Archive for » October, 2015 «

Cars for sale at Hingham commuter boat lot? Not really



Posted Oct. 30, 2015 at 3:46 PM
Updated at 4:49 PM



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With boat sales stronger, bargains not as easy this year

Back when the Great Recession hit, people with money could buy a boat for cheap.

Those days are gone.

Much of the glut in the boating market has been sopped up, and prices are set to be firmer this year than last at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, which will begin Thursday, according to brokers and industry leaders.

“People were walking around last year’s show making ridiculously low offers,” said Mel Wolff, who does public relations for numerous marine businesses in South Florida.

So much inventory has been cleared that more builders are making U.S. debuts of new models this year, targeting U.S. boaters buoyed by a strong dollar, growing U.S. economy and wobbly stock market.

Yacht broker Bob Crow said one U.S. buyer recently told him: “I’d rather have this money with you in a boat than riding on a stock that I don’t know what is going to happen to.”

In the runup to the show, boat sales have been stronger this year than last, brokers said.

In the first half of September, Crow said he closed on three deals for new Nor-Tech center-consoles: two 34-footers for around $400,000 each and a 45-footer for $825,000. “And September is typically very, very quiet,” said Crow, managing partner at Nor-Tech dealer South Florida Performance Boats.

At Moran Yacht Ship, which specializes in large yachts, sales and pricing also are up. “We’re definitely getting rates we ask for more than in previous years,” said Sean R. Zamora, a broker in Fort Lauderdale.

Among international builders making U.S. debuts at this year’s show are Italy’s Otam, presenting its 45-foot and 55-foot HT, and Turkey’s Numarine, launching its 70-foot Flybridge.

dhemlock@sunsentinel.com / @dhemlock

The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

When: Nov. 5-9.

Where: Seven sites, centered at the Bahia Mar Yachting Center, 801 Seabreeze Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale.

Cost: $25 online for daily general admission; $27 at the gate ($10 and $12 for children 6-15).

Valet parking: $60 per day, Las Olas Marina, 240 E. Las Olas Circle, Fort Lauderdale

General parking: $7 plus 75-cent service fee, War Memorial Auditorium; $5 at the Riverside Hotel garage.

Information: showmanagement.com/fort_lauderdale/event


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Brunswick sales up 6 percent for quarter

Editor’s note: Look for coverage of the Brunswick Corp. earning call later today.

Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC) today reported results for the third quarter of 2015:

  • Consolidated net sales increased 6 percent versus third quarter 2014; 11 percent growth on a constant currency basis.
  • Adjusted operating earnings increased by 22 percent. On a GAAP basis, operating earnings were up 24 percent.
  • Adjusted pretax earnings increased by 25 percent. On a GAAP basis, pretax earnings were up 26 percent.
  • Diluted EPS of $0.77, a 22 percent increase compared with prior year, on an as adjusted basis, and a 20 percent increase on a GAAP basis.
  • Year-to-date free cash flow of $131 million, an $82 million increase compared with prior year.

“Our reported third quarter revenues increased by 6 percent; 11 percent on a constant currency basis,” said Brunswick Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dustan E. McCoy. “Our top line reflected strong growth rates in fiberglass outboard and sterndrive/inboard boats. This growth also included a solid performance by marine parts and accessories, outboard engines, fitness equipment and aluminum boats.

“Sales growth was driven by solid market demand, higher average marine selling prices and continued market share gains.

“Adjusted operating earnings in the third quarter increased by 22 percent as compared to the prior year, reflecting an adjusted operating margin increase of 160 basis points. Diluted earnings per common share, as adjusted, also increased by 22 percent. This strong earnings growth was also supported by a more favorable product mix, benefits from cost reductions and savings related to sourcing initiatives, partially offset by the unfavorable effects of foreign exchange,” McCoy said.

Discontinued Operations

On Sept. 18, 2014, and May 22, 2015, the Company completed the sale of its Retail Bowling and Bowling Products businesses, respectively. As a result, the historical and future results of these businesses are reported as discontinued operations and the historical and future results of the Billiards business, which remains part of the Company, are now reflected in the Fitness segment. Therefore, for all periods presented in this release, all figures and outlook statements incorporate these changes and reflect continuing operations only, unless otherwise noted.

For the third quarter of 2015, the Company reported net sales of $991.9 million, up from $932.1 million a year earlier. For the quarter, the Company reported operating earnings of $115.8 million, compared to $93.7 million in the prior year. Operating earnings for the third quarter of 2014 included $0.9 million of net restructuring, exit and impairment charges.

