SEATTLE — According to the Puget Sound Car Wash Association (PSCWA) website, the association is lobbying for a state retail sales tax exemption for all carwashes in Washington state.

The reason for this sales tax exemption, the article stated, is that water quality is the largest environmental issue facing the Puget Sound, according to the EPA and DOE, and estimates claim that 75 percent of all pollution entering the Puget Sound comes from untreated runoff in residential neighborhoods, with a significant contributor to these pollutants being driveway washing.

Since commercial carwashes are highly regulated, PSCWA wants to promote the use of professional carwashing with education and incentives, such as this sales tax exemption, because, the article noted, local governments do not enforce DOE-mandated ordinances prohibiting the types of pollutants discharged in driveway washing.

The PSCWA cites five reasons for lobbying for a sales tax exemption, the article noted:

  • There is much legislative precedent in granting sales tax exemptions as long as those exemptions have a meaningful purpose.
  • Both the EPA and DOE recommend professional carwashing over driveway washing to reduce pollution in municipal waterways.
  • Of the 45 states that impose a sales tax, 29 provide exemptions for commercial carwashes.
  • Most cities in the state admit that driveway washing greatly contributes to water pollution but that they do little to enforce unlawful discharges.
  • “Higher clean water standards as well as increased costs for permitting, labor, utilities and access to treatment facilities all create barriers to entry for new and ongoing operations of commercial car wash facilities.”

According to the article, in 2015, only 0.0008 percent of all sales tax revenue generated in Washington state (or $6,817,844) came from commercial carwashes ¾ a small sum compared to the total amount of resources the state spends on clean water programs.

You can contribute to the cause here.