Gas tax for tribal land gets approval
The state could enter into agreements with tribes to allow continued collection of the state gas tax on the tribes' reservations under a...
OLYMPIA — The state could enter into agreements with tribes to allow continued collection of the state gas tax on the tribes' reservations under a measure passed by the Senate on Tuesday.
The measure passed on a 34-14 vote, with one lawmaker excused. It now heads to the House.
The measure is in response to a 2005 U.S. District Court ruling that upheld tribal sovereignty over taxation and opened the door for all tribal retailers to avoid the state fuel tax of 34 cents a gallon. The bill would rework state gas-tax statutes to ensure that tribes continue collecting the state tax, which will increase to 36 cents per gallon next year.
The bill would allow the revenue to be shared by the state and tribes per compact. State gas taxes are used for road projects.
The measure passed the Senate last year but got stopped in the House.
If all 15 tribes with gas stations had decided not to collect the tax, the state could have lost millions of dollars in revenue. Such a move also would have allowed tribal gas stations to significantly undercut prices at nontribal stations.
Last year, two tribes, the Swinomish and Squaxin Island, negotiated a revenue-sharing agreement with the state to allow continued collection.
The bill allows the state to negotiate compacts with the state's tribes on a case by case basis.
The state has similar compacts for liquor and cigarette taxation.
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