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John Kerry Vows to Pay Mass. Tariffs on Yacht Berthed at Rhode Island Tax Haven

5 years ago
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Sen. John Kerry's decision to dock his family's new $7 million yacht in tax-free Newport, R.I., instead of in Massachusetts, is getting the onetime presidential candidate some unwanted attention from the Boston media. Kerry clearly isn't enjoying the public relations debacle -- and it's not clear what port 76-foot sloop, the Isabel, will eventually call home.

Kerry, you will recall, is the liberal Massachusetts Democrat who ran against George W. Bush for president in 2004. His yacht is berthed at the Newport Shipyard, but if it were docked in Boston Harbor or at his family's summer home on Nantucket, he would have to pay $437,000 in a one-time sales tax and annual excise taxes of $70,000.
John Kerry family yacht, Isabel"Let's get this straight," an impatient Kerry told WBZ TV in Boston on Monday. "I've said consistently we will pay our taxes, we have always paid our taxes. It's not an issue, period. . . . There's nothing more to say about it." Pressed by reporters at an event at the South Weymouth Naval Air Station, Kerry then said to his driver, "Can I get out of here, please?" according to WBZ.

A Kerry spokeswoman, Brigid O'Rourke, insisted that the senator "will absolutely pay any and all taxes that he is found to owe." O'Rourke told the Boston Globe, "Whatever the Department of Revenue [a state tax agency] determines that he owes in Massachusetts taxes, he will pay."

Newport, home to historic mansions, jazz and folk festivals and all things nautical, repealed most taxes on pleasure craft in 1993, making it a haven for boaters.

When the Boston Herald broke the story, Kerry's office put out a statement saying the Isabel (complete with two cabins, a pilot house and cold wine storage) was in the Newport Shipyard for "long-term maintenance, upkeep and charter purpose, not tax reasons." The statement also said the Isabel was designed and purchased from a Rhode Island company, but it was reportedly built in New Zealand.

State law says if a resident purchases property out of state but brings it into Massachusetts within six months, it would be subject to state taxes, the Globe said.
Filed Under: Senate, Taxes

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John Kerry and his wife have a house in Rhode Island so why shouldn't he be able to park the boat there? Why should he have to pay taxes on something that isn't being parked in Mass. He chose to pay the taxes even though he wasn't ablidged to.

October 25 2010 at 9:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If the democrats would pay their taxes amybe they wouldn't have to raise ours.

July 28 2010 at 3:22 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Ozzie Carlson

Once the voting public comes to the realization that the Washington politicians aren't out of touch, or think that we're stupid, but in fact, don't care what we think. Anyone who believes that the democrats in Congress (and the republicans)are interested in our opinions have to be very naive', especially after witnessing what occurred with Obama's healthcare legislation. (I know, it had to be passed by Congress first) Do you really think Obama cares what you think. Consider his Treasurey Secretary. Golly, he just made a mistake and didn't pay his taxes. For how many years? (If I recall correctly, he's still the Secretary of Treasurey.) And then there is Charlie Rangel, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. In reality, the most powerful member in Congress. He has the power to control all legislation in the House and the Senate. Opps, he seemed to fail to pay taxes on income that he failed to report. One could go on. So why should anyone be surprised that the honorable John Kerry hadn't paid taxes on his yacht purchase. Those of you who are literate should read the Declaration of Independence, again. You'd be surprised how many issues our founding fathers had with King George that compare with the issues we now have with Obama and Congress. The academic description of our system of government is a "democratic, constituional, republic." However, in reality we are a "plutocratic, constitutional, republic!" Eight of the ten richest Senators, in the last session of Congress were democrats. Gee, isn't that surprising. Do you believe they will be the ones who are taxed to spread the wealth? And if they are, do you believe they will pay their taxes?

July 28 2010 at 1:29 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I never heard him or his spokeswoman say he would pay taxes, she said Kerry "will absolutely pay any and all taxes that he is found to owe". Well, if he keeps the yacht in RI, he won't be "found to owe" any Mass taxes. We might be able to believe him had he said, "I will pay the 6.25% sales tax on our boat which cost $7M."

Kerry's statement is exactly like Clinton's "I did not have sex with that woman...". It was technically accurate as in his mind she had sex with him, but implied something different from what he said. To the average person, it sounded like Clinton denied his tryst with Monica, but he never really did. He only ruled out the possibility that he had sex with her. Kerry never actually said he would pay the taxes, he just made a statement that to the average person sounds like he will pay the taxes, but leaves open the possibility that if he may not because he will only pay taxes if he is "found to owe" them. He may still try to slip away from his moral obligation.

