By The Tri-City Herald Editorial Board
Of all the new, last-minute tax measures approved by the Legislature two weeks ago, one in particular likely will cause headaches for Mid-Columbia retailers in coming months.
Oregon residents will no longer get a sales tax exemption right away at a Tri-Cities checkout counter.
Thanks to ESSB 5997, out-of-state shoppers will have to pay the sales tax upfront, save their receipts and file for a one-time, yearly reimbursement from the state of Washington.
They will qualify only if the amount they are requesting exceeds $25.
Clay Hill, government affairs director for the Association of Washington Business, said approval of ESSB 5997 was "especially disheartening" because there was a unified voice of opposition by business and retail organizations.
Democratic lawmakers are betting they will raise $53 million for a two-year budget from out-of-state shoppers who don't turn in their paperwork or who don't meet the $25 minimum threshold.
But it is the border communities that will pay the biggest price for the tax grab, and it isn't right to put the burden primarily on the edges of the state.