Archive for » April, 2013 «

Boat Show Sparks ’10 Times’ 2012 Interest

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

A BAHAMIAN boat/yacht broker expects the “fantastic” turnout at the weekend’s PalmCay Boat Show will translate into significant sales over the next few months, telling Tribune Business the 2013 version generated ‘10 times’ the amount of interest compared to last year.

Brooks Russell, marina consultant at Palm Cay, and the Bahamas Sport Fishing Network’s (BSFN) principal, estimated that around 2,000 persons attended its Boat Show at Palm Cay this past weekend.

“We had a fantastic show. We had a great turnout with probably around 2,000 people or more show up,” Mr Russell said.

“We had boats on display from $10,000 to $290,000. All the vendors had their products on display. A lot of vendors were able to sell products and had a lot of interest in their products.

“We had a ton of interest in the boats we had for sale. A lot of people were able to see what kind of boat they wanted and look at the different varieties. The turnout was great and it just again brought awareness to the fact that we do have great boats for sale in the Bahamas, and an industry with huge potential that the Bahamas can take advantage of.”

Mr Russell previously told Tribune Business he had seen an 80 per cent boat sales upswing for 2013 to-date, coming off the success of the inaugural boat show last year.

He added:”We had 10 times the amount of interest in boats at this show than we did at the last show in October. With that much more genuine interest, I think we are going to see a sales growth over the next couple of months into the boating season.

“People understand that from what was showcased over the weekend, we don’t have to take the time any more to go to Florida; we have boats here that we can look at, and in two or three days purchase and be done with it.”

Mr Russell said there was tremendous growth potential for The Bahamas marine and boating industry.

“The potential for this industry to grow is unlimited when you think of our proximity to Florida and the amount of income that is generated from the marine industry. With a strong focus, this can be a very profitable revenue stream for the Bahamas,” he added.


Similar news:

Research and Markets: 2013 US Boat Dealers Industry-Industry & Market Report

DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 26, 2013-- 

Research and Markets has announced the addition of the “2013 U.S. Boat Dealers Industry-Industry Market Report” report to their offering.

The U.S. Boat Dealers Industry-Industry Market Report, published annually, contains timely and accurate industry statistics, forecasts and demographics.

The report features 2013 current and 2014 forecast estimates on the size of the industry (sales, establishments, employment) nationally and for all 50 U.S. States and over 900 metro areas.

Other data include financial ratios, number of firms, payroll, industry definition, 5-year historical trends on industry sales, establishments and employment, a breakdown of establishments, sales and employment by employee size of establishment (9 categories), and estimates on up to 10 sub-industries, including motor boats, jet skis, kayaks, canoes, and sailboats. Barnes Reports’ Industry Market reports are an essential part of any GAP analysis, benchmarking project, SWOT analysis, business plan, risk analysis, or growth-share matrix.

Industry Definition and Related Industries

NAICS 441222: Boat Dealers Industry

This U.S. industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in (1) retailing new and/or used boats or retailing new boats in combination with activities, such as repair services and selling replacement parts and accessories, and/or (2) retailing new and/or used outboard motors, boat trailers, marine supplies, parts, and accessories.

U.S. Census Categories

NAICS 441222- Boat Dealers Industry is comparable to: 100% of SIC 5551 – Boat Dealers

Sub-Industries

– Boat dealers

– Motor boat dealers

– Inboard boats

– Inboard outdrive boats

– Jet skis Outboard boats

– Canoe and kayak dealers

– Canoes

– Inflatable boats

– Kayaks

– Sailboats and equipment

– Sailboats, auxiliary (powered)

– Sailboats, unpowered

– Sails and equipment

– Marine supplies and equipment

– Marine supplies, nec

– Outboard motors

For more information visit Research and Markets

About Research and Markets

Research and Markets is the world’s leading source for international market research reports and market data. We provide you with the latest data on international and regional markets, key industries, the top companies, new products and the latest trends.

 
    CONTACT: Research and Markets 

Laura Wood, Senior Manager

press@researchandmarkets.com

U.S. Fax: 646-607-1907

Fax (outside U.S.): +353-1-481-1716

Sector: Maritime

 
    SOURCE: Research and Markets 
Copyright Business Wire 2013 
 


Similar news:

Land Rover Confirmed as One of Two Series Main Partners to the Extreme Sailing Series

LONDON, April 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –

  • Land Rover announces three year sponsorship as a Series Main Partner of the Extreme Sailing SeriesTM, one of the world’s most premium and spectacular global sailing competitions
  • A natural fit: Land Rover’s all-terrain vehicles and the Extreme 40 Catamarans can take on the challenges of their environment and deliver class leading performance
  • The Land Rover Extreme 40 catamaran will be christened at the next  ‘Act’ in Qingdao, China, on 2nd May

Land Rover has become one of two Series Main Partners in the Extreme Sailing SeriesTM. Its three-year global sponsorship of one of the world’s most exciting sailing competitions was announced today in Qingdao, China, where the third Act takes place.

The Extreme Sailing Series – endorsed by the International Sailing Federation – is contested by a fleet of Extreme 40 catamarans that have exceptional speed and agility. These beautiful boats share many fundamental principles with Land Rover’s philosophy; both are engineered using the most advanced design and technological innovation and both deliver peak performance. 

The Series is contested at eight events – Acts – which take place in exciting iconic venues and city harbour locations around the world. Thanks to the stadium-style nature of the venues, spectators are just metres away from the action and enjoy the full spectacle of the races, which are short sharp battles lasting between 10-20 minutes. Each Act takes place over four days and can include match racing, fleet racing, straight line duels and speed trials to give audiences a full programme of action.

The eight teams taking part feature some of the world’s most accomplished and decorated sailors, including Olympic medalists, World and European Champions, more than 30 America’s Cup sailors and seven world circumnavigators.

