TAX CONFERENCE

The recently enacted "American Jobs Creation Act" gives significant tax breaks to a number of U.S. industries--including shipping.

MARINE LOG and BLANK ROME will present a senior level seminar CHANGES IN U.S. TAXATION OF SHIPPING INCOME in Stamford, Conn. on April 5 & 6, 2004

Make sure you know how the new tax rules work!


March 11, 2005

Navy accelerating plans to retire carrier

The Navy appears to be speeding up its plans, laid out in the Bush Administration's FY 2006 budget request, to reduce aircraft carrier strength from 12 ships to 11.

The budget request does not identify which carrier has been targeted for elimination. But a Congressional Research Service report by Ronald O'Rourke, dated January 14, 2005, notes that on December 23, 2004, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz approved an internal Department of Defense (DOD) budget-planning document, called Program Budget Decision (PBD) 753 that set forth a number of significant adjustments to the FY2006 budget and FY2006-FY2011 Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP).

"One of the adjustments in PBD 753," said O'Rourke, "is to retire the conventionally powered aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CV-67) in FY2006 and thereby reduce the size of the carrier force from 12 ships to 11. The Kennedy is homeported in Mayport, Fla., near the Georgia border. The proposal would not retire any other ships, or any of the Navy's carrier air wings."

Now, it appears that the Kennedy is indeed heading for retirement——and on an accelerated schedule that has some lawmakers aggrieved.

Yesterday, according to the Virginian-Pilot, John J. Young, Jr., Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Research, Development and Acquisition, Department of the Navy, told the House Armed Services Committee that "officials will spend the summer evaluating bids for mothballing the Kennedy and expect to start that work by September. The process involves cleaning and lubricating equipment and sealing openings that could expose moving parts to corrosive salt water."

The Virginian-Pilot quotes Rep. JoAnn Davis (R.), who represents Virginia's First District as saying "I don't know if we can pass legislation fast enough" to stop the Navy from moving to shut the ship down in June.

The newspaper notes that Davis has been lobbying colleagues for support for a measure to block the carrier's retirement. She and her allies had been planning to attach an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill, which does not usually clear Congress until the fall.

Why are Virginia representatives so steamed about pulling a carrier that's homeported in Florida? The Virginian-Pilot says that "once the Kennedy is gone, the Navy is expected to push for the transfer of a Norfolk-based carrier to Mayport. That would pull more than 5,000 jobs and $188 million in wages and benefits out of the local economy, according to estimates developed by the Hampton Roads Regional Planning District Commission."

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