Boat Property Tax Amendment On Ballot Statewide

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Your votes will determine whether it sinks or swims, a yes vote on a statewide ballot issue would allow legislators to change the Kansas constitution, and how watercraft are taxed statewide.

Kansas Wildlife and Parks officials say about 10,000 boats in Kansas are registered outside the state, in order to avoid high tax rates, sometimes 8 times higher than those in surrounding states.

The boat tax rate is determined by 30-percent of the boat's value, times the mill rate for that county.

Three neighboring states – Oklahoma, Nebraska and Missouri – don't have any property tax on watercraft, neither do Texas and Iowa.

Supporters say the amendment would mean lower taxes per individual, but more revenue collectively.

"The idea is to lower that, get more of those folks who have registered their boats outside of Kansas in order to dodge the Kansas taxes, and get them paying some taxes here, so that we all don't have to make up for it," Lake Perry Marina's Mike Stanley said.

Opponents say regulations in Kansas have helped create a strong market for used boats, and that the amendment is being pushed mostly by sports fishermen who want to save money on expensive boats.

The measure needs a majority to pass. It then goes back to lawmakers, who would debate how, and if, they would change the boat tax structure outlined in the constitution.