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Published on Friday, January 16, 2015

County utility tax authority proposal

Next week, the House Local Government Committee is scheduled to hear HB 1133, which would allow counties to impose a utility tax on electricity, natural gas, sewer, cable, solid waste, water and telephone. Under current law, cities can impose a tax on the gross operating revenues earned by private utilities from operations within the boundaries of a city and by a city's own municipal utilities. Counties do not have this taxing authority.

This proposal allows counties to impose a utility tax under the following conditions:

  • The rate may not exceed 6%.
  • The tax may be imposed on a utility serving city customers. However, the county must provide a credit against the tax for any utility tax imposed by a city.
  • The tax may be submitted to voters but is not required to be.

AWC is reviewing this proposal and will provide comments to the prime sponsor and the Washington State Association of Counties prior to the hearing scheduled for Thursday, January 22, at 1:30 pm in the House Local Government Committee. Cities with comments about this proposal can contact AWC’s Victoria Lincoln or Serena Dolly.

Categories: Budget & finance