Clallam County to restore sales tax rate

Clallam County has given notice that its 0.2 percent sales tax holiday will sunset April 1.

Clallam County has given notice that its 0.2 percent sales tax holiday will sunset April 1.

Commissioners Mike Chapman and Mark Ozias voted Tuesday to notify the state Department of Revenue that the tax on items purchased in unincorporated areas will be restored to 8.4 percent.

Commissioner Bill Peach voted no.

“I will be voting in favor of this, not because I’m in favor of raising taxes on one of my first votes as commissioner, but because I have serious concerns about the long-term sustainability of the county budget,” said Ozias, who was sworn in as the east county’s District 1 commissioner Dec. 29.

“In consultation with my fellow commissioners and others, I’ve only had those concerns reaffirmed,” Ozias continued.

“I believe that reinstating the sales tax to its previous level is a solid first step in terms of helping to address some of the long-term structural problems of the county budget.”

Since county policy requires an ordinance to change the optional sales tax, final action will occur after a public hearing Jan. 26.

The hearing will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles.

Counties must give the state Department of Revenue 75 days notice to change the 0.5 percent optional sales tax.

Last April, commissioners voted unanimously to lower the sales tax to 8.2 percent in an effort to stimulate the local economy.

The tax break means a $100 purchase costs 20 cents less now than it did before the reduction took effect July 1.

The tax holiday also represents a $1 million hit to county coffers if left in place for an entire year.

Clallam County budgeted $4.6 million in sales tax revenue for 2016 based an earlier forecast of robust economic growth.

County Administrator Jim Jones said he and Chief Accountant Stan Creasey now project that the county will be $450,000 to $500,000 short of the $4.6 million target.

 

Rob Ollikainen is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

 

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