July 23, 2010

Rhode Island, "Haven....for tax-skirting luxury yacht owners" Like John Kerry

Marc Comtois

As first reported by the Boston Herald:

Sen. John Kerry, who has repeatedly voted to raise taxes while in Congress, dodged a whopping six-figure state tax bill on his new multimillion-dollar yacht by mooring her in Newport, R.I.

Isabel - Kerry’s luxe, 76-foot New Zealand-built Friendship sloop with an Edwardian-style, glossy varnished teak interior, two VIP main cabins and a pilothouse fitted with a wet bar and cold wine storage - was designed by Rhode Island boat designer Ted Fontaine.

But instead of berthing the vessel in Nantucket, where the senator summers with the missus, Teresa Heinz, Isabel’s hailing port is listed as “Newport” on her stern.

Could the reason be that the Ocean State repealed its Boat Sales and Use Tax back in 1993, making the tiny state to the south a haven - like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Nassau - for tax-skirting luxury yacht owners?

Cash-strapped Massachusetts still collects a 6.25 percent sales tax and an annual excise tax on yachts. Sources say Isabel sold for something in the neighborhood of $7 million, meaning Kerry saved approximately $437,500 in sales tax and an annual excise tax of about $70,000.

The senior senator’s chief of staff David Wade denied the old salt was berthing his boat out of state to avoid ponying up to the commonwealth.

“The boat was designed by and purchased from a company in Rhode Island, and it’s based in Newport at the Newport Shipyard for long-term maintenance, upkeep and charter purposes, not tax reasons,” Wade told the Track.

Sure. Hey, I don't have a problem with RI being a tax haven for something, but this just shows the "good enough for me, but not for thee" mentality of our self-dubbed betters.

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I can understand wanting to be boat-friendly in RI, we are the Ocean State, and it's good to be friendly to *something*. But why leave the money on the table? If a boat like Kerry's would get Mass $70,000 a year, then set an excise tax rate that would get $30,000 from his boat. He and others, probably wouldn't pull up stakes and move their boat to a neighboring state and RI would still bring in more income.

Of course I don't want to add any new taxes, but in light of car and property taxes going up by double digits, I got no problem with trying to offset those with a boat tax.

Posted by: Patrick at July 23, 2010 1:25 PM

"The rich need to pay their fair share!"

I'm glad the light is finally shining on Mr. Heinz and Rangel.

These clowns are the perfect example of Do what I say, not what I do.

Posted by: Paul at July 23, 2010 2:11 PM

And just think, it wasn't so long ago that John Kerry was out of a wife and sleeping in the back seat of his Chrysler Sebring convertible.

His "Beacon Hill Townhouse" was an Episcopal convent when I lived there. He even used is influence to get a fire hydrant moved to gain a parking space. I hate those little exercises of power. Another example, Massachusetts only allows 6 digits/letters in a "vanity plate". Except for Ted Kennedy who had "KENNEDY" on his plate, count the letters.

Just for Justin. I've started on my barn restoration with the tool maker "carpenters". Who else would show up with vernier calipers and wire gauge drills to drill holes for the pegs in motise and tenon joints. Thank God they spared me the Letter Size drills.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at July 23, 2010 4:10 PM

Hmm...couldn't have spent that $7 million to have the boat built in America? That's leadership boy...

Posted by: JTR at July 26, 2010 2:21 PM
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