Michigan Tax Proposed

Oh, Great

More good news. *sigh* Guess we have to do some writing and complaining...

I love this statement: "Sometimes empty kayaks and canoes come floating down a river, Ball said." And this is why the boats need numbers on them... so someone can figure out who owns the empty canoe and then go looking for that individual.... instead of deciding to look, based on the empty canoe.

Yep, Kathryn, I have heard some bull before, but that statement is udderly rediculous.:D
This was tried once before, but the outrage created stopped it. It's actually amazing to me that a highly government regulated state such as Michigan hasn't done this years ago- like the wonderful idiots in Columbus have !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Maybe because I grew up in liberal tax and spend MN, and only know registration for all watercraft, that this doesn't bother me at all.

If you can't give the state $5 you probably shouldn't be invloved in an expensive sport like canoeing or restoring W/C.

The gas to just get to a piece of water far exceeds the $5.

Back when I was involved in trying to get the MN collector canoe registration law changed, chatted some with the MN DNR guy responsible for admin'ing it, and he had some pretty persuasive arguements for it.

And yes, the funds collected was part of it, but his contention was that the fees only partially covered the cost of administraton. His main arguement was that the registration provided a method for the DNR to moniter and measure use of the waters, which in turn helped them decide where to put dollars into the resource, ie, lake or river access, camp sites, fish stocking, habitat managentment/development, just to name a few.

I do agree that the safety excuse is ridicules, and the tracking of lost or stolen craft is marginal at best, but it does happen.

I think one big objection has to do with putting numbers on a canoe that is otherwise a pristine restoration... forcing us to become creative, and come up with numbers that aren't actually attached to the canoe (if that's permitted).
In Illinois they let you put a tag with the numbers on the inside of the canoe if it's a classic.

I'm sure I'll get around to getting a few sometime soon.

General Fund

I post these things so people become aware, and can make their own decisions.

Also, what gets approved in other states seems to be contagious. I have noticed that many times, the money generated goes into the state general fund and I suspect very little of the revenue ends up helping paddlers with respect to better landings, routes, facilities etc. I think the lawmakers see the kayaks on cars as a revenue stream and then insert the word "safety" to make it stick.

How much money is really left after printing stickers and enforcement? I have heard of state cases where these laws, intended to generate revenue, have often cost more to implement and enforce than they generate.

How much is lost as a result of tourists changing plans as a result of a fee they don't agree with?

Probably my biggest pet peeve is that canoes/kayaks are non-polluting and should be highly encouraged to say the least.

I feel these revenue generating schemes are short sighted at a minimum.

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In Illinois, the fee is $13 for the first 3-year period, and $6 for each 3-year renewal. It costs them more to cash the check than the check is worth, so they started offerring online payment, which includes a "convenience fee" in addition to the $6 renewal. I send checks. :rolleyes:

Beyond that, if you bought the boat at a retail store outside Illinois, you get to pay the difference in sales tax (what you actually paid vs what you would have paid, if you had bought the boat in your home county) to the state revenue dept. For a canoe or kayak, this is typically a couple dollars. BUT it has to be a separate check... so again, it costs them more to cash it than it's worth. And they wonder why the state's nearly bankrupt?

But counting boat registration types within each county is part of how they decide to allocate the money for boat access spots. The money to build canoe launches far exceeds that taken in by canoe registrations, so I don't complain.

Sometimes, all it takes is a couple of local taxpayers asking about getting a canoe launch opened up to make The Powers That Be pay attention. In Stephenson County (far NW part of the state), two guys with kayaks have gotten local jurisdictions to build launches along the Pecatonica River, creating a warertrail that runs quite a long haul. Of course, being retired, they have a lot of time to put into it, but their efforts have taken advantage of the system, that's for sure!
In MN, they only require the large numbers if the craft is motorized, (and maybe sail?) but paddle only, only requires the small sticker, and if it's a 'classic' craft, (older then 1950's?) there is a provision to put it on a seperate plack that can be hung from the gunwales.

Also, as there are a lot of strippers made here, the owners often either doon't apply the sticker or apply it inside the canoe, to not affect the looks, I've not heard of anyone being sited for doing this, as the CO's are/maybe be lenient with the home builts?

Illinois also requires the numbers only if it has a motor, or is a sailboat. I asked about a canoe rigged for sail, and was told it would depend on whether it was used primarily under sail or under paddle. So the answer to the CO is obvious: "Oh I only sail it once in a while, mostly I paddle it."

Of course, this depends on which CO you get, and how good of a mood he's in.