Brunswick reported net earnings of $72.2 million, or $0.77 per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $61.0 million, or $0.64 per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2014. The diluted earnings per share for the third quarter of 2014 included $0.01 per diluted share of restructuring, exit and impairment charges and $0.02 per diluted share benefit from special tax items.

Review of Cash Flow and Balance Sheet

Cash and marketable securities totaled $654.4 million at the end of the third quarter, up $18.5 million from year-end 2014 levels. This change versus year-end reflects net cash provided by operating activities of $240.7 million, an increase of $113.3 million versus the prior year. Net proceeds received from the sale of the Bowling Products business (reported in discontinued operations) also contributed to the increase. In addition, cash used for investing and financing activities of $194.6 million affected cash and marketable securities balances. Investing and financing activities during the first nine months included $98.5 million for capital expenditures, $100.0 million for common stock repurchases and $34.6 million for dividends.

Marine Engine Segment

The Marine Engine segment, consisting of the Mercury Marine Group, including the marine parts and accessories businesses, reported net sales of $588.2 million in the third quarter of 2015, up 4 percent from $566.9 million in the third quarter of 2014. International sales, which represented 32 percent of total segment sales in the quarter, were down 5 percent compared to the prior year period. On a constant currency basis, international sales were up 10 percent. For the quarter, the Marine Engine segment reported operating earnings of $102.5 million. This compares with operating earnings of $93.3 million in the third quarter of 2014.

Sales increases in the quarter were led by the segment’s parts and accessories businesses, which included revenues from acquisitions completed in the second quarter of 2015 and during the third quarter of 2014. Higher revenues, a more favorable product mix, cost reductions and savings related to sourcing initiatives contributed to the increase in operating earnings in the third quarter of 2015. Partially offsetting these
positive factors were the unfavorable effects of foreign exchange.

Boat Segment

The Boat segment is comprised of the Brunswick Boat Group, and includes 14 boat brands. The Boat segment reported net sales of $271.3 million for the third quarter of 2015, an increase of 16 percent compared with $234.6 million in the third quarter of 2014. International sales, which represented 21 percent of total segment sales in the quarter, decreased by 16 percent during the period. On a constant currency basis, international sales were down 6 percent. For the third quarter of 2015, the Boat segment reported operating earnings of $6.4 million. This compares with an operating loss of $7.0 million in the third quarter of 2014, including net restructuring charges of $0.9 million.

The Boat segment’s revenue growth reflected a strong increase in units shipped to dealers, as well as higher average selling prices. Operating earnings benefited from higher sales and a more favorable product mix, as well as savings related to sourcing initiatives and cost reductions.

Fitness Segment

The Fitness segment is comprised of the Life Fitness Division, which designs, manufactures and sells strength and cardiovascular fitness equipment and billiards tables. Fitness segment sales in the third quarter of 2015 totaled $197.5 million, up 4 percent from $189.0 million in the third quarter of 2014. International sales, which represented 47 percent of total segment sales in the quarter, decreased by 4 percent.

On a constant currency basis, international sales were up 4 percent. For the quarter, the Fitness segment reported operating earnings of $27.6 million. This compares with operating earnings of $25.8 million in the third quarter of 2014.

The increase in revenue reflected growth in the U.S. at health clubs and local and federal governments. Sales in the quarter included revenues from an acquisition completed in the third quarter of 2015. The increase in operating earnings included benefits from higher sales, cost reductions and savings related to sourcing initiatives, partially offset by an unfavorable impact from foreign exchange.

2015 Outlook

“We continue to target 2015 to be another year of strong earnings growth, with outstanding cash flow generation. Our plan reflects a 7 percent annual sales growth, which includes benefits from the success of our new products and the continuation of solid growth in the U.S. and Europe, partially offset by the negative impact of a stronger U.S. dollar and weakness in certain international markets.

“For the full-year, we anticipate a slight improvement in gross margin levels and solid gains in operating margins, as we plan to continue to benefit from volume leverage, modest positive product mix factors, cost reductions and savings related to sourcing initiatives, partially offset by foreign currency headwinds.

“Our guidance for 2015 reflects adjusted pretax earnings growth of 18 percent to 20 percent, and we are narrowing the range for our expectations of diluted EPS, as adjusted, to $2.80 to $2.85. Finally, for the full-year, we expect free cash flow to exceed $200 million,” McCoy concluded.

See the full earnings report here.

