revenues. What Congress has to realize is that maritime user fees put much of this at stake," Hayden concluded.
 -0- 3/25/93
 /CONTACT: Channing F. Hayden Jr. for the National Association of Maritime Organizations, 504-522-9392/


CO: National Association of Maritime Organizations ST: District of Columbia IN: MAR SU:

TW-KD -- DC002 -- 9399 03/25/93 08:59 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 25, 1993
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