Update: Bill to make Oregonians pay some sales tax not technically dead

By Stevie Mathieu, Columbian assistant metro editor

Published:

Updated: February 8, 2012, 6:12 PM

 

A piece of state legislation that would make Oregonians pay some sales tax is not technically dead, as was previously reported in a story on The Columbian's website.

Some bills are exempt from cutoff deadlines because lawmakers in leadership positions have designated those bills as necessary to figuring out the budget. Senate Bill 6061, which would change the way Oregonians pay retail sales tax, is likely one of those bills, said Sen. Craig Pridemore, D-Vancouver.

The bill would require out-of-state shoppers to pay the retail sales tax – 8.2 percent in Vancouver, for example. Each year, shoppers would have to apply online for a refund of the state’s portion of that tax, which is 6.5 percent, as long as their refund totals at least $25.

The legislation, which was proposed by state Sen. Cheryl Pflug, R-Maple Valley, has worried some Southwest Washington business owners who said the proposal would deter Oregonians from shopping in Washington. If passed the bill is expected to raise about $18 million in state revenue.

The bill received a public hearing in the Senate Ways and Means Committee late last month, but the committee has not yet voted on whether to pass the legislation.

There aren’t clear-cut rules when it comes to exempting a bill from cutoff rules. Generally, an exempt bill is one “referenced in the budget that requires making a statutory change to achieve savings,” according to the Washington Policy Center.