 



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Sales up 24 percent for Chaparral, Robalo parent

Marine Products Corporation,manufacturer of Chaparral and Robalo boats, announced Wednesday its unaudited results for the quarter ended September 30, 2015.

For the quarter ended September 30, 2015, Marine Products generated net sales of $47,038,000, a 24.0 percent increase, compared to $37,932,000 in the same period of the prior year.  The increase in net sales was due to higher unit sales of  Robalo outboard sport fishing boats, as well as higher sales of  Vortex Jet Boats and Chaparral Suncoast outboard boats during the quarter as compared to the prior year, the company said.

Gross profit for the quarter was $9,874,000, or 21.0 percent of net sales, a 41.7 percent increase compared to gross profit of $6,967,000, or 18.4 percent of net sales, in the same period of the prior year.  Gross profit for the third quarter increased compared to the prior year due to higher net sales and an improved gross margin.  Gross margin improved during the quarter compared to the prior year due to a favorable model mix and improved operating efficiencies due to higher production volumes.

Operating profit for the quarter was $4,454,000, an increase of 72.9 percent, compared to $2,576,000 in the third quarter of last year. Selling, general and administrative expenses were $5,420,000 in the third quarter of 2015, an increase of 23.4 percent compared to the third quarter of 2014.  Selling, general and administrative expenses increased due to expenses that vary with sales and profitability, as well as higher advertising expenses.  These increases were partially offset by decreases in warranty expenses, a result of favorable warranty claims experience. As a percentage of net sales, selling, general and administrative expenses were approximately the same during the third quarters of 2015 and 2014.

Net income for the quarter ended September 30, 2015 was $3,103,000, an increase of $1,221,000 or 64.9 percent, compared to net income of $1,882,000 for the third quarter of 2014.  Diluted earnings per share were $0.08 in the third quarter of 2015, an increase of $0.03 compared to the third quarter of the prior year.

Net sales for the nine months ended September 30, 2015 were $157,180,000, an increase of 17.6 percent, compared to the first nine months of 2014.  Net income for the nine-month period was $10,461,000 or $0.28 earnings per diluted share, compared to net income of $6,873,000, or $0.18 earnings per diluted share in the prior year.

“We are pleased to report continued growth in sales of our Robalo outboard sport fishing boats during the third quarter,” said president and CEO Richard A. Hubbell. “In addition, we reported increased sales of our Vortex Jet Boats and Chaparral SunCoast outboards, which are new in 2015.  Our profitability improved due to efficiencies gained from higher unit production. As the retail selling season for 2015 concludes, we are increasingly optimistic about the selling environment for our products.  The market for recreational boating continues to improve, and our dealers are enthusiastic about our 2016 models and are looking ahead to the winter boat show season. Although the international market for recreational boat sales continues to be weak, we note that our domestic sales increased by 32.4 percent during the third quarter of 2015 compared to the prior year. Our dealer inventories are comparable to the end of the second quarter and to this time last year, and our backlog is strong.  For these reasons, we have increased production during the fourth quarter in order to have sufficient current model year inventory to satisfy dealer demand.”

 



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BP Business Economic Loss Claim Appeal 2015-1501: Boat Dealer as Tourism

The following is an Appeal Panel Decision issued pursuant to Section 6 of the BP Deepwater Horizon Economic Property Damages Settlement Agreement and the Rules Governing the BP Appeals Process. Links may have been added to assist the reader. The original decision may be found here, as well as a glossary of BP Settlement terms.


This Claimant is a waterfront boat dealership located in Ft. Myers Beach, Florida (Zone C). It received a pre-RTP compensation amount of $128,842.78. It was also granted a Tourism Industry designation. BP does not challenge the amount of the award; instead, it disputes the Business Industry designation.

BP asserts that Claimant’s business is that of a boat dealer whose NAICS Code is not found on the extensive list of presumptive Tourism Industry businesses found in Settlement Agreement Exhibit 2. Further, while some of Claimant’s customers might travel from their homes outside the state of Florida, they do so “for the purpose of making a purchase, not to go on a vacation or to engage in Tourism.” Further, to the extent that Claimant might sell boats to or provide services for companies that often deal directly with tourists, the Tourism Industry designation may not apply to that activity, citing prior Appeal Panel Decisions rejecting the theory that such a designation can be based on sales to other businesses that actually serve tourists.

