Descriptive Analysis of the Legislative and Administrative Processes involved in Refunding and Allocating Marine Fuel Taxes in Texas
Beardsley, Dennis D.
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The State of Texas has accepted the responsibility of providing a wide variety of recreational services to both citizens and visitors alike. The funds needed to deliver those services are increasingly more difficult to obtain. Marine fuel taxes provide a viable source of funding for financing needed programs for the Texas boating public. Secondary sources are analyzed to describe the two motor fuel tax policies affecting the Texas boating community. The first, established in 1925, allows boaters to obtain a partial refund of those motor fuel taxes paid while enjoying recreational pleasure boating. The second, established in 1965, allocates portions of those motor fuel taxes contributed by boaters but for which refunds have not been claimed. These revenues are to be used for providing recreational facilities and services development and management. The conclusions reached in this paper provide the first step in assisting Texas state legislators, agency administrators and boating organization officials in two areas: 1) Should existing legislative and administrative policies pertaining to marine motor fuel taxes be reevaluated? and 2) What responsibilities will this form of taxation play in future marine recreation system development and management? Legislation in 1965 draw particular attention to the need for establishing a system for computing motor fuel taxes paid by boating enthusiasts. Because of this, the boating fleet's increase or decrease in size, along with changes in its make-up or distribution, are of interest. It is assumed that an increase or decrease in the fleet size should be reflected in the marine fuel tax allocations for providing recreational services. This study concluded that existing legislative and administrative policies pertaining to marine fuel taxes should be re-evaluated to more effectively utilize marine fuel taxes as a source of funding for providing boating opportunities. Administrators responsible for the identification of marine fuel taxes have failed to develop the necessary procedures to assure the accuracy of those fuel tax revenues collected which are attributable to the Texas boating public. Because of the dual responsibility for refunding and allocating unrefunded marine fuel taxes, it is recommended that a thorough review of the purpose and objectives of marine fuel taxes be made.