Mark Cameron, Global Brand Experience Director said: “The Extreme Sailing Series is a natural fit for Land Rover and provides a perfect platform to showcase our shared core values. The boats, like Land Rover vehicles, have design and technological innovations at their core. The men and women competing are experts in their field, fearless and always in complete control.

“Land Rover is utterly at home in all terrains and conditions on land and an Extreme 40 catamaran is equally at home on the waters in which they sail. Both can take on the unique challenges of their surroundings and deliver top performance.”

Mark Turner, Executive Chairman of OC Sport, organiser of the Extreme Sailing Series, said: “We are proud that such an iconic brand as Land Rover is committing to the Extreme Sailing Series. This announcement comes at the start of the circuit’s third full global tour and underpins our decision to go ‘global’ in 2011. 

“Having completed an excellent Act 2 in the iconic city of Singapore, we have no doubt of our strategy being the right one. Land Rover’s commitment, alongside the support of our other sponsors, like our technical partner SAP, demonstrates the commercial appeal of the circuit and shows that we can deliver a great return on investment back to our partners at both team and event level.”

Mark Turner continued: “We are confident that with Land Rover’s involvement we can build on the successes of this Series as we continue to innovate, reaching out to new audiences, and visiting new territories.”

At the third Act in Qingdao – the Beijing Olympics’ sailing venue – Land Rover’s own boat will make its debut as the perfect viewing platform to experience this thrilling sport, allowing guests including Land Rover customers, to get in and amongst the action.  

  • Since 1948 Land Rover has been manufacturing authentic 4x4s that represent true breadth of capability across the model range. Defender, Freelander, Discovery, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover and Range Rover Evoque each define the world’s 4×4 sectors. Land Rover products are currently sold in 178 global markets.
  • Further information with supporting images to follow on 2nd May from the press conference and boat christening.
  • Further Extreme Sailing Acts 2013:
    Act 3: Qingdao, China 2-5 May
    Act 4: Istanbul, Turkey 20-23 June
    Act 5: Porto, Portugal 25-28 July
    Act 6: Cardiff, Wales 23-26 August (Media day 22 August)
    Act 7: Nice, France 3-6 Oct
    Act 8: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 14-17 Nov (Media day 13 November)


Similar news:

On NC state sales tax, a special deal for some

Second of three parts

In the thick of the Great Recession four years ago, state lawmakers fought into the evening over a proposed one-penny increase in the state’s sales tax to prevent further cuts to schools, courts and health care services.

House Minority Leader Paul “Skip” Stam grabbed the microphone and told his colleagues the increase amounted to a 20 percent hike in the sales tax, which would go from 4.75 to 5.75 percent. It was regressive, hitting working families much harder than the wealthy. The Apex Republican said it was the kind of tax increase that Democrats said they despise.

“Every year they argue about it and how terrible it is,” Stam said, “and every year they ask us to vote for it.”

The tax increase passed, bringing in nearly $2 billion during the next two years and drawing complaints from the affected groups.

But other groups were silent, some of them representing significant special interests. That’s because over the years, those groups have won breaks that allow them to pay no tax, or a lesser rate.

Manufacturers, for example, pay a 1 percent tax on equipment purchases that is capped at $80. Utilities can sell to businesses and residences at a reduced rate of 3 percent. Many charitable nonprofits, including hospitals, pay little or no sales tax.

Loggers, computer software makers, NASCAR racing teams and some air carriers avoid at least some of the sales tax on some of their purchases. Newspapers and broadcasters escape sales taxes on some of their purchases.

All told, the 102 sales tax breaks on the books in North Carolina cost the state an estimated $3.1 billion each year in lost revenue, more than enough to run the state’s prisons and courts for a year, according to the most recent Department of Revenue review. Seven of those loopholes, pushed by Democrats and Republicans, have been added since 2007, and those alone cost $9.8 million last year, the department estimates.

The 2009 sales tax increase that Stam opposed was costly both to those it taxed and to the state treasury because of those it didn’t. If the state had collected the extra penny on each dollar from those who have won sales tax loopholes, it could have brought in an additional $1 billion over two years.

Once again this year, the sales tax is at the center of the legislative debate on taxes and spending. Proposals include taxing some services and eliminating some tax loopholes in order to reduce income tax rates. The favored status of businesses that sell to other businesses, however, could be expanded.

The state’s sales tax of 4.75 percent has become a hodgepodge, as the construction business shows. Buy stone mined from North Carolina? Pay no state sales tax. Rent a backhoe? Pay the full tax. Materials to erect a building for a business are subject to the sales tax, but they are exempt if they are used for a building owned by a nonprofit, such as a church or hospital.

“I assume all it is, is, who was politically strong at a certain point of time and had enough clout to get the sales tax taken out of their products,” said Sam Hunter, president and CEO of general contractor T.A. Loving. “And it was probably all justified because it was good for the economic climate at the time.”

State Sen. Dan Clodfelter, a Charlotte Democrat who led a failed effort to revamp the tax code four years ago, is trying again this year. He said raising the sales tax “has become the path of least resistance” in the legislature.

“And the General Assembly’s fiscal staff will tell you that each time we do it, we’re raising it on a shrinking base, and we’re getting less and less revenue as we move forward,” Clodfelter said.

The growing list of exemptions makes the sales tax more vulnerable to economic downturns. It contributes to a tax policy that long ago stopped reflecting North Carolina’s economy, which has been shifting away from the production of goods that are taxed, and toward more services such as landscaping, personal shopping, spa treatments and legal fees that mostly escape taxation.

Experts say the state’s economy has flipped from two-thirds goods and one-third services to one-third goods and two-thirds services.

Sen. Bob Rucho, a Mecklenburg County Republican who chairs the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, says this is the year for major tax reform. Rucho has discussed a plan to eliminate the corporate and individual income taxes in favor of a sales tax that includes more services.