In reply, Claimant argues that its business is not only focused on the sale and service of new and pre-owned boats but also commonly handles the sale of boat engines, trailers, boating and fishing accessories, marine electronics, fuel and other retail goods related to boating. It is located in a marina which receives a large volume of out of state visitors and customers. It reports that many of its sales are to “snowbirds”, those individuals whose primary home communities are in the northern states but who travel to southwest Florida during the winter to escape cold weather. When it comes to boating, it submits, many purchase homes locally and store their boats there while many others rent homes and store their boats at marinas.

To further illustrate that its business has mostly tourism based customers, Claimant reports that its dealership is bound by manufacturer-to-dealer agreements in which the manufacturers dictate territories for the sale of new boats. Dealerships are prohibited from making sales of new boats which are intended for use outside the dealer’s local territory, in this case, southwest Florida. Thus, in order to purchase a new boat, the customer must either live in the Ft. Myers area dealer territory or travel to southwest Florida for periodic use of his or her boat. Consequently, Claimant asserts New Boat Sales that do not report a local address represent purchases by customers who live elsewhere and travel into southwest Florida to go boating and fishing. To that end, Claimant supplied the Settlement Program with a comprehensive listing of all its new boat sale transactions which occurred between January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2009. That report indicates, in each year, those sales were divided almost equally between local and non-local customers. As above noted, Claimant states that many of its “snowbirds” own or rent homes within its dealership territory, so the proportion of its sales to tourists might be even greater.

The record reflects that the Claims Administrator assigned the NAICS Code for Boat Dealers, 441222, in analyzing this claim. While, as above noted, that Code is not found on Exhibit 2, it is well understood that a Claimant may still be considered to fall within the Tourism definition if the Claims Administrator, after reviewing the totality of the circumstances, including consideration of its activities during the Benchmark and Class Periods, determines the Claimant’s business meets that definition. In that vein, this panelist notes that NAICS Code 447190 – Other Gasoline Stations, which lists, as an example, marine service stations (those retailing fuels and providing repair services, etc.) recognizes a part of Claimant’s business, as does NAICS Code 451110, Sporting Goods stores which lists, as examples, fishing supply stores (e.g., bait) and tackle shops (i.e. fishing). Those Codes are included on Exhibit 2.

After de novo review, this panelist has concluded the Claims Administrator had before him abundant evidence to support his conclusion that Claimant’s business was entitled to the Tourism Industry designation. There is no error, nor is there any basis for BP’s claim for remand to further consider that determination. This appeal is denied and Claimant’s Final Proposal is hereby selected.


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Denison Yacht Sales adds Beneteau sailboats

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Beneteau America announces Denison Yacht Sales has added Beneteau’s sailboat lines to their existing portfolio of Beneteau powerboat brands for distribution on Florida’s East Coast.

Denison’s sales and service teams dedicated to new Beneteau yachts are based out of Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, Fla. Denison’s contribution to the Beneteau family has already been recognized with the awards of best turnover for Beneteau powerboats in 2014, and best turnover for Monte Carlo powerboats in 2015.

“Strengthening our existing partnership with Denison Yacht Sales towards sailboats is a logical decision,” commented Beneteau America President Laurent Fabre. “Denison’s success story with our powerboat brands will translate into outstanding customer service – from research to purchase, delivery and beyond – for sailboat buyers in Eastern Florida.”

“Our family strives to create relationships with builders that share our passion and our values,” saidBob Denison, general manager for Denison Yacht Sales. “As a family-owned business, Denison Yacht Sales is thrilled to expand its relationship with one of the largest boat builders in the world, and certainly one of today’s most reputable family-owned shipyards.”

Denison Yacht Sales will represent both Beneteau Powerboats and Sailboats at this year’s edition of the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show on November 5-9. Denison will show the Sense 55 at the Pier 66 location and the lineup of 10 new powerboats at the Bahia Mar venue on dock F/G – including the premiering Monte Carlo 6.

To learn more, visit www.BeneteauAmerica.com.



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Morris Yachts getting ‘back on track’ after recession doldrums

Sales of new boats at Morris Yachts plummeted when the recession hit in 2008.

But with a surge of customer interest and new contracts coming in, owner Cuyler Morris and new President Pete Carroll are optimistic about the future.

“Since Aug. 1, we’ve done 33 test sails,” Morris said. “That’s more test sails than we’ve done in three years. I’ll remain optimistic.”

When the economy sours, boats are among the first discretionary items consumers stop buying — and that was the case with the recession. In 2007, the Morris yard in Trenton produced 21 or 22 new boats.

The company continued to build small numbers of boats in each of the following lean years, with production hitting a low of four boats in 2014. Staff levels fell from 130 in 2007 to about 25 today.

