VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) — Simply flashing your ID to avoid paying sales tax in Washington might no longer be an option for Oregonians.
A bill that just passed the House would require out-of-state customers to pay sales tax on most purchases, something they can avoid right now just by showing their drivers licenses.
State lawmakers see this as a solution to help raise money for a state that needs new revenue, but local businesses in Vancouver fear the bill could be the tipping point to running them out of business.
In the border town of Vancouver, business is heavily dependent on customers from the Portland-metro area.
“I think it would really hurt us economically in long run, especially in the small-business sector,” said Everybody’s Music Manager Joel Mulligan.
Mulligan says their shop is the only shop of its kind in the city, and their only competition is in Portland.
He says the store needs any sale it can get right now, so much so that if the bill becomes law, he’d still find a way to let Oregon customers get out of paying sales tax.
“Honestly, even if the bill passed and someone from Oregon came in and bought $30 worth of stuff, and asked me about paying tax on it, I’d pay the tax to make the sale,” said Mulligan.
“I’d pay it, instead of losing the customer and risking them not coming back anymore.”
The bill already passed in the Washington House and is now in the Senate.
There is an amendment to the bill that could allow Oregonians to apply for a rebate on the sales tax they pay in Washington, but they would only be able to file that form once a year.