But Rucho has his own exemptions in mind. He says that business-to-business purchases should not be taxed.

Help for farmers

One of North Carolina’s first sales tax exemptions was for the purchase of horses and mules.

That exemption is still on the books, along with more than 10 others that benefit farmers and agribusinesses. Today, they have sales tax breaks that include exemptions on feeds, building materials for barns, and pesticides for crops.

The agriculture tax breaks show how quickly tax breaks can get on the books and how little scrutiny they receive afterward.

In 1978, with little fuss, state lawmakers amended a sales tax exemption for farmers to extend it to agricultural medications. At the time, there was a dispute within the state Department of Revenue about whether such items were exempt under current law.

“This would affect revenue very little, if any,” the appropriations committee minutes state.

Back then, it probably didn’t have much effect on state revenues. But today, it costs roughly $4 million a year.

As lawmakers were adding the tax break to the books, the state’s farm economy was just beginning to evolve from small family farms that primarily produced cotton and tobacco to tightly controlled “contract” farms that raise hundreds of millions of chickens and millions of hogs for meat. The processing companies pay no sales tax when they purchase feed, medicines and veterinary care, which they give to farmers at no cost.

Another tax break helped fuel the growth in contract swine and poultry farming. In 1986, state lawmakers passed sales tax exemptions on hog and poultry housing, and extended the exemption to related equipment in 1987. One of those seeking the legislation, The News Observer reported in 1995, was state Sen. Wendell Murphy, a Duplin County Democrat who then was one of the nation’s biggest hog producers.

A powerful colleague, Democratic state Sen. Harold W. “Bull” Hardison of Kinston, sponsored or co-sponsored the legislation. In 1988, Murphy gave Hardison a $100,000 contribution for his unsuccessful campaign for lieutenant governor. Marvin Johnson, president of House of Raeford Farms, then a top turkey producer, also gave Hardison’s campaign $100,000.

Both contributions were well above the $4,000 maximum for a primary election, but no charges were filed because the contributions weren’t discovered until after a two-year statute of limitations had expired.

That tax break on housing materials cost the state an estimated $7 million in revenue last year, according to the Department of Revenue.

‘Everybody eats’

This growing segment of the ag business caused an explosion in livestock and poultry, while the number of farms dropped. It has also raised public health, environmental and animal welfare concerns because of the volume of animal waste generated and the use of antibiotics to prevent animals in close confinement from catching and spreading disease.

This transformation produced agribusinesses that now generate more than $6 billion in annual revenues and 42,000 jobs, not including spinoff activity. But much of the infrastructure that fueled its rise is exempt from the sales tax, and that revenue loss has grown dramatically, too.

In 1976, the Revenue Department estimated the farm tax break without the medications cost the state $8.2 million. That tax break, which continues to include feeds and litter along with medications, cost an estimated $140 million in 2011. More than 90 percent of that comes from the exemption on feeds, which are the largest expense for livestock or poultry production.

The tax breaks also help farmers who shun factory farm methods.

At Fickle Creek Farm in Orange County, Noah Ranells and Ben Bergmann raise free-range pigs and chickens in open pastures and avoid the use of antibiotics and hormones.

“Feed is a big, big expense for us,” Ranells said.

State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said these are good tax breaks that help keep down the cost of pork, chicken, peanuts and other farm goods for consumers, while helping farmers whose profit margins are often slim. He fights for the exemptions if there’s talk among lawmakers to take them away.

“There’s one thing I want to remind you and everybody else,” said Troxler, a Guilford County Republican. “Everybody eats. Good government helps provide good food at a price everyone can afford.”

But Troxler and the farm lobby have largely stayed out of the debate when lawmakers passed general sales tax increases.

“When you start talking about general sales tax, that’s not a part of my job,” Troxler said.

Working on a plan

This year, as a Republican-controlled state government talks about tax reform, Rucho is pushing a plan that would raise the sales tax, eliminate some sales tax breaks and add a business license fee. He hopes that the structural overhaul would boost the economy by eliminating corporate income taxes that typically get passed on to the consumer.

“In a consumption-based tax, every time a product is bought or sold, it creates business income, it creates gross domestic product activity, and it creates jobs,” Rucho said.

A retired dentist originally from Worcester, Mass., Rucho moved to Charlotte in 1977. He began his seventh term in the Senate this year. He has a reputation as a feisty debater, and has long cast a hard eye at tax increases and increased government regulation.

His tax plan is meeting with resistance, even among Republicans. It has not been embraced by House Speaker Thom Tillis or Gov. Pat McCrory, who talk in less-specific terms about lowering the corporate and income tax rates while keeping them on the books.

Democrats say Rucho’s plan, which closely resembles one previously backed by the free-market think tank Civitas, would shift more of the tax burden to lower-income people who pay little in income taxes but spend a higher percentage of their income on goods and services.

But Democrats were in charge when they raised the sales tax three times since 2001, because it was an easier way to generate more income. The dozens of sales tax exemptions for special interests continued to grow; few were weeded out.

‘Soft spot’ for chiropractors

Sometimes the way tax breaks get on the books illustrates the clout of special interests who have the resources to influence lawmakers.

In 1996, chiropractors bundled contributions to provide roughly $10,000 each to four lawmakers: Senate leader Marc Basnight, a Manteo Democrat who retired in 2011; House Speaker Harold Brubaker, an Asheboro Republican who left the House last year and began lobbying this year; and state Sens. Fountain Odom, a Charlotte Democrat and chief budget writer, and Marc McDaniel, a Greensboro Republican. Democracy North Carolina, a nonpartisan campaign-finance watchdog, found the contributions.

The next session, Odom sponsored a bill that allows chiropractors to sell nutritional supplements without having to charge the sales tax. Today, the tax break costs the state roughly $400,000 a year. Two years ago, state senators tried to eliminate it along with a handful of other tax breaks, but ran into resistance and gave up.

