Less than a month after a coalition of Washington-based recreational vehicle enthusiasts, national consumer groups and industry trade associations lobbied to defeat a controversial RV excise tax proposal, legislators in the Evergreen state have turned around and quietly inserted into a pending budget bill another RV tax proposal.
The latest proposal, like the first, has drawn a quick reaction from the RV sector. “Good Sam is appalled that the Washington legislature would again attempt to essentially sneak this unfair and unjust method of obtaining funds from Washington RV owners, many of whom are senior citizens and living on fixed incomes,” says Sue Bray, executive director of the Ventura, Calif.-based Good Sam Club.
“It took a while for us to find it,” said F.R. Bob Gummersall, who chairs the Washington Government and Legislative Affairs Committee for the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA). State legislators, according to Gummersall, apparently inserted the proposal into a state budget bill on the evening of Friday, April 4th, roughly three weeks after the defeat of another proposed RV tax measure intended to raise funds for Washington’s cash-strapped state parks.
The coalition is opposing these tax measures on the premise that the state should find a way to raise funds without solely targeting RVers.
The latest proposed RV tax would raise additional funds for road repairs by extending Washington’s weight-based commercial truck excise tax to motorized RVs. If approved, motorhome owners could face annual taxes of several hundred dollars, depending on the weight of their vehicles.
The threat is immediate. Unless the tax provision is removed from the latest budget package, Washington’s motorhome owners could face new taxes as early as July, Gummersall said. FMCA, along with Good Sam and other organizations, has urged RVers to write letters to Washington state representatives to voice opposition to the tax.
“We disagree that a motorhome contributes the same wear and tear as a daily delivery truck and (we) should not pay this tax,” said Jerald A. Simpson, president of Roamin’ Wheels, the Good Sam Club chapter in Washington state that is rallying opposition to the tax.
“Our group, consisting of average pensioners in their 70s, typically travels only 10 trips a year, and under 200 miles, mainly on federal, not state, highways,” he added. “We feel singled out again because we saved (money) while others spent it all.”