Advertisement

Wu: Dock tax opponents form a well-funded PAC

July 07, 2012|By Jack Wu

I've been hearing rumblings about this for years, and in the midst of the 2012 tax season, I started getting the telephone calls asking me to write about it. But because of timing of it, and the amount of research I needed to do on it, it kind of fell by the wayside.

However, I will never forget that first conversation I had with Newport Beach/UCLA basketball legend John Vallely. He said the city was looking into raising the "fees" (read: taxes) involved with owning a commercial dock. He then started throwing out numbers that in no way could be true: a 20% tax/fee on gross income, a 20% tax/fee if you sell or refinance your marina property, and a 4% tax/fee if you try to improve your property through capital improvements.

If you own a business, after paying your federal and state income taxes, your payroll taxes and your sales taxes, could you imagine if you also had to pay another 20% tax on your gross income, not to the federal government, not to the state, not to the county, but to your city?

Advertisement

How fast would you be taxed out of business?

In an informal chat with City Councilman Keith Curry last month, we discussed this subject. His response was that the city was just expecting these commercial marina operators to pay their fair share and market rates to maintain the harbor, and that these fee (tax) increases would take place over five years, just like the 300% rent increases doled out to Newport Harbor mooring owners.

And before each of you discount these tax increases as just "rich people" problems — like it "must be nice to own a commercial dock" — consider this: Your family wants to rent a Duffy boat to cruise the harbor for your 25th wedding anniversary. If you can even find an operator who hasn't been taxed out of business, you will then have to pay way more than you did before.

Or if the city can just inflict a 20% tax on this, what makes you think that they wouldn't be so willing to inflict a 10% tax on donations — oops, the city already did that.

But it isn't the 300% fee increases to the mooring owners or the 20% gross income tax on the commercial docks that caught my attention. No, it was the actions of Balboa Island resident Bob McCaffrey, when he formed the Stop the Dock Tax Political Action Committee that piqued my interest. Their website is stopthedocktax.com and it has plenty of information on this important cause.

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles
|
|
|