WA State Retail Sales Tax – HB 2334 Did Not Pass

We lost the battle — Partisan politics at its worst.

We want to thank each and every one of you that was involved in this effort and supported this change. I am saddened to confirm that the bill to remove the unfair retail sales tax on martial arts schools, HB2334, did NOT successfully pass the Senate during the 2016 legislative session which ended on Thursday 3/31.

We are confident we documented beyond any shadow of a doubt that the change in law in 2015 was unfair, unequally applied, legalized discrimination and is embarrassing for the State of Washington.  It was a mistake or oversight and most lawmakers agree. We delivered this information in public testimony, in documentation we hand-delivered to offices, through the lobbyists we hired to help us, via this petition and through the messages you delivered to your legislators.

Our House of Representatives voted 96-0 in support.

Nearly EVERY Senator we spoke to said they would vote YES if they were given an opportunity.

However, Senate leadership simply would NOT ALLOW a vote on the bill.

We were been told Senate leadership was holding an ideological line in the sand to NOT pass a single ‘tax exemption’ in 2016. The ruling majority felt they had been beaten up over exemptions in the past and passing this one might be used against them in the future. There was absolutely no rational reason for Senate leadership to classify HB2334 as a ‘tax exemption’ when it was eligible for a vote. That HB 2334 simply restored equal and consistent treatment, and stopped a punishing taxation that was harming our businesses and students, had been well established at this point.

They killed the bill by not allowing a vote and this is why we lost.

Inexplicably, the same Senator who was against a ‘tax exemption’ for martial arts schools, voted two days later for HB 2839 which provided a tax exemption for the airline industry.

So what do we do now? Representative Cindy Ryu (D) has promised to sponsor the bill again in the House of Representatives next year and Senator Judy Warnick (R) has promised to do the same in the Senate. We are pursuing some other options but we’re likely stuck with this unfair tax until the middle of 2017 or beyond.

Thank you all for your efforts in this fight. I am proud to be a founding member, and Acting Board Member, of the WA State Martial Arts Associaton, that was created to fight this unfair tax. It brought together school owners, instructors and students from across the state for the first time. We are a powerful community with great students supporting our efforts. We will continue to fight for what’s right. 

With Gratitude,
Mr. Herrman