Bill would ‘level’ the pizza playing field, one state senator says

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Sen. Marko Liias and local Papa Murphy's owner Tony McNulty.

OLYMPIA — One state senator has pizza on the brain this legislative session.

No, he’s not jonesing for a slice of pepperoni (well, maybe).  He’s trying to fix what he calls a double standard for taxing uncooked pies.

State Sen. Marko Liaas (D-Lynnwood) and co-sponsors Ann Rivers (R- Clark County) and Annette Cleveland (D- Vancouver) thinks it’s unfair that individuals who buy uncooked pizza prepared fresh in the store are dinged for sales tax, while frozen pizza at the supermarket has no sales tax. Liaas proposed Senate Bill 5861, a bill that would eliminate the sales tax on pizzas prepared in the stores where you buy them, bringing them more in line with their frozen counterparts Liias said.

“There’s no logical rationale for this tax,” Liias said. “If you don’t pay tax on frozen pizzas or uncooked pizzas prepared at other sites from where you buy them, why pay tax on locally made, unfrozen pizzas you buy and bake at home.”

Liias said existing laws benefit out-of-state companies while penalizing local businesses and customers like those of Tony McNulty, a Papa Murphy’s store owner in Monroe.

“In both cases, the customer is buying an uncooked pizza and baking it at home,” Liias Said. “Why should Tony’s customers pay more for a locally prepared pizza than for a pizza prepared nowhere near here? Our local pizza businesses and their customers deserve a level playing field.”

The bill’s first reading was slated Friday for the Senate Ways and Means committee.

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