Washington State Rep. Steve Tharinger, D-Sequim, introduced his second piece of legislation Jan. 26.
The bill, House Bill 1573, proposes counties can implement an excise tax of up to 5 percent on the severing of minerals from the land or waters within the county.
Tharinger said Jefferson County has expressed interest in such a tax, which would apply largely to gravel pits.
The counties would be free to choose whether or not they would adopt the tax, he said.
“The impact (of mineral severance) on roads and on infrastructure to counties can be considerable,” he said. “This can be an opportunity to recapture some of those costs.”
Tharinger said there already is an excise tax on harvesting timber, which is a renewable resource — gravel is not.
The tax would vary from 1-5 percent and would apply to the wholesale value of the mineral, not the full production cost. Half of the tax would go to the county’s general fund and the other half would go to the county’s road fund.
The bill must make it through two committees before it goes before the Washington state House of Representatives for a vote.
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