There's also a way to get the sticker allowed on the inside, but you have to get a special exemption letter from the DNR. It's not clear whether the COs know about this or not.
Obviously, I'm wrong about stickers AND ID letters/numbers being applied to canoes. Every state should have them.
Note that I'm not in favor of a canoe tax, but since the payback is actually tangible, I'm not going to argue with them about it.

And a new no-motors launch is being built on a lake in my local forest preserves this year... funded by that boat tax revenue. Oh darn...
I vote no

I was in the demonstration in the '80's against the then reigstration law. It was repealed as a result of our efforts.
Government can make as many arguments as they want when they are trying to find yet another way to enhance revenue. Here in Michigan times are tough. Our lottery was supposed to save the schools financially. Didn't. I think about five per cent of the school budget is from the state sponsored gambling. It does amount to millions but isn't that big a help if it's only 5 per cent.
Canoes are non consumptive and non polluting. Canoe exclusive parks, beaches, harbors, or any waters for that matter, don't exist to my knowledge. Now that I think of it, there are canoe access only campgrounds. The state is simply trying to find ways to increase their revenue. I can't really blame them for that. But, if canoes are to be registered, then why not rollerskates, skateboards, bycicles, tennis shoes, snow shoes, skis and hiking boots? Michigan government every spring has to deal with the morel hunting license hoax. Perhaps there should be a morel hunting license.

If an additional tax is levied on canoes, i'll pay it, but I won't like it. And I'll be complaining that the money is not being spent on canoe specific projects.
Dead in the Water?

I heard a rumor that due in large part to paddler response that this one is dead in the water too.
This serves to make the concept a bit more tangible... from the local newspaper, though the online version was pulled offline already. Having the state registration helps establish ownership:

A 35-year-old Palatine man faces felony charges In connection with the theft of a $3,000 kayak from Winnetka's lakefront.

Thomas J. Millar, of 140 N. Bothwell St. in the northwest suburb was charged Aug. 27 with felony theft. He is accused of stealing an Eddyline brand kayak from its storage space at Lloyd Beach, 799 Sheridan Road, some time between July 25 and July 29, said Winnetka Police Dep. Chief Patrick Kreis. The kayak had not been locked up, according to a police report.

Police entered the boat's description and registration number into the National Criminal Information Center database as well as the Law Enforcement Agencies Data System at the state level.

The Winnetka Police Department received word from the Illinois Conservation Police Aug. 20 that officers had recovered the missing kayak and detained a man, later identified as Millar, who had it in his possession, Kreis said.

With that information in hand, Winnetka Police conducted an investigation over the next seven days to determine whether Millar was indeed responsible for the actual theft. Kreis said detectives were able to gather enough evidence link him to the crime itself and to seek a felony charge.

Police were able to "identify him as the sole offender in the case," he added. Millar was subsequently taken into custody Aug. 27 and charged.

If convicted, he could serve two to five years in prison.
Similarly, a kayak was stolen out of the parking lot of a canoe/kayak shop in Madison, WI, recently. I haven't heard if it was registered or recovered yet.

Note that I'm still not particularly in favor of canoe taxes, and yes, the stickers are ugly as hell, but maybe the registration isn't such a bad idea. This isn't the first time I've heard of a canoe or kayak getting returned to its rightful owner, with the registration numbers being part of the situation.
I'll vote no unless...

When I lived in Ohio, I was a volunteer for the Ohio DNR- Division of Watercraft and saw, first hand, how the $12 boat fee was put to work. The Ohio law provided that at all fees (boat tax) was funneled to the Div of Watercraft and NOT the general fund. Ohio had (1980's) very good river access points, public boating information and training and one of the best river rescue training and response programs in the nation. In fact, ODNR-DWC trained many other states' agencies. I hated the hull numbers and never installed them on our boats. We carried the registration in our dry bag to present to a CO if asked, but we never were asked. Besides, we paddled lakes and streams the COs didn't patrol on a regular basis as they're more worried about some drunk idiot running over a fisherman on one of the big lakes.

Indiana has no canoe or kayak registration program, pretty sucky river access points, no boater safety program and we loss tragically, COs while they train for river rescues...... and our local fishing guide lost his wife and grandson when they were run over by a speed boat driven by a couple teenagers......
I suspect Ohio still leads the pack in all categories listed.

Illinois is somewhere in the middle -- prety good access, but the boating safety classes are optional at all levels, which means the people who need them the most don't bother. Enforcement for the boat stickers is lax in most areas, and not particularly strong in the rest. Boating under the Influence is ignored unless somebody dies in the collision, which means the more heavily stink-boated areas are downright dangerous for the rest of us. Good reason to go elsewhere.