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Boat Safe: Rescuing Lou's Canoe Tax

September 25. 2018 10:56PM

If it moves, Democrats want to tax it.

Late last year, Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester, sponsored the Canoe Tax, a $10 annual registration fee for every canoe and kayak in New Hampshire.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee quickly killed Lou’s tippy canoe idea by copying a better one.

The bill was turned into a commission to study a Boat Safe card, which would mirror the successful Hike Safe program created by Sen. Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro.

Cardholders are not liable to repay rescue costs if they need to be rescued, unless they recklessly endanger rescue personnel. Hike Safe generates $125,000 per year for the Fish and Game Department’s search and rescue operations.

The study commission is charged with determining if a similar program should be offered to boaters.

Fish and Game has traditionally relied heavily on hunting and fishing licenses revenue, but that is dropping. Giving people who use New Hampshire’s outdoor resources a chance to contribute toward their own protection is a better way to supplement those revenues than slapping a state inspection sticker on every canoe.

The Boat Safe study commission meets Thursday at the State House. It has until Nov. 1 to issue its recommendation.

Turning Liberal Lou’s Canoe Tax into a Boat Safe program would be a great way to turn trash into treasure.


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