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February 2014 - We've all seen ads like this.  However, did you know that a new law has been passed in Iowa that penalizes people who live in Iowa but license and pay the sales tax for an RV vehicle through a dummy LLC in places like Montana or North Dakota. Minnesota has passed the same kind of law. The Iowa law provides amnesty if the perpetrators confess and pay the delinquent fees. Iowa has also promised a vigorous pursuit of violators by using the state police. I have read that the states of Oregon, Washington, New Hampshire, and Maine are considering similar state legislation. It is important to note this refers to dummy corporations but does not include second homes. 

I would venture an opinion to all Airstreamers who contemplate such a practice: DON'T DO IT. Two states have already passed laws to prosecute violators and several other states are considering similar laws. The financial penalties are severe.


 

A recent interview by a RV business reporter with Jonathan Jarvis, Service Director of the National Park Service, gave a synopsis of the sequestration effects on the park budgets. Each park, national memorial, or historical landmark is listed as a line item on the national budget. The sequestration requires a five percent reduction in costs. Each park entity must therefore reduce their operating, maintenance, service, or capital expenses by 5 %. Whatever the park superintendent must do to meet this requirement will be done by that person..

The Bipartisan Policy Center is hosting a discussion on the challenges facing the funding of America’s national parks. The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and the National Park Hospitality Association (NPHA) will launch the dialog to identify non-appropriated funding strategies to support America’s treasured national parks.

The outdoor industry sees healthy public support for federal recreation programs but worry about the effects of budget cuts. They plan to lobby congress to re-authorize the law allowing fees to be collected on federal recreation lands set to expire in 2014. They also want to increase the number of international visitors by introducing an international park pass. The third part of their plan is to use federal transportation to aid recreation. Finally the coalition hopes to build alliances with the Department of Defense to investigate whether military engineers could help with deferred maintenance on public lands.

The NPS has had their hands slapped recently when they published a ban on jet skies in certain areas without the proper study of the impacts of such activity. To prevent a second mistake, the NPS is planning to spend $400,000 for a study on Jet Ski impacts. A second independent study will review the impact of a bicycle race in a Colorado National Monument.

A recent mandate by the EPA might have an impact on fuel prices. An original law passed in 2005 requires quantities of renewable ethanol to be blended with gasoline. The law was revised in 2007 and the EPA has interpreted the new law to:

1. Include diesel fuel.

2. Increase volume of renewables in gasoline from 9 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion gallons in 2022.

3. Determine several new categories of fuel with separate volume requirements for each.

4. The life cycle of the new fuels must have less green house gasses than the fuel it is replacing.

The Texas Senate has passed a new budget that includes a 5.5 billion dollar increase in the state parks budget and avoids park closures. This bill must still be revised in a joint conference with both houses by May 27. It is the first increase for Texas parks since 2010.

Still in Texas, house bill 2152 prevents local utilities from applying administrative fees on RV parks. Another Senate bill 280 originally proposed campgrounds to pay for policing and trash control on the San Marcos River. TACO, (Texas Association of Campground Owners) successfully lobbied against both bills. In the case of the San Marcos River, TACO pointed out that most of the campers are winter Texans and seldom bring boats to use on the river.

Tennessee Parks now offer online state park reservations. The system is still in the trial phases and is being debugged.

Iowa has had an interesting problem. A five percent fee is charged when registering an RV purchased out of state. Some tax wise owners have discovered that if they register their RV out of state as a business property, they can avoid the 5 % fee. If you own a million dollar rig that can be as much as $50,000. The new law not only collects the fee, but adds a fine equal to 75 % the total of the fee and the owner may still be subject to criminal penalties.

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