Senate Bill 5483 would double the current watercraft excise tax on September 1, 2021. The bill sponsored by Senator Steve Hobbs was heard Monday in the Senate Transportation Committee. I testified in opposition to this provision.
Boaters are currently the only users of the state’s waterways, roadways, and air space that pay a percentage-based excise tax to the state. Owners of cars do not pay this tax to the state anymore, and neither do owners of motor homes, planes, or helicopters. Doubling a tax on the only user group already paying an excise tax to the state is unfair and inappropriate.
Washington is home to a robust and thriving marine trade industry. Thousands of citizens are employed in the building, maintenance, sale and chartering of watercraft. With our abundant waterways – Puget Sound, the San Juans, and countless lakes and rivers – Washington is one of the country’s most active boating states.
Doubling the tax on boaters will have a chilling effect on this important industry. It will also drive the dream of boat ownership out of the range of many hard-working Washington families. WR implores the Transportation Committee and entire legislature to reject doubling the watercraft tax.