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A wide-reaching coalition of RV clubs and trade organizations contributed to the recent defeat of a Washington state bill aimed at raising funds for cash-strapped state parks through a new RV excise tax.
But some in the industry are concerned that other states might target RV owners for new taxes to close their budget gaps, said Sue Bray, executive director of the Good Sam Club, which played a key role in the effort to defeat the Washington state tax proposal.
“We’re going to be watching,” said Bray, who added that she hopes the defeat of the Washington state tax will discourage other states from launching similar proposals.
From the outset, there was little question inside or outside the RV industry as to whether Washington’s state parks – like those in a host of other states – actually needed help. But the RV sector’s leadership consistently argued that the burden of financing Washington’s state facilities should not fall solely on the backs of RVers, she said.
In the Washington case, the proposed legislation would have imposed an annual excise tax of 0.8% on towable and motorized RVs registered in Washington. Passage of the tax bill would have, for example, required the owner of a motorhome valued at $40,000 to pay $320 annually.
In addition to Good Sam, other members of the coalition included the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) and their local representatives, along with other RV clubs and organizations.
For its part, the Ventura, Calif.-based Good Sam Club, the world’s largest RV owner organization, communicated to about 160,000 members through its CyberSam electronic newsletter and through e-mails to 40,000 Washington residents, explaining the proposed tax and providing links to help people relay their concerns about the tax to their state representatives. More than 8,900 e-mail recipients clicked on the links to obtain more information about the tax.
Good Sam, a subsidiary of Affinity Group Inc., parent of RV Business and RVBUSINESS.COM, also produced fliers for distribution at the Evergreen RV Show. “We probably mobilized at least 10,000 families,” said Bray.