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Sunday, November 1, 2009

We're going to need a bigger boat

Joe Jordan at Nebraska Watchdog has blown the lid of the story of State Senator Kent Rogert who registered as a boat dealer in order to get out of paying sales tax on his 28-foot speedboat.
According to our investigation Rogert, who was elected in 2006, did not pay the sales tax because when he first registered the boat Rogert was given a dealer’s registration number: 019 AMT. Paying the sales tax on boats is not required if the owner is a boat dealer. But on Rogert’s Statement of Financial Interests, a document that many state employees including senators must file with the State of Nebraska, there is nothing to indicate that Rogert sells boats. And in a telephone interview with Nebraska Watchdog, Rogert said he is, ”… a real estate agent, not a boat dealer.”
The Lincoln Journal-Star followed up the story, and got Rogert backtracking on whether or not he's a boat dealer.
In a phone interview Monday, Rogert said it may look like he was just trying to avoid paying sales tax, but he does dabble in used boats.

Rogert, whose primary business is selling real estate, said he has not sold that particular boat, but he did buy and sell another boat this summer.

Boat dealers do not have to pay sales tax on boats they buy, but people who buy boats for their own use do.
When caught avoiding the taxes that he imposes on others, Rogert's response was the blame the reporter who broke the story.
Nebraska State Senator Kent Rogert called a Nebraska Watchdog investigation “completely inaccurate” even as questions continue to grow about Rogert’s failure to pay the sales tax on his speedboat.

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