Also, who in the state run almost entirely by democrats would have the audacity to issue the Senior Senator a tax bill? It would be the end of a promising career for that bureaucrat.

Finally, which municipality will bill Kerry for the excise tax? The boat is in Newport. Since it's not clear which city or town should get the windfall, probably all 351 cities and towns should send him a bill.

July 27 2010 at 11:53 PM Report abuse +29 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Justin's comment

Just shows no matter how much money these people have and no matter how many languages they speak, our Congress is made up of low rent people. They try to tell the American people how to live and tax us to death when they themselves are TAX CHEATS! These are the guys and gals who write our tax laws! Tim, Charlie Chris and John to name just a few.

July 27 2010 at 11:14 PM Report abuse +42 rate up rate down Reply

Well, if Massachusetts didn't tax the heck out of everyone that lives there, he wouldn't have to park his yacht somewhere else! Maybe everyone should just move to Rhode Island!

July 27 2010 at 10:58 PM Report abuse +14 rate up rate down Reply

Don't tax you
Don't tax me
Tax that fellow behind that tree.

An old bromide about taxes and who should pay, who won't pay, who is forced to pay.

Liberal Kerry, who is against climate change but fights wind farms within sight of his special mansion on the coast, and who wants tax cuts on the so called wealthy repealed, is sneaking out of state to hide (effectively steal from his constituents) that 'little skiff' and 'runabout' across the border to avoid paying his 'fair share' of tax. Borders mean nothing to Democrats. Let 'em all come in. Do we need a fence at the Mass border to keep the Kerrys et al in?

Hey, Massachusetts, you vote for gays, you vote for Kerry and Frank and acorned the whole country. You go, MA, go far away.

July 27 2010 at 10:49 PM Report abuse +44 rate up rate down Reply

So, let Me get THIS straight: Kerry doesn't want to renew the Bush tax cuts for the WEALTHY, because he, like a lot of their liberal bretheran feel that it's time for the wealthy to "pay thier fair share"..more realistically..."spread the wealth". Hmmm, does that include him? He seems to be one of them, but yet he docks his boat where he does for a reason. Could he be one of those "greedy wealthy" people his party seems to disdain? Me thinks he protests too much. Let the tax man stick it to him and Charlie Rangle. I couldn't care less for either of them.

July 27 2010 at 10:46 PM Report abuse +53 rate up rate down Reply

I go to my boat about a mile from my home in RI. You would be amazed at the amount of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, NY and Connecticut cars here in the marina parking lot. Some owners travel 5 hours to their boats. The law is simple. If you buy a boat, accessories, maintain and moor in RI there is no tax PERIOD. It's not like he's paying taxes in RI. He may be guilty of not supporting the maritime industry in his state but he isn't cheating on taxes. The taxes on the maritime industry in RI during the early 90's killed the industry and put a lot of boat builders out of business. The legislature had the foresight to repeal the taxes. Massachusetts should've done the same. If you are going to run a yacht charter business in NE then Newport is the place to do it from. The infrastructure and incentives are here. It makes good business sense. Isn't that what we want in a leader. Delaware and the Bahamas also make good sense. How many ordinary RI citizens buy in MA to evade paying sales tax during the tax "Holidays"? If you can save a buck, save it! It aint illegal

July 27 2010 at 10:42 PM Report abuse -14 rate up rate down Reply

Does he really think the people are stupid? He is keeping it in Rhode Island until the 6 months passes so he won't owe any tax in Mass. When Rhode Island did that, the people thought, and still do, that was a sleazy way for the rich to evade tax legally. How can Rhode Island say a boat is not a luxery, but a car is?!!! We need to tax those boats to the max. Most people cannot afford a boat. And we need to eliminate the car tax. Put the boat tax back and get rid of the car tax. And while we're at it, get rid of the sewer tax too. Why do I have to pay for water consumption twice? Water bill and Sewer bill.

July 27 2010 at 10:38 PM Report abuse +46 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to joanngclef's comment

He will move that boat right after the 6 motnsh are up. I agree with that and guarentee if you check in 6 months that boat will be in Mass.

July 27 2010 at 10:47 PM Report abuse +41 rate up rate down Reply

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