Harbor Depth and Taxes: A Critical Examination of the Future of the Harbor Maintenance Taxes

Michael Dehart | Comment

The United States is blessed with remarkable maritime resources. With over 88,000 miles of tidal shoreline throughout the country, it is no wonder that the United States has always relied heavily on maritime commerce to fuel its economy. However, a troubling lack of meaningful investment in the ports and harbors of the United States has left much of the nation’s maritime infrastructure in an alarming state of decay. If the United States is to continue its path towards economic recovery, it is imperative that sufficient funding is provided for the revitalization of the nation’s maritime infrastructure. An effective yet simple remedy for this issue may lie in the form of the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT). This Comment will examine the history of the HMT from its passage and battles over its constitutionality to the current structure of the tax. Additionally, this Comment will discuss recent legislative proposals aimed at reforming the HMT and critically analyze the future of the tax.