Odom, a lawyer who left the legislature in 2002, said he did not recall the legislation. But he said he never pushed legislation in exchange for political contributions. He said he has a “soft spot” for chiropractors because they helped his father, who suffered from a bad back.

Joe Siragusa, a retired chiropractor and executive director of the chiropractors’ state association, said the tax break is on vitamins and other supplements that chiropractors sell without a prescription.

“Our position is it’s part of the treatment plan, part of the service that you are getting from the doctor’s office, and it shouldn’t be taxed,” he said. “So you can look at that statute like it’s a tax break, or you could look at it like it’s bringing equality to the way supplements are treated.”

Those same supplements are sold in health stores, but purchasers would have to pay the sales tax.

A break on jet fuel

Lawmakers could simplify the tax code by exempting from tax all items purchased to produce any good or service. Tax experts from across the political spectrum support this because the tax on such “business inputs” usually just gets passed on to the consumer.

“In a theoretical world, everything a business buys should be exempt, and everything a person buys should not,” said Mark Robyn, an economist with the Tax Foundation, a national free-market group.

Rucho said his plan includes that provision, which would keep many sales tax breaks on the books, such as a refund of sales taxes on aviation fuel that professional racing teams buy to fly to events. Annual savings to the racing teams: $150,000.

He would target for elimination the exemptions on sales to consumers. That would mean potentially cutting about two dozen sales tax breaks from the books, including two of the largest: the exemption on prescription drugs and insulin that cost the state $465 million in 2012, and the exemption on food sales for home consumption that saves consumers an estimated $622 million.

Those are tax breaks that help everyone, but Meg Wiehe, state tax policy director for the Institute on Taxation and Economy Policy, and other advocates for low-income families say abolishing them will hurt the poor disproportionately. They say if lawmakers were to go that route, one way to protect the working poor would be to increase what’s known as the Earned Income Tax Credit, which can reduce or eliminate someone’s income and sales tax liability.

That credit, however, has already been allowed to expire by the legislature this year. McCrory signed the bill.

Cap on yacht taxes

Rucho’s plan could raise more taxes from the sale of planes, boats and vehicles. They now pay no more than 3 percent sales tax, and planes and boats are capped at $1,500 per item. That means someone who buys a $100,000 boat pays the same tax as someone who purchases one at half the price.

It’s an annual break that costs the state $10 million, but one that is promoted by yacht dealers. Last year, Beaufort Yacht Sales in Beaufort advertised a 47-foot Caliber long-range cruiser for $628,000, and pointed out the maximum tax would be $1,500. Without the cap, at 3 percent the tax would be close to $19,000. If taxed at the regular state rate of 4.75 percent, it would be nearly $30,000.

The boating business also spends to influence lawmakers. In 2003, Fountain Powerboats in Washington, N.C., helped underwrite a weekend of meals, lodging and boat rides for House freshmen lawmakers, and in recent years the company had hired a husband-and-wife team to lobby lawmakers. It has since closed.

Sonny White, a broker for Beaufort Yacht Sales, said the $1,500 cap helps keep the boating business in North Carolina competitive. The state is home to nearly 60 boat builders, according to a boating business website. Florida’s tax, for example, is 6 percent and is capped at $18,000. South Carolina’s is capped at $300.

White said the boat business is a significant employer, including the roughly 25 people it takes to build each yacht, sellers such as himself, dock employees who lower it into the water and surveyors who check its specifications. “You have a lot of people who work in this business, and they pay a lot of personal income taxes,” White said.

Yacht owners in North Carolina also pay personal property taxes on the boats in their home counties, he said, just as car owners do.

But perhaps the biggest reason to keep the tax break in place, he said, is raising it wouldn’t bring in much more money anyway.

“If someone’s rich enough to buy a boat, they don’t have to do it here,” he said. “They can jet to Europe.” Staff writer Joseph Neff contributed.


Similar news:

Sir Keith Mills prepares to invest 'millions' in sailing

But having invested millions in hiring a team of sailors, including Ben
Ainslie and Iain Percy, and building a new TP52 for training, he pulled the
plug when it became clear there was no chance of their campaign being
competitive against defenders Oracle.

Mills thinks he has spotted a ‘hard nosed’ business opportunity in sailing and
is now formulating two 18 month cycles for the IMOCA 60 boats with one
focussing on two handed racing culminating in the Barcelona World Race and
the other on solo racing with the Vendee Globe the climax of the cycle.

“The object of the new programme is to take IMOCA racing to parts of the world
that have not seen it,” said Mills, a Tottenham Hotspur director.

“The teams and sponsors and media will have a calendar of events they can work
with over next four years and take the sport to different parts of the world
and attract teams we need to make it succeed.

“I have invested very little money to date but it will take some millions of
euros for us to expand the sport. How many millions is still to be
determined but it will be several. It will require investment in technology,
events and teams and the scale is all dependent on the plan we are putting
in over the next few months.”

Key to OSM’s plans is the need to bring the heroic but often heart rending
stories from the skippers to a much wider global audience which will take
considerable investment.

“We have to bring the stories to life,” said Mills.

“One of the challenges is capturing the stories as they happen. We have had
some early talks about systems on boats that capture the drama when it
happens.

“If a boat broaches at the moment, the report might come in some hours later
when a skipper has time but we would like to capture the story as it
happens. The technology exists to make that possible but it requires
investment. It would change the dynamics pretty dramatically.”

Mills has already set up offices in Lausanne and now plans to build the
circuit and make money, a move that has inevitably been welcomed by the
British sailing community which has struggled to raise sponsorship funds for
an event seen largely as a French preserve.

“It is very positive for the class and exactly the direction we have always
wanted it to move in,” said Mike Golding who completed his third Vendee
earlier this year after 88 days at sea in his boat Gamesa.


