SB 255 Defeated in New Hampshire

The Paddlesports Industry Association applauds the collaboration between paddlesports business owners and paddlesports enthusiasts in the state as an excellent example of how working together gets things done.
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(Springfield, VA) Paddlesports companies and paddlers in New Hampshire are breathing easier after the New Hampshire Senate voted on Thursday to defeat SB 255, the Canoe and Kayak Tax bill. The bill went down unanimously on a motion by Senator David Gottesman of Nashua. The vote deemed the bill “inexpedient to legislate.” Observers indicate that the bill was strongly opposed by the public and generated quite a bit of mail to individual senators.

SB 255 would have imposed an annual $10 tax on canoes and kayaks and required owners to put two registration decals on each of their boats. Rental businesses in the state would have been hit hard by the tax, which could have run into the thousands of dollars for some businesses. Retailers would have faced a huge additional barrier in selling lower-priced recreational canoes and kayaks. The tax and the paperwork burden were particularly high for lower-priced recreational canoes and kayaks.

The unanimity of the New Hampshire Senate reflected the strong message sent by paddlesports business owners and paddlers in New Hampshire. "Evidently they received a ton of mail against SB 255," said Earl Flanders, of Plymouth, New Hampshire. "The senator who was the prime sponsor of the bill stood up and said that he was against it.” Flanders is owner of Pemi Baker River Adventures in Plymouth and an active member of the Paddlesports Industry Association.

According to Matt Menashes, Executive Director of the Paddlesports Industry Association, the collaboration between paddlesports business owners and paddlesports enthusiasts in the state was an excellent example of how working together gets things done. "The paddlesports industry and paddlers can be a force to reckon with. I am continually amazed how this industry and paddlers can get things done politically at the state level." Menashes gave particular credit to the Northeast Paddlers Message Board for generating interest in the issue, and to American Whitewater board member Mark Lacroix. “The internet is an amazing organizing tool,” said Menashes. “The postings to the Northeast Paddlers Message Board and others helped generate the huge response to this issue that got this bill defeated. Mark Lacroix's posts were a great tool in generating interest in this issue. I was particularly pleased to see that Mark noted the number one reason to be against the New Hampshire tax was, as he put it, ‘the inevitable destruction of the paddlesports industry in New Hampshire.'” Lacroix's post made the point that paddlers would easily bypass New Hampshire for neighboring states without a canoe and kayak tax.

The Paddlesports Industry Association extends thanks to members Earl Flanders of Pemi Baker River Adventures in Plymouth, New Hampshire, and John Schlosser of Kayak Country Paddlesports in Wimot, New Hampshire, for organizing members and paddlers in the state, and to the Northeast Paddlers Message Board, American Whitewater, and the American Canoe Association.

To contribute to the Paddlesports Industry Association's government affairs fund, please contact Matt Menashes at (703) 451-3864 x 26, or via email at matt@paddlesportsindustry.org.

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