An intensive letter-writing campaign launched by several organizations representing the RV industry and RV owners has turned back an attempt by Washington State legislators  to impose a new RV excise tax in the Evergreen State.
All four proposed excise tax bills died in committee, reports F.R. “Bob” Gummersall, the Washington state chairman for the legislative affairs committee of the Cincinnati-based Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA).
“We won!” Gummersall declared.
The proposed legislation, if implemented, would have forced Washington RV owners to pay an annual 0.8% excise tax on the fair market value of their vehicles, beginning Jan. 1. 2004. That would have, for example, required the owner of a $40,000 motorhome to pay $320 annually.
Washington legislators felt the tax was needed to revive Washington’s cash-strapped state parks, which, according to the Tacoma Tribune, need about $340 million worth of maintenance work and improvements. In fact, the state was forced to abandon several state parks last year because of fiscal problems, and several more may be closed this year.
But RVers, along with representatives from various trade and consumer clubs and associations, argued that the burden of financing Washington’s state parks should not fall solely on the shoulders of RVers.
“FMCA, along with our alliance with the Airstream Ambassadors and the Good Sam organization, were able to marshal the troops (to send) thousands of e-mail, phone and snail-mail communications to the elected officials of the Washington legislature,” Gummersall said. “The sheer number of communications went a long ways in influencing many of the Washington legislators to allow these four bills to die in the committee process.”
Bill Baker, director of government affairs for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), which joined other associations in lobbying against the proposed excise tax, cautioned that while this particular excise tax battle was won, RVers and their associations may need to remain vigilant because the state of Washington’s financial problems remain.