Similar news:

Boat sales cool as spring fails to warm up – Trade Only Today

Boat sales cool as spring fails to warm up


Posted on 29 April 2013


Share

An unseasonably cool spring in the northern United States is being blamed for lagging boat sales.

During conference calls with analysts last week, Brunswick CEO Dustan McCoy and MarineMax CEO Bill McGill each cited unseasonably cool weather for a dip in quarterly sales compared to last year, which brought a warmer-than-usual spring to much of the country.

“Although we’re always reluctant to cite weather as a factor, we believe warmer-than-normal temperatures that occurred in the first quarter of 2012, combined with colder-than-normal conditions in this year’s first quarter for the eastern two-thirds of the United States, contributed to the declines experienced thus far,” McCoy told analysts last week. “In other words, we believe that retail sales occurred earlier last year, and this year they remain potentially deferred to later months.”

McGill told analysts that chilly weather “gave rise to truly bifurcated results in our sales and even more significantly to our earnings.”

“Like all of our teams around the country, our teams in the Northeast and Midwest work very hard to create excitement for boating during the quarter, but normal spring weather has not come on time, and as a result our normal spring launch is definitely behind previous years in those regions,” McGill said.

The persistence of cold, blustery weather in the Midwest and northern regions of the country — on top of the lingering effects of Superstorm Sandy — depressed sales and margins during the March quarter, McGill said.

“For us, weather is not an excuse, it’s an unfortunate reality,” he said.

Wayzata Marine owner David Briggs told KSTP, an ABC News affiliate in Minnesota, that ice on Lake Minnetonka has deterred sales.

“Right now we are still waiting for the boats to go out on the lakes and that’s challenging to our customers and to us,” Briggs told the station.

The governor’s fishing opener is in May and organizers in Park Rapids, Minn., say the show will go on despite about 30 inches of snow on area lakes.

Climate scientists say melting Arctic sea ice is the driving force behind the Northern Hemisphere’s unseasonably cold spring, according to a report last month in National Geographic News. Recent imaging from the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center showed a historic minimum in Arctic ice cover last fall.

March 2013 was the coolest since 2002 in the continental United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Eleven states in the Ohio Valley, along the Gulf Coast and in the Southeast had March temperatures that were among their 10 coolest. In fact, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina had March temperatures that were cooler than January, NOAA reported.

— Reagan Haynes

Add your comment

Your name:

Required, screen names acceptable

Your email:

Required, will not be published

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments Policy.:

 

Word verification:


<!–

If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact us.

–>


Similar news:

Land Rover sponsors Extreme Sailing Series in three-year deal

The tradition of chief executives making sponsorship decisions in sailing
because they enjoyed sailing had not featured in this instance, Turner
added.

“As far as we are aware, there are no sailors in Land Rover so it has been a
business based relationship which is a much better way of doing it.”

The Extreme Sailing Series was launched in 2007 and investment group Ishares
were signed up as sponsors shortly after, taking up an offer of naming
rights but since the deal ended in 2010 following a restructuring of the
company, the series has grown without a title sponsor.

It is the hottest property in the sport, especially with the decline of the
America’s Cup, with a strict adherence to the idea of ‘easy-to-follow’ and
entertaining. The Extreme 40 two-hulled boats are high speed machines that
race on small circuits close to the shore where crowds follow the action and
commentary from grandstands.

Growing footfalls across all the venues combined with increased television
exposure and a sound business model based on venue hosting revenues has
given Turner a solid product to market around the globe, with Land Rover the
first to take advantage.

Mark Cameron, Land Rover’s Global Brand Experience Director said: “We
identified the sport of sailing as an interesting target for us, and looked
for the right property. The urban nature of the circuit, combined with these
nonetheless off-road sailing machines, is a great fit.”

It is a relationship that Turner is hoping to develop beyond the current
terms.

“Land Rover are one of the series’ two main partners with strong visibility
and a big hospitality presence at every event,” he explained.

“They are an event partner so as yet do not have a racing team though will get
a branded Extreme 40 to maximise the experiential opportunity.

“They will have an influence on the feel of the event and where we go with
it,” said Turner who is looking at adding Russia and the USA to venue
possibilities.

Land Rover were one time sponsors of Cowes Week back in 1990 but have not
since been major backers of the sport with rugby, skiing and equestrian
events their main priorities.


Similar news:

Boat sales could indicate NH economy’s buoyancy

Anyone searching for a sign that the economy is back on track may want to head to the waterfront.

New Hampshire boat sales are up for the third year in a row, and economists see the trend as a signal that the recovery is finally settling. Local boat dealers believe the uptick is also linked to a lifestyle shift that could continue to fuel industry growth for years to come.

“Sales have been trending higher each year,” said Pete McCallum of McCallum’s Boathouse in Epsom.

McCallum’s grandfather launched the family boat business on the western tip of Lake Northwood in the 1950s. When McCallum was born, his father set up a crib in the shop, and he’s been in the boat business ever since.

“For us, 2011 was OK, 2012 was better and we expect modest but appreciable growth for 2013,” McCallum said.

Like other dealers, he said boat sales have been driven by an increase in available credit.

“People have been tied up for the last four or five years,” he said. “But now, banks have relaxed their lending and they are eager to find customers again. And interest rates are favorable.”

Some lenders offer three-year loans for new boats at about 2.5 percent, and four-year loans for used boats at 4.5 percent.

Nationally, the recreational boating industry saw powerboat sales jump 10 percent in 2012. The National Marine Manufacturers Association is predicting another 5 to 10 percent bump this year.

Although the numbers are encouraging, the industry still has a long haul to regain ground lost during the recession when, according to the NMMA, powerboat sales dropped 48 percent.

Still, there are signs that recreational boaters are positioning themselves for a rebound.

During the bleakest stretch of the recession, marine mechanic Chris Sandell, owner of Nashua Marine, said his shop stayed busy.