At the same time, the business of storage and service remained a steady source of revenue. Sites in Northeast Harbor, Tremont and Southwest Harbor have served a fleet of 120 to 130 boats. Morris has another site in development in Trenton. Like other builders that made it through the recession, Morris considers storage and service one of several elements that has kept the company solvent, along with maintenance of infrastructure work.

The company did several things in July aimed at moving forward:

— Hired a new president, Pete Carroll, a retired Coast Guard commanding officer and engineer with an MBA from the University of Michigan.

— Sold its Bass Harbor boatyard, which was also a storage and service facility.

— Signed an agreement with Handy Boat Marina in Falmouth, making the marina founded in 1934 a branded Morris Yacht Service Center to serve all customers. Morris trains technicians to service its boats and, in return, gets a percentage of revenues and has a presence in an area with a large boating population.

Meanwhile, the company has considered queries from potential investors and buyers.

“Because of the storied history of the company and the quality of the brand, we get inquiries from customers and groups all the time about investing in the company,” Morris said. “We’ve been exploring some avenues and opportunities.”

Investment in new product development is a top priority, he said.

“The product development required in order to stay relevant today is more fast-paced than ever. And the resources required in order to stay current — new designs and tooling — 30 years ago cost a fraction of what it is these days. That’s where some investment could fortify our ability to stay ahead,” Morris said.

From sloops to the C-suite

Morris Yachts is a well-known name in the world of high-end, luxury sailboats. It got its start in 1972, when founder Tom Morris, originally from Philadelphia, moved to Southwest Harbor, having spent childhood summers sailing in nearby Northeast Harbor.

He started by finishing fiberglass friendship sloops. He eventually built a shop and began producing sailboats, ranging from 26 to 51 feet long, designed by naval architect Chuck Paine of Tenants Harbor. These included the Ocean Series — high-end performance cruisers that are still available — and so-called “heritage” yachts that are no longer in production.

Tom’s son, Cuyler, joined the company in 1995. Together they expanded the service side and boatbuilding capacity. Cuyler became president of the company in 2001, while Tom served as company ambassador and delivery skipper until his death in 2008.

In 2004, the company partnered with naval architecture firm Sparkman Stephens to introduce the M-Series sailboat, a “classic design with modern performance innovations,” designed for day sailing and offshore cruising. The first, the M36, was launched that year and was followed by lengths from 29 to 52 feet. By 2008, the company had sold 73 M-Series yachts.

But, as was true industrywide, orders went into a steep decline and about half the workforce was laid off. Some were hired back in 2010, when the company won $7 million in contracts from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, to build eight Leadership 44 training vessels designed by Pedrick Yacht Designs in Newport, Rhode Island. New orders for other boats were coming in as well, including four M36s delivered to Australia, Chicago, Islesboro and Bar Harbor. By 2011, the company hired its first CEO to run business operations and finances.

Racing into the future

Today, as the sole owner of the company, Morris focuses on product development, customer relations and strategic initiatives. By 2014, that resulted in two new products. The X-Type package for the M-Series models offers the classic topside of the M-Series with a deeper keel and taller rig for people who like racing.

“We recently brought a 36X to the Newport boat show and had a tremendous number of people interested in that option,” Carroll said.

The Ocean Series 48 GT (Grande Touring) incorporates hundreds of innovations to the interior, rig and cockpit of the award-winning Ocean Series 48.

In 2014, the company built four boats. An M29 and M36 went to Mount Desert Island summer residents who hail from East Hampton, New York, and Philadelphia, respectively. The first M42X was built for a Southwest Harbor customer. And this past May, Hull No. 3 of the M52 line, built for a customer from California who plans to spend summers living on the boat in Newport, Rhode Island, was the company’s most recent launch.

Production ahead

Altogether, the company has produced 126 M-Series boats in the 11 years since the series’ debut, as well as 203 Ocean Series boats. Total production since the company’s founding is 330 to 340 boats. Prices range from $200,000 to more than $1 million, with options adding as much as 50 percent of the base price.

For its 2015-2016 production schedule, the company recently started construction of an M36. Construction of an Ocean Series 52 is due to begin shortly, once planning for the interior is complete. A contract for an M46 was recently signed; construction will begin once the tooling is complete.

At least two M29s and an M42 were considered likely sales. Launches are expected in the spring and summer of 2016. Most of these customers are from New England; one is from California. The Ocean Series 52 and the M36 customers are from the Brooklin area. As long-experienced sailors, they dreamed of having a Morris and, having reached retirement age, decided to make the jump, Carroll said.

