Spin Control

Gun ranges pull for tax break on clay pigeons

OLYMPIA -- Non-profit gun clubs want the Legislature to tell the state to stop double-taxing them for the targets that skeet shooters use.

 The club pays a sales tax when it buys the clay pigeons in bulk, and is required to charge target shooters another tax for each target used in a session. They're being taxed twice for the same clay pigeon, said Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, who proposed a bill to give non-profit clubsan exemption from the taxes.

Couldn't golfers make the same complaint about balls at the golf course, Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, asked.

Not the same thing, Rivers replied. Golfers take possession of the balls.Because of safety concerns, a range employee loads targets into the machine.  "The consumer never physically touches the clay pigeon."

The clubs could raise their fees to cover the taxes, Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Wells, D-Seattle, said. But that would hurt people on limited incomes, and amounts to raising rates to pay an unfair tax, club managers said.

Total cost to the state of granting the tax exemption is estimated at $29,000, the Senate Ways and Means Committee staff said. 

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden is the Olympia bureau chief, covering the Legislature and state government. He also is a political columnist and blogger for Spin Control.

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