Washington looking to make Oregonians pay sales tax

Washington looking to make Oregonians pay sales tax

VANCOUVER, Wash. - In these bad budget times states are coming up with all sorts of ways to raise more money but one idea in Washington could create a border war.

Lawmakers there are floating a plan to make Oregonians who shop in Washington state pay sales tax then apply for a refund later.

Oregonians can usually just show their ID and businesses in Washington don't charge them a sales tax.

Washington lawmakers think they can make about $18 million by stopping that. Out-of-state shoppers would pay the sales tax and then they would need to go online and apply for a partial refund later. But to get it Oregonians would have to spend $384 or more within a year.

Some business owners in Washington said this is yet another deterrent to add to traffic and gas prices. They said they think the idea is too confusing and people won't bother to save receipts and apply for the refund.

Shoppers gave the idea mixed reviews.

Oregon coin collector, Rick Jaszczult, dug through coins at Old Glory Antiques Thursday and said he appreciates that he's exempt from Washington's sales tax.

"I know we don't charge them sales tax so it feels like a fair swap," he said. "A little nasty on their part to do that, but I understand they're hurting for money, too."

"They're (Oregonians) coming over using our services, using our roads, I feel that they should (pay the sales tax)," said Mike Cahill, a Washington resident. "I have to do it to get my tax money back if I work over there so I think it's fair."

Old Glory Antiques owner, Juanita Aspaas, said with high gas prices and traffic, interstate shopping has enough deterrents already.

"I think it was a good arrangement being so close to the border to draw them over here, and I don't see why we need to change that," she said.

Here's how it would work: If an item costs $799, it will cost $864 with tax. Oregonians would get $51 back assuming that take the time to go online and fill out the form and save their receipt.

On big purchases it would be worth it but Oregonians would not get back Vancouver's share of the sales tax – just the state's.
The new law, if adopted, would not apply to car sales.

Right now, legislative leaders in Olympia have not scheduled the bill for an executive hearing in the state Senate. That's where committee members vote on which proposals should advance. Since the proposal is budget-related the deadline is Tuesday.