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WA gas tax talking points

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This is not a comprehensive description, just a set of useful talking points to use when educating your elected representatives (or anyone else that needs some learnin')

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OFFROAD VEHICLE FUEL TAX REFUND

Pursuant to the Washington State Constitution, Article I, Section 40 the fuel tax collected must be used for highway purposes or refunded.

In 1972 the offroad vehicle community supported passage of legislation that waived their right to that refund in exchanged for having those same funds put into a dedicated account to promote and protect their sport.

To accomplish this, the Nonhighway and Offroad Vehicle Activities (NOVA) account was created. This account was administered by the Washington State Inter-Agency Committee for Outdoor Recreation (IAC).

The intent of the NOVA program, per the IAC policy guidelines from 1973 is as follows: “the goal of the IAC in its administration and distribution of ATV Funds is to increase the available trails and areas for all-terrain vehicles by operating a program to provide funding assistance to local and state agencies for the planning, acquisition, development of land and facilities for ATV use.”

The NOVA advisory committee was created and staffed with various offroad vehicle representatives to direct how the funds were actually spent.

To determine the portion of the fuel tax monies that would be directed to the NOVA account a study was conducted. The study found that 4.6 percent of the monies should be allocated. In 1974 the Legislature chose to ignore these findings and allocate 1 percent instead.

In 1985 the Non Highway Roads (NHR) program was created by the Legislature. This program diverted 20 percent of the NOVA account funds away from the original intent of the NOVA program.

Clearly some portion of the unfunded 3.6 percent portion of the fuel tax identified in the original fuel use study must be attributed to other users such as equestrians, hikers and mountain bikers traveling in vehicles on non-highway roads (NHR) to trailheads. That 3.6 percent is where the NHR funding should rightly come from.

During the 1990 session, the Legislature raised the fuel tax from 18 cents per gallon to 23 cents per gallon. This same legislation placed a cap on the NOVA funding and required that its portion to be based on only 18 cents per gallon instead of the actual 23 cents per gallon collected, further reducing the original one percent allocation.

Senate Bill SB5844 was introduced in 1997 and would have corrected these inequities. It was passed by the Senate 49 to1, but was killed by the House Budget Committee and was never allowed a vote of the full House of Representatives.

Unfortunately as time has passed, the State gas tax rate has increased to 37.5 cents per gallon, but the cap on the portion to be refunded into the NOVA account has only been raised to 23 cents per gallon.

In 2007 the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee issued a report addressing this inequity and recommended revising the RCW. (see page 135 of this report)

HB2819 in 2008 and HB2101 in 2009 were introduced to comply with these findings but both times these bills were not even allowed as much as a committee hearing.

In addition to the fuel tax refund allocation inequities, the integrity and legitimacy of the NOVA program has been further compromised by a variety of other funding diversions.

Currently 36 percent of these funds are allocated to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Historically the DNR has not been able to account for how these monies are actually used. Additional funds are allocated to law enforcement in areas without ORV recreation opportunities and various non-motorized recreation projects.

This misallocation is facilitated by a revised NOVA advisory committee structure where ORV recreation representatives comprise only three of the fifteen committee members.

Since its inception, the NOVA program has incrementally evolved into a mere shell of its original intent. Considering how small portion of the fuel taxes paid by offroad vehicle enthusiasts actually get refunded for expenditures on their behalf, the current situation is very unfair and quite likely a blatant violation of our State Constitution.

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+1 Thank you Tod! It's nice to see in writing what we are fighting for. How do you stay sane fighting this crap all the time?:p

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How do you stay sane fighting this crap all the time?:p

Don't assume that I do :ride:

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So maybe we should ALL apply directly for a refund of this tax and then spend it as we see fit in the orv comunity. go here to do it...

http://www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/ftrefunds.html

Joe

Joe,

Good point.... The tax refund could be used to paid the $25/yr WHOVA membership fee. If nothing else, we should all participate in asking for the refund to get their attention. I recall my dad doing this back in the 70's for the gas he used in the boat.

andy t.

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So maybe we should ALL apply directly for a refund of this tax and then spend it as we see fit in the orv comunity. go here to do it...

http://www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/ftrefunds.html

Joe

What they don't mention in the instructions is your ORV fuel use is excluded.

When you mark the use square "OTHER" and fill in the blank with ORV or dirkbike or whatever, you'll just get a nasty-gram instead of a check.

Another option might be to get USCG numbers for your bike and check the "BOAT" square instead.

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Joe,

Good point.... The tax refund could be used to paid the $25/yr WHOVA membership fee. If nothing else, we should all participate in asking for the refund to get their attention. I recall my dad doing this back in the 70's for the gas he used in the boat.

andy t.

If you have a boat, save all your slips, you can get all the road tax back!

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but this only applies to boats that you buy gas for on land. no road tax on marine fuel.

I'm sure they will come up with a waterway tax. Maybe to offset your carbon footprint. :p

Now if you have a large tank in your boat, fill it up at a marina, then use that fuel in your bike.

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I'm sure they will come up with a waterway tax. Maybe to offset your carbon footprint. :)

Now if you have a large tank in your boat, fill it up at a marina, then use that fuel in your bike.

the sad part is even without the gas tax, marine fuel is freakishly expensive. when gas was 4.50 a gallon, boaters were paying at least 5.50.

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the sad part is even without the gas tax, marine fuel is freakishly expensive. when gas was 4.50 a gallon, boaters were paying at least 5.50.

It used to be if you had enough boaters going in on the purchase, it was cheaper to hire a tanker truck load of fuel.

A at least one boat race, we had VP bring in a truckload of nice clean fresh consistant race gas.

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Now if you have a large tank in your boat, fill it up at a marina, then use that fuel in your bike.

Do they dye marine dock gasl like they do with farm gas?

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Ah, red off road diesel. :)

. . . and those darn glass fuel filter bowls.

Funny how the WSP knows right where to look :banghead:

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. . . and those darn glass fuel filter bowls.

Funny how the WSP knows right where to look :)

I have heard they can swipe the tail pipe of a diesel and it will show if you have been running red dye. This is just what I have heard, not personal experience.

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Couple of thoughts:

With all of the problems with NOVA funding and the NOVA Advisory committee it should go away, but the difficulty of replacement is too great to risk losing NOVA.

The OHV community needs to get organized and vocal enough to prevent the loss of NOVA and effect positive restructuring of NOVA.

If the NOVA advisory committee goes away all control of the NOVA funds will be lost. Then the problem becomes one of dismantling the NOVA funding process. If we returned to pre NOVA there would be a net loss of gas tax money to the state because the refunds would be at 37.5 per gallon rate, and DNR would lose funding that would result in a reduction in staff and activities.

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If we returned to pre NOVA there would be a net loss of gas tax money to the state because the refunds would be at 37.5 per gallon rate,

Correct, except a lot of people would not bother to apply for refunds so the State may not experience a reduction in the monies that they keep.

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