“What I saw was a lot of people in construction who were laid off,” recalled Sandell. “Those guys were out of work, so what are they going to do? They’re going to go fishing.”

Sandell said people dipped into retirement accounts and scraped together enough money to fix up their older boats. Now that some of those people have their finances in order, they’re looking to upgrade.

They’re trading in their old boats for newer models and stoking a hot used boat market that puts boat ownership in reach of a lot of potential new boaters – if they can get to the dealerships in time.

“For every new boat we sell, we sell a used boat,” said McCallum, adding that the turnaround time for used boats is about three days. “Pre-owned has an appeal in New Hampshire. People are interested in good, used boats.”

“The used boat market is very strong,” Sandell said, with prices low enough so that people who don’t qualify for loans can still buy boats.

“But used boats sell fast,” he said. “Even used trailers are crazy hard to find.”

In 2008, there were 96,205 recreational boats registered in New Hampshire. Last year there were about 93,400 registered boats, up about 1,000 from 2011.

According to the New Hampshire Rivers Council, boats and water activities generate about 800 jobs. It’s difficult to count the number of local businesses that benefit from out-of-state visitors who come to spend time at the state’s more than 1,000 lakes.

“We employ a lot of people,” said McCallum who added that state officials have acknowledged the industry’s contribution to the state economy by providing hundreds of public launches and facilities for boaters.

“The state understands the importance of those recreational dollars,” he said.


Similar news:

On NC state sales tax, a special deal for some

Second of three parts

In the thick of the Great Recession four years ago, state lawmakers fought into the evening over a proposed one-penny increase in the state’s sales tax to prevent further cuts to schools, courts and health care services.

House Minority Leader Paul “Skip” Stam grabbed the microphone and told his colleagues the increase amounted to a 20 percent hike in the sales tax, which would go from 4.75 to 5.75 percent. It was regressive, hitting working families much harder than the wealthy. The Apex Republican said it was the kind of tax increase that Democrats said they despise.

“Every year they argue about it and how terrible it is,” Stam said, “and every year they ask us to vote for it.”

The tax increase passed, bringing in nearly $2 billion during the next two years and drawing complaints from the affected groups.

But other groups were silent, some of them representing significant special interests. That’s because over the years, those groups have won breaks that allow them to pay no tax, or a lesser rate.

Manufacturers, for example, pay a 1 percent tax on equipment purchases that is capped at $80. Utilities can sell to businesses and residences at a reduced rate of 3 percent. Many charitable nonprofits, including hospitals, pay little or no sales tax.

Loggers, computer software makers, NASCAR racing teams and some air carriers avoid at least some of the sales tax on some of their purchases. Newspapers and broadcasters escape sales taxes on some of their purchases.

All told, the 102 sales tax breaks on the books in North Carolina cost the state an estimated $3.1 billion each year in lost revenue, more than enough to run the state’s prisons and courts for a year, according to the most recent Department of Revenue review. Seven of those loopholes, pushed by Democrats and Republicans, have been added since 2007, and those alone cost $9.8 million last year, the department estimates.

The 2009 sales tax increase that Stam opposed was costly both to those it taxed and to the state treasury because of those it didn’t. If the state had collected the extra penny on each dollar from those who have won sales tax loopholes, it could have brought in an additional $1 billion over two years.

Once again this year, the sales tax is at the center of the legislative debate on taxes and spending. Proposals include taxing some services and eliminating some tax loopholes in order to reduce income tax rates. The favored status of businesses that sell to other businesses, however, could be expanded.

The state’s sales tax of 4.75 percent has become a hodgepodge, as the construction business shows. Buy stone mined from North Carolina? Pay no state sales tax. Rent a backhoe? Pay the full tax. Materials to erect a building for a business are subject to the sales tax, but they are exempt if they are used for a building owned by a nonprofit, such as a church or hospital.

“I assume all it is, is, who was politically strong at a certain point of time and had enough clout to get the sales tax taken out of their products,” said Sam Hunter, president and CEO of general contractor T.A. Loving. “And it was probably all justified because it was good for the economic climate at the time.”

State Sen. Dan Clodfelter, a Charlotte Democrat who led a failed effort to revamp the tax code four years ago, is trying again this year. He said raising the sales tax “has become the path of least resistance” in the legislature.

“And the General Assembly’s fiscal staff will tell you that each time we do it, we’re raising it on a shrinking base, and we’re getting less and less revenue as we move forward,” Clodfelter said.

The growing list of exemptions makes the sales tax more vulnerable to economic downturns. It contributes to a tax policy that long ago stopped reflecting North Carolina’s economy, which has been shifting away from the production of goods that are taxed, and toward more services such as landscaping, personal shopping, spa treatments and legal fees that mostly escape taxation.

Experts say the state’s economy has flipped from two-thirds goods and one-third services to one-third goods and two-thirds services.

Sen. Bob Rucho, a Mecklenburg County Republican who chairs the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, says this is the year for major tax reform. Rucho has discussed a plan to eliminate the corporate and individual income taxes in favor of a sales tax that includes more services.

But Rucho has his own exemptions in mind. He says that business-to-business purchases should not be taxed.

Help for farmers

One of North Carolina’s first sales tax exemptions was for the purchase of horses and mules.

That exemption is still on the books, along with more than 10 others that benefit farmers and agribusinesses. Today, they have sales tax breaks that include exemptions on feeds, building materials for barns, and pesticides for crops.

The agriculture tax breaks show how quickly tax breaks can get on the books and how little scrutiny they receive afterward.

In 1978, with little fuss, state lawmakers amended a sales tax exemption for farmers to extend it to agricultural medications. At the time, there was a dispute within the state Department of Revenue about whether such items were exempt under current law.

“This would affect revenue very little, if any,” the appropriations committee minutes state.

Back then, it probably didn’t have much effect on state revenues. But today, it costs roughly $4 million a year.

