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Protesting A Decades Old State Tax In Washington State

6:23 AM, Apr 2, 2013   |    comments
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Olympia, WA -- Dozens of people protesting a decades-old state tax on dance venues danced in front of the Washington State Capitol on Monday in support of a repeal being considered by lawmakers.

Washington state has had the tax, which targets venues that provide an opportunity to dance, since the 1960s. A measure to repeal it has cleared a committee and is awaiting a floor vote in the Senate.

Proponents of the repeal say enforcement of the tax is arbitrary, targeting medium-sized venues and not places like sports stadiums that often host concerts.

Department of Revenue spokesman Mike Gowrylow said in a statement that the tax ``applied to certain recreational activities since the 1960s, and our job is to ensure that businesses comply with those laws.'' He said that the protest was coming from "a handful of businesses that failed to collect sales tax on cover charges they imposed on customers to enter dance venues.''

"Most of their competitors were properly collecting sales tax when due, and if businesses weren't sure whether or not they should collect the tax in a given situation, all they had to do was ask us. They didn't,'' he said.

According to state estimates, repealing the tax would cost the state more than $880,000 in the 2013-2015 budget cycle.

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