QUICK LOOP QUIZ! When was the last time the “no vacancy” sign was put up at what many call the second-most-important court in the land?
Here are a few hints:
was still known as the Fresh Prince (his single with DJ Jazzy Jeff, “Summertime,” was on the charts), and
went by Marky Mark, backed by the Funky Bunch.
How times have changed — both are now Serious Actors.
Movie hits from that year included now-classics “Thelma & Louise” (with Brad Pitt!) and “The Silence of the Lambs” (fava beans and a nice Chianti, anyone?). The Persian Gulf War had recently ended, and
had just been arrested.
Okay, you guessed it. It’s been nearly 22 years, a spokesman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts tells us. It was in October 1991, when the court had 12 seats (it has 11 now) and President George H.W. Bush’s nominee, Judge
, filled the high court seat of retired Justice Thurgood Marshall
Give it the three-hour tour
“The Superyacht Industry means jobs for the United States,” the industry trade group’s Web site says.
That can only mean one thing: There’s some proposal kicking around on the Hill that would affect the boating industry. And sure enough, folks at the U.S. Superyacht Association (USSA) tell us there’s a proposal that would eliminate mortgage interest deductions for boats, which now qualify as second homes.
These folks are really not owners of “superyachts” — generally defined as sail or motor yachts around 80 feet or longer — but the industry as a whole would be affected, the trade association says.
Wealthy superyacht owners won the last big tax battle in the early 1990s, after Congress and “read my lips” George H.W. Bush slapped a 10 percent luxury tax on boats and other items selling for more than $100,000.
A chunk of the boating industry went under, many thousands of jobs were lost, and tax revenue was far less than anticipated, industry folks estimate.
Congress thought that the patriotic uber-rich wouldn’t feel the economic pinch. They were right about that. But it wasn’t about the money.
“It’s not that they can’t afford it,” one yacht dealer told the Seattle Times back then, “it’s just that they refuse to pay it.” It was really a matter of principle.
As one yacht purchaser told Kwame Holman of “PBS NewsHour” after the tax was repealed, “I found it insulting.” The yachtsman said he nearly went abroad to buy his $2.5 million craft. He would have had to pay about $240,000 more in taxes before the burden was lifted.
The new proposal, according to the Superyacht Association, would allow deductions on first and second home mortgages, but only up to a total value of $1.1 million. And it would exclude boats entirely.