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Editorial: Don't get too worked up about gas tax

"In Washington, the Squaxin and Swinomish tribes – both small and relatively far from large population centers – filed federal lawsuits to be rid of the 31-cents-a-gallon state gas tax. In November, U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly ruled in their favor.

It’s important to note that Washington State already rebates to 14 tribes the estimated state gas taxes paid by their members and enterprises. All recognized tribes are entitled to the same deal. Zilly’s ruling goes far beyond these exemptions for Indians; it applies to sales to non-tribal members.

Limited to the Squaxins and Swinomish, it can’t hurt the state much. The potential harm arises from the possibility that all 29 tribes in this state – including those with reservations close to big cities and major highways – will be empowered to open and operate gas stations free of the state tax. By some estimates, the state could lose upwards of $100 million a year in highway revenue under this scenario, money the road system depends on. But that scenario involves some big ifs."

Get the Story:
Washington gas tax benefits tribes, too (The Tacoma News-Tribune 5/16)

Related Stories:
State seeks gasoline tax agreement with tribes (5/15)
Washington tribes meet with state over taxes (5/1)
Two Washington tribes reach deal on state gas tax (01/27)
Washington to use gas tax decision against tribes (12/7)
Supreme Court upholds state tax on reservation fuel (12/07)