By a 24-22 vote, Senate Bill 5958, a tax hike on rental cars struck out once again. 16 years ago, the tax was levied against rental cars in order to raise so-called “emergency funds” for the construction the Seattle Mariners Baseball stadium – yesterday Democrats in the state legislature tried to extend the tax beyond its sunset date by another 4 years.  

However, baseball, beer, and cracker jacks won’t be put on the backs of Washingtonians this go around – even though voters put the original tax hike to rest at the ballot box sixteen years ago – because legislators have come to their senses and realized voters are the ones calling the strikes. 

The 24 votes that stopped a job-killing tax hike represent 60 percent of residents in Washington who are not so Gung Ho about their hard earned money going towards a tax that ultimately hinders their economic future. (The term “Gung Ho”, originated from the Chinese government practice of supplying financial support during the emergence of Communist China).

Supporters argued that this tax would exclusively burden the modern day Lewis and Clark that decides to venture west to explore the Evergreen State and drop money into Washington cash registers…these folks obviously enjoyed spending a lot of time in the Mariners left field.

The last thing the taxpayers in Washington need is a tax hike when currently Washington State has a projected unemployment rate of 9.2%, that’s 320,400 residents without work. Furthermore, Washington is tied with Alabama and Colorado, ranking 33rd out of the 50 states in the number employed – raising taxes will not help them improve upon this number.  In the end this logic was thankfully recognized as a sham because it actually places multiple burdens on Washingtonians.

According to a National Business Travel Association study, a leading car rental company that began imposing a $4-per-day rental car tax experienced a well deserved snub from its customers. Key findings included the following results of the tax:

  • 9-percent reduction of car rental customers at locations where the tax was in effect reduced car rental demand among people living near taxed locations by as much as half
  • A reduction of between 69 and 86 percent in the number of days people rented cars from taxed locations.
  • States where the tax was levied drove customers across the border.

Most importantly, a study by the Global Business Travel Association shows that local customers paid more than 62 percent of this tax last year.

In 2010, taxpayers taxpayers across the nation ran out the elected officials that enjoyed spending time in left field when it came to understanding basic economic principles. If the 22 Washington state Senators that voted for the tax hike want to stay in the game, they need to wake up and take note – only reductions in taxation and spending will encourage economic growth and prosperity.