Previous Year’s Report

Washington State Report – March, 2008

2008 Legislative Session ended on March 13th
The 2008 legislative session began on Monday, January 14th and will conclude on March 13, 2008.

The Washington Oil Marketers Association has had a busy session, once again.  Our bill tracking list includes 78 bills, of which 15 are high priority bills.

Highlights include:

  • We worked to kill a proposal imposing a 2% alternative fuel sales mandate on all supplier licensees – which would have effectively undermined the statewide volumetric mandates adopted two years ago.
  • We also worked to make sure the heating oil dealers would be protected if the HVAC/R licensure bill were to pass.  This issue is not yet finally resolved, but we expect there will be another year of study on the issue – giving us a chance to get more protections than we had won this year.
  • We worked to amend and pass a bill giving a B&O tax credit to gas station owners who install backup power generators.  The credit is equal to 50% of the cost of the installation of the system, including the direct cost of the generator, the labor and the ancillary installation costs.  The limit of the credit is $25,000.00.
  • Now, we are facing the climate change bill, HB 2815.  The bill has several different provisions all aimed at addressing, and reducing, emissions of green house gases.  This bill is being worked by the major industrial and environmental groups, along with the director of the Department of Ecology and the Governor.  One of the key provisions will require CO2 emissions reporting for all entities that burn more than 246,000 gallons of fuel per year.  We were able to get an amendment adopted on the House floor giving a deferral from emissions reporting for entities engaged in interstate trucking, but we still need to address the reporting requirements for those distributors who are doing business in states other than Washington.

Agency Issues

  • The Department of Revenue would like to meet with WOMA members to walk through the upcoming changes in the sales tax collection processes.  We will want to call a meeting as soon as possible, and perhaps invite them to make a presentation at our annual meeting.
  • The Department of Licensing has been looking into gas pricing structures of the Spokane tribe.  At the request of member companies, Lea and I contacted the DOL asking about the tribal compact signed with the Spokane Tribe, and requesting an investigation into the tribe’s compliance with the compact and statute.  Since our inquiry, the price of the fuel has increased by about 20 cents, to be competitive with the street prices at surrounding facilities, however there is still evidence of below cost selling in that marketplace.
  • The Department of Ecology will be engaging the association membership in a review and possible revision of the Marine Fuel Handling rules.  Warren Akervick has been able to get the attention of the agency and key legislators to try and get some changes in the rules that reflect realities of the practice.  Thank you Warren!

Elections

  • Linda Haddon addressed the Board of Directors during their meeting on February 26th.  She is running against Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen in the November general election.  Support from the distributor class of trade will be very important as Linda tries to unseat an entrenched incumbent candidate.
  • WOMA PAC currently has reached about 75% of its campaign goal for the year.  I am hoping to raise the remaining funds through the end of August so that we can get the help to the candidates in a timely fashion for the general election.
  • Unfortunately, funding for continuation of work on the SW Pipeline Expansion project did not survive the budget process.  But Charlie and Lea will continue to work the issue and try to secure funding for continuation of this process.  With budgets being so tight, and the State facing a serious deficit, funds for further help from the State will be hard to secure.