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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Citizens asked to vote on taxation of watercraft

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  • When Harvey County voters head to the polls on Nov. 6, they will find an unusual item on the back of their ballots.?The question takes up a large portion of the back of the ballot, filling up about two columns. Though the text is somewhat long and complicated, Harvey County Clerk Joyce Truskett advises voters the item isn’t as confusing as it looks.?The ballot question concerns an amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would allow the Legislature to classify and tax watercraft on a different basis than other property. The ballot item itself won’t change any tax rates — it simply gives lawmakers the power to do so.?“They could do it if they wanted to,” Truskett said.?Currently, most watercraft is valued at market value and assessed at 30 percent. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and some boat owners and vendors have been pushing for lower tax rates on watercraft.?Truskett said there are some boats in Kansas that are registered in surrounding states, to take advantage of cheaper rates, and this cuts down on the amount of revenue the state receives.?If approved by voters, this amendment would give the Legislature the authority to set up an alternate to fair market value property tax. The new method may be some form of fee structure imposed in lieu of property tax or the Legislature may exempt watercraft all together.?Voters will be asked to vote “yes” or “no” on the amendment. A vote “yes” means you want to permit the Legislature to classify and tax watercraft on a different basis than other property, while voting “no” means you would like the watercraft taxation structure to remain the same.

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