Sales taxes go up in several WA cities Monday

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by TERESA YUAN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @TeresaYuan

KING5.com

Posted on April 1, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Updated Monday, Apr 1 at 10:08 AM

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- April 1st isn't just "April Fool's Day." It's also the first day sales taxes go up for a number of cities in Washington.
 
In Olympia, voters approved the 0.1% sales tax increase after 5 straight years of budget cuts.

“I know Olympia had laid off walking patrols, school resource officers, they laid off 6 patrol officers, so those were significant cuts they had to make," said Rep. Larry Springer of (D) 42nd Legislative District.

The money generated from the sales tax increase will go to public safety and criminal justice for example hiring police officers. Olympia’s sales tax went from 8.7% to now 8.8%. The increase is 0.1% essentially is an extra penny on a ten dollar purchase

But some businesses fear the higher sales tax could hurt sales on big ticket items like cars.

“With the average consumer stretched thin already and with the economy  on slow but steady comeback, the last thing we need to do is have a distracter and people say 'oh well I'm going on to put this off for another month'," said Frank Kersul General Sales Manager at Hanson Motors in Olympia.

Kersul points out that the new sales tax would only affect car parts and services, not vehicle sales directly. But Kersul say those items do add up. The average buyer spends about $400 on parts and services at the time of purchase.

Kersul worries customers will drive to other cities or down to Oregon where's there's no sales tax.

“Maybe they'll go somewhere else or put the sale off all together and that would be even worse,” said Kersul.

"I'm skeptical that someone would drive to Oregon to buy a car when you're talking about a tenth of a $30,000 purchase. I not sure that's enough motivation," said Rep. Springer.

Several other cities will see their sales taxes go up by  0.1% for public safety including Mill Creek, Okanogan, Sedro Woolley and La Conner.

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