Several people were laid off last January, but hiring is imminent for up to eight positions, including project manager, in-house engineer and electrician, Carroll said.

“This time period now is our peak as far as taking orders,” Carroll said. “Most people want to buy a boat now and have it ready for the following summer. My prediction is we’ll have six boats on the production line this winter. And we plan to build back our workforce to match production.

But we’re going into this eyes wide open and not growing our overhead too quickly. We want to remain lean and mean.”

Advertising on the water

The upswing has been happening without any particular marketing push.

“In fact, because of the downturn we experienced in the past two years, we dialed back some of our marketing,” Carroll said. “It’s purely word of mouth. They see a Morris in their harbor or this is their final dreamboat, so to speak. So, interestingly, we’ve dialed back our marketing and increased our sales. That’s not very scientific, but it’s certainly fortuitous.”

Carroll, who retired earlier this year as commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Civil Engineering Unit in Cleveland after 20 years with the service, came to Morris on July 1. The Carroll and Morris families have been friends since Carroll’s father bought one of Tom Morris’s first Friendship sloops in 1978.

“We looked at a lot of people,” Morris said. “We were lucky to find somebody of Pete’s caliber, with his skill set, in a relatively short period of time.”

Carroll started out by instituting a policy of transparency.

“I felt the employees may not have had a good idea of what’s going on with the company, good or bad,” he said. “I think I’ve brought to them the realities of what we can do in the financial position we’re in.”

What is the company’s financial position?

“We’re in a good state,” said Carroll, who declined to cite numbers but said the company is running in the black. Still, he said, “I would say we have a way to go to bring the company back to where it was.”

Morris expects that to happen.

“I think financially people are feeling more stable,” Morris said. “I think people are realizing, ‘Let’s get back on track.’ I hope that’s the case, because we love building boats. The last thing we like to do is shrink our business and let all these awesome people go.”


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NJ Senate OKs free tuition to reservists, tax cut for seniors

NJ Senate approves bills granting free tuition to reservists, cutting taxes for seniors

NJ Senate approves bills granting free tuition to reservists, cutting taxes for seniors

Among the measures approved during the upper chamber’s voting session were two bills sponsored by Sen. Diane Allen, R-7th of Edgewater Park. They seek to extend a free college tuition benefit to military reservists and allow towns to award property tax breaks to seniors who perform volunteer work for the municipal government.



Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2015 6:15 am

NJ Senate OKs free tuition to reservists, tax cut for seniors

By David Levinsky
Staff writer

Burlington County Times

TRENTON — The New Jersey Senate’s successful vote to override Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of a gun control bill received most of the attention, but senators also took action Thursday on dozens of legislative items.

Among the measures approved during the upper chamber’s voting session were two bills sponsored by Sen. Diane Allen, R-7th of Edgewater Park. They seek to extend a free college tuition benefit to military reservists and allow towns to award property tax breaks to seniors who perform volunteer work for municipal governments.

David Levinsky: 609-871-8154; email: dlevinsky@calkins.com; Twitter: @davidlevinsky

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New Jersey Senate votes to approve Governor Christie’s call to reduce boat …

TRENTON, N.J. – The Democratic-controlled state Senate in New Jersey voted 33-1 to approve a bill that would reduce the sales tax on all boats bought in the state by 50 percent, according to NJ.com.

Governor Christie conditionally vetoed the bill originally, saying the first proposal would have provided relief only for those who buy vessels for more than $285,000. His condition proposed clashing the 7 percent sales tax on all boats in half to also help “individuals, including middle-class citizens, who purchase smaller boats.” The earlier proposal from the Senate would have capped the tax at $20,000.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association said high-priced boats accounted for only a small fraction of the $160 million in new boat sales made in the Garden State last year.

The original measure also included a change to the 7 percent tax on use of boats that were bought in other states but operated in New Jersey. The bill would have waived the tax on boats used in the state for fewer than 90 days per year. Christie’s proposal changes the period to 30 days to ensure the use tax is enforceable.

Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May), one of the measure’s main sponsors, said Christie’s changes will not only help small boat owners but also those who do work on these vessels and own businesses in the maritime industry along the Jersey Shore. State Sen. Jeff Whelan (D-Atlantic) said the bill will also give people incentives to buy a boat in New Jersey instead of going elsewhere to get a better deal.

“This is a good bill,” Whelan said. “It’s going to put people back to work.”

The state Senate will next vote on the entire bill. After that, it would still need to be approved by the state Assembly and signed by Christie before it becomes law.



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