As lawmakers were adding the tax break to the books, the state’s farm economy was just beginning to evolve from small family farms that primarily produced cotton and tobacco to tightly controlled “contract” farms that raise hundreds of millions of chickens and millions of hogs for meat. The processing companies pay no sales tax when they purchase feed, medicines and veterinary care, which they give to farmers at no cost.

Another tax break helped fuel the growth in contract swine and poultry farming. In 1986, state lawmakers passed sales tax exemptions on hog and poultry housing, and extended the exemption to related equipment in 1987. One of those seeking the legislation, The News Observer reported in 1995, was state Sen. Wendell Murphy, a Duplin County Democrat who then was one of the nation’s biggest hog producers.

A powerful colleague, Democratic state Sen. Harold W. “Bull” Hardison of Kinston, sponsored or co-sponsored the legislation. In 1988, Murphy gave Hardison a $100,000 contribution for his unsuccessful campaign for lieutenant governor. Marvin Johnson, president of House of Raeford Farms, then a top turkey producer, also gave Hardison’s campaign $100,000.

Both contributions were well above the $4,000 maximum for a primary election, but no charges were filed because the contributions weren’t discovered until after a two-year statute of limitations had expired.

That tax break on housing materials cost the state an estimated $7 million in revenue last year, according to the Department of Revenue.

‘Everybody eats’

This growing segment of the ag business caused an explosion in livestock and poultry, while the number of farms dropped. It has also raised public health, environmental and animal welfare concerns because of the volume of animal waste generated and the use of antibiotics to prevent animals in close confinement from catching and spreading disease.

This transformation produced agribusinesses that now generate more than $6 billion in annual revenues and 42,000 jobs, not including spinoff activity. But much of the infrastructure that fueled its rise is exempt from the sales tax, and that revenue loss has grown dramatically, too.

In 1976, the Revenue Department estimated the farm tax break without the medications cost the state $8.2 million. That tax break, which continues to include feeds and litter along with medications, cost an estimated $140 million in 2011. More than 90 percent of that comes from the exemption on feeds, which are the largest expense for livestock or poultry production.

The tax breaks also help farmers who shun factory farm methods.

At Fickle Creek Farm in Orange County, Noah Ranells and Ben Bergmann raise free-range pigs and chickens in open pastures and avoid the use of antibiotics and hormones.

“Feed is a big, big expense for us,” Ranells said.

State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said these are good tax breaks that help keep down the cost of pork, chicken, peanuts and other farm goods for consumers, while helping farmers whose profit margins are often slim. He fights for the exemptions if there’s talk among lawmakers to take them away.

“There’s one thing I want to remind you and everybody else,” said Troxler, a Guilford County Republican. “Everybody eats. Good government helps provide good food at a price everyone can afford.”

But Troxler and the farm lobby have largely stayed out of the debate when lawmakers passed general sales tax increases.

“When you start talking about general sales tax, that’s not a part of my job,” Troxler said.

Working on a plan

This year, as a Republican-controlled state government talks about tax reform, Rucho is pushing a plan that would eliminate some sales tax breaks and add a business license fee. He hopes that the structural overhaul would boost the economy by eliminating corporate income taxes that typically get passed on to the consumer.

“In a consumption-based tax, every time a product is bought or sold, it creates business income, it creates gross domestic product activity, and it creates jobs,” Rucho said.

A retired dentist originally from Worcester, Mass., Rucho moved to Charlotte in 1977. He began his seventh term in the Senate this year. He has a reputation as a feisty debater, and has long cast a hard eye at tax increases and increased government regulation.

His tax plan is meeting with resistance, even among Republicans. It has not been embraced by House Speaker Thom Tillis or Gov. Pat McCrory, who talk in less-specific terms about lowering the corporate and income tax rates while keeping them on the books.

Democrats say Rucho’s plan, which closely resembles one previously floated by the free-market think tank Civitas, would shift more of the tax burden to lower-income people who pay little in income taxes but spend a higher percentage of their income on goods and services.

But Democrats were in charge when they raised the sales tax three times since 2001, because it was an easier way to generate more income. The dozens of sales tax exemptions for special interests continued to grow; few were weeded out.

‘Soft spot’ for chiropractors

Sometimes the way tax breaks get on the books illustrates the clout of special interests who have the resources to influence lawmakers.

In 1996, chiropractors bundled contributions to provide roughly $10,000 each to four lawmakers: Senate leader Marc Basnight, a Manteo Democrat who retired in 2011; House Speaker Harold Brubaker, an Asheboro Republican who left the House last year and began lobbying this year; and state Sens. Fountain Odom, a Charlotte Democrat and chief budget writer, and Marc McDaniel, a Greensboro Republican. Democracy North Carolina, a nonpartisan campaign-finance watchdog, found the contributions.

The next session, Odom sponsored a bill that allows chiropractors to sell nutritional supplements without having to charge the sales tax. Today, the tax break costs the state roughly $400,000 a year. Two years ago, state senators tried to eliminate it along with a handful of other tax breaks, but ran into resistance and gave up.

Odom, a lawyer who left the legislature in 2002, said he did not recall the legislation. But he said he never pushed legislation in exchange for political contributions. He said he has a “soft spot” for chiropractors because they helped his father, who suffered from a bad back.

Joe Siragusa, a retired chiropractor and executive director of the chiropractors’ state association, said the tax break is on vitamins and other supplements that chiropractors sell without a prescription.

“Our position is it’s part of the treatment plan, part of the service that you are getting from the doctor’s office, and it shouldn’t be taxed,” he said. “So you can look at that statute like it’s a tax break, or you could look at it like it’s bringing equality to the way supplements are treated.”

Those same supplements are sold in health stores, but purchasers would have to pay the sales tax.

A break on jet fuel

Lawmakers could simplify the tax code by exempting from tax all items purchased to produce any good or service. Tax experts from across the political spectrum support this because the tax on such “business inputs” usually just gets passed on to the consumer.

