Washington Restaurant Association Expresses Concern Over Gov. Gregoire's Proposal for Pop Syrup Tax Credit Repeal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OLYMPIA-The Washington Restaurant Association responded today to Gov. Gregoire’s proposal to repeal the B&O tax credit for pop syrup, stated within her revised budget and revenue proposal, released Wednesday.

The WRA strongly opposes eliminating the tax credit which provides important relief from the pop syrup tax. Gov. Gregoire and the Legislature agreed to this tax credit in 2006; and in light of the demanding economic climate today, the credit is critical to struggling restaurant owners’ survival.

“I can’t underscore enough our concern that the Governor has emerged with this proposal,” said Anthony Anton, WRA president and CEO. “As the state’s largest private sector employer, providing nearly 200,000 jobs, we wholeheartedly agree with Gov. Gregoire’s assessment in January that jobs are the way out of this recession. However, by imposing crippling new taxes on the thousands of small businesses in our industry, retaining existing and creating new jobs becomes a nearly insurmountable challenge.”

The restaurant industry is also concerned about the additional beverage taxes proposed that would compound the pop syrup tax. The pop syrup tax imposes a $1 per gallon tax on the syrup used to mix soda. The governor’s proposal would add $.05 tax per 12 ounces of carbonated beverage and $.01 per ounce on bottled water purchases.

“Operators on average have a 4.5 percent profit margin,” said Anton. “That means a small restaurant operator grossing $500,000 annually earns only $61 a day in profit, before taxes. We’re very concerned that this will adversely impact the families supported by restaurants and slow job creation.”

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