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October 28, 2008

BoatU.S: "Yes" on Amendment 6 in Florida keeps waterfronts "working" and accessible

Public, boaters, and business have big stakes in issue

In Florida, public access to the waterfront and water-dependent businesses are being taxed out of existence. That's due to the state's inequitable tax code that appraises every single waterfront parcel -- marina, boat ramp, commercial fishing operation or any other water-dependent facility -- at "highest and best use" tax rates, not what the property is actually used for. On November 4, Sunshine State voters will have a chance to level the playing field by voting "yes" on Amendment 6, which if passed will allow waterfront parcels to be assessed on their present use as a marina, launch ramp or other waterfront business, and help keep the state's waterways accessible to all Floridians.

"Currently in the state of Florida, a small marina with public access is taxed as having the same revenue potential as a multi-unit waterfront condominium development," said BoatU.S. Vice President of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich. "It's only a matter of time before a marina, fishing operation or other water-dependent business succumbs to the crushing tax burden. It's simply bad math that doesn't add up for boaters, water-dependent businesses, or anyone interested in preserving the state's maritime heritage and dwindling waterfront access," she added.

Amendment 6 simply states the following marine venues and working waterfronts will be taxed at the property's current use:

· Marinas and docks open to the public for access and recreational uses
· Public vessel launches into navigable waterways
· Commercial fishing facilities
· Water-dependent marine manufacturing facilities
· Marine vessel construction and repair facilities

"Florida cannot afford to lose any more access, and its marine industry, which contributes $18 billion to the state's economy and provides 220,000 jobs. Unlike other businesses, these operations cannot relocate. It's ironic that a state known for its world-class recreational boating could have such a self-defeating measure in its tax code," added Podlich.

The amendment was introduced by the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission and is supported by a large coalition of organizations including the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, Marine Industries Association of Florida, and Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.).

For more information, go to http://www.SaveOurWaterfronts.com