9th District U.S. Representative Doug Collins is proposing a bill that would change the fees marinas on Army Corps of Engineers lakes, like Hartwell and Lanier, are forced to pay.
Last week, Collins announced the introduction of the Marina Operator Tax Obligation Relief Act of 2013, or the MOTOR Act.
Collins said the proposal comes after talking with stakeholders on both Lakes Hartwell and Lanier about the Corps’ operation of the lakes.
“One of the things that was brought up we found out was there is a tax or there is a fee assessed by the Corps of Engineers as high as 4.6 percent of basically, their revenue,” said Collins. “(That) means that at the end of the year, not as you go, they look at their revenue and they have to pay a fee based on that revenue, which for a restaurant that runs on tight margins, could be cost-prohibitive.”
The MOTOR Act would lower the rate that the Corps could charge on services such as restaurant, gasoline, and marine engine sales to 1 percent across the board, lowering it from the current 4.6 percent figure in Georgia districts.
In addition, Collins said the current fee is arbitrary, while the MOTOR Act would make the fee the same across the board at all Corps-operated lakes nationwide.
He said he believes the bill will find support as a way to promote fairness and create jobs.
“We have had input from marina associations and others who deal with Corps lakes across the country,” said Collins. “To me, it is a common-sense move that is going to create jobs, that is going to encourage businesses to open. Especially in a setting such as Hartwell or Lanier, where you (have) very few restaurants and other things, this would be something that I believe could increase tourism, jobs, and economic development.”
The MOTOR Act will now head into a House committee for further discussion and debate.
Collins said he also appreciates the stakeholders at Hartwell and Lanier bringing the issue forward to his attention.
Meanwhile, Collins said that he and other legislators continue to work with the Corps on other management issues surrounding Corps lakes in northeast Georgia.