“In a theoretical world, everything a business buys should be exempt, and everything a person buys should not,” said Mark Robyn, an economist with the Tax Foundation, a national free-market group.

Rucho said his plan includes that provision, which would keep many sales tax breaks on the books, such as a refund of sales taxes on aviation fuel that professional racing teams buy to fly to events. Annual savings to the racing teams: $150,000.

He would target for elimination the exemptions on sales to consumers. That would mean potentially cutting about two dozen sales tax breaks from the books, including two of the largest: the exemption on prescription drugs and insulin that cost the state $465 million in 2012, and the exemption on food sales for home consumption that saves consumers an estimated $622 million.

Those are tax breaks that help everyone, but Meg Wiehe, state tax policy director for the Institute on Taxation and Economy Policy, and other advocates for low-income families say abolishing them will hurt the poor disproportionately. They say if lawmakers were to go that route, one way to protect the working poor would be to increase what’s known as the Earned Income Tax Credit, which can reduce or eliminate someone’s income and sales tax liability.

That credit, however, has already been allowed to expire by the legislature this year. McCrory signed the bill.

Cap on yacht taxes

Rucho’s plan could raise more taxes from the sale of planes, boats and vehicles. They now pay no more than 3 percent sales tax, and planes and boats are capped at $1,500 per item. That means someone who buys a $100,000 boat pays the same tax as someone who purchases one at half the price.

It’s an annual break that costs the state $10 million, but one that is promoted by yacht dealers. Last year, Beaufort Yacht Sales in Beaufort advertised a 47-foot Caliber long-range cruiser for $628,000, and pointed out the maximum tax would be $1,500. Without the cap, at 3 percent the tax would be close to $19,000. If taxed at the regular state rate of 4.75 percent, it would be nearly $30,000.

The boating business also spends to influence lawmakers. In 2003, Fountain Powerboats in Washington, N.C., helped underwrite a weekend of meals, lodging and boat rides for House freshmen lawmakers, and in recent years the company had hired a husband-and-wife team to lobby lawmakers. It has since closed.

Sonny White, a broker for Beaufort Yacht Sales, said the $1,500 cap helps keep the boating business in North Carolina competitive. The state is home to nearly 60 boat builders, according to a boating business website. Florida’s tax, for example, is 6 percent and is capped at $18,000. South Carolina’s is capped at $300.

White said the boat business is a significant employer, including the roughly 25 people it takes to build each yacht, sellers such as himself, dock employees who lower it into the water and surveyors who check its specifications. “You have a lot of people who work in this business, and they pay a lot of personal income taxes,” White said.

Yacht owners in North Carolina also pay personal property taxes on the boats in their home counties, he said, just as car owners do.

But perhaps the biggest reason to keep the tax break in place, he said, is raising it wouldn’t bring in much more money anyway.

“If someone’s rich enough to buy a boat, they don’t have to do it here,” he said. “They can jet to Europe.” Staff writer Joseph Neff contributed.

Kane: 919-829-4861


Similar news:

Gulf Craft puts Asia in Focus with expanded Dealer Footprint

Gulf Craft puts Asia in Focus with expanded Dealer Footprint and Presence in Region’s prestigious Yacht Shows

Global boat and yacht manufacturer builds on its recent “Best Asia Built Yacht” award to widen sales and support network in fast-growing market

Gulf Craft, a global manufacturer of luxury yachts and fiberglass boats, is sharpening its focus and commitment towards the Asian market through a number of sub-dealer appointments in key South East Asian cities and forging ahead with its presence in the region’s most prestigious boat shows, including the China (Shanghai) International Boat Show and the upcoming Singapore Yacht Show.

Close on the heels of grabbing the “Best Asia Built Yacht” award for its Majesty 135 superyacht, and its successful participation in the Hainan Rendez-Vous in China as well as Thailand’s Phuket International Boat Show (PIMEX), Gulf Craft announced the appointment of new representatives in the region. Pangkor Marina Sendirian Berhad (PMSB) is the new Gulf Craft representative in Malaysia for Gulf Craft’s Silvercraft, Oryx and Majesty Yachts brands, and has been appointed as a sub-dealer to Go Boating Thailand, the yacht builder’s dealer in Phuket, Thailand. Two new sub-dealers have also been appointed in China, with Shanghai Bahrfuss Yacht Sales Co. Ltd., the China dealer for Gulf Craft’s Majesty Yachts range, choosing Master Yachts as the brand’s Hong Kong representative and Dalian Bo Shi Tong Yacht Co. Ltd for the northern Chinese city of Dalian.

“The appointments of the new sub-dealers give Gulf Craft an ever-growing pan-Asian presence and come as part of our commitment to strengthening our position in Asia through setting up a sales and technical support network in the vast market the continent offers,” said Erwin Bamps, Chief Operating Officer, Gulf Craft.

“Gulf Craft is no stranger to the Asian markets and our presence in the various yachting centres of the continent dates back to 1992. With the unabated economic growth that Asia has been experiencing, there is an accompanying double digit growth in the Asian yacht market as well. Our presence in Asia has transformed into recognition throughout the continent as a preeminent builder of superyachts, which is evident in the recent accolade that we won at the Asia Boating Awards.”

The recently concluded Asia Boating Awards held on March 29th in Sanya on Hainan Island, China, honoured Gulf Craft with the “Best Asia Built Yacht” for its new Majesty 135 superyacht, already amongst the most sought after within its portfolio.

“We are totally committed to the Asian market and are participating in the China (Shanghai) International Boat Show from April 11 and the subsequent Singapore Yacht Show from April 18, which will bolster our pan-Asian presence,” Bamps added. “Both shows serve as a continuation of our focus on the Asian market and will be meeting points for our clients from the surrounding areas.” 


Similar news: