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Public Statements

Providing For Consideration Of H.R. 3619, Coast Guard Authorization Act Of 2010

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BAIRD. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentle lady for the time, and want to commend the chairman for his work on this bill, as well as the ranking member.

I rise in strong support of the Coast Guard Authorization Act. This bill makes important strides in strengthening the modern day mission of our Coast Guard. It is such a privilege to represent the fine young men and women who serve our country at Cape Disappointment in my own district.

Also included in this bill is language clarifying the rule related to the taxation of interstate waterway workers. In an effort to address an unfair tax situation of waterway workers, whose jobs require them to work in multiple States, I authored legislation in the 106th Congress called the Transportation Employment Fair Taxation Act. This legislation barred States from taxing a nonresident waterway worker who performs regularly assigned duties while engaged as a master, officer or crewman on a vessel operating on the navigable waters of more than one State.

As the House report for this legislation stated, the purpose of this legislation was to prohibit any State from taxing the income of a nonresident interstate waterway worker. The Senate version of this legislation was signed into law on November 9, 2000.

Unfortunately, a 2006 decision by one State's tax court is wholly inconsistent with the intent of the 2000 law. Due to the use of the word ``of'' instead of ``in,'' the court believes it only applies to the waterways that are owned jointly by more than one State. This was clearly not the intent of the 2000 law. The legislative history and Congressional Record make clear it was not the intent of the law, and I happen to know a little about that intent because I authored the legislation.

This legislation today makes a slight wording change to clarify that the law is intended to apply to all interstate waterway workers on all waterways. It is my sincere hope that this minor change will make clear that States are prohibited from taxing the income of a nonresident interstate waterway worker, period. I want to make clear that this was the intent of the law I authored in 2000, and this legislation before us today will reinforce that congressional intent.

Again, I thank the gentle lady for the time, and recommend passage.

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