Hello everyone, please take a moment and read through this letter from the Washington State Martial Arts School Owners.
Halt and reverse the imposing of retail sales tax on the participants of martial arts and self defense classes in Washington state in 2016. Retail sales tax can total as high as 9.6% in certain areas! In a time of rising random violence against adults, and rampant bullying of children, making martial arts instruction in any aspect of self protection more expensive is the wrong thing to do. Instruction in the martial arts has traditionally been esteemed in the community for the unparalleled benefits participants receive when learning these cultural art forms. In 2015 HB 1550 was proposed and passed without notification or chance for opposing viewpoint by any member of the martial arts business community. This law redefined any facility teaching martial arts as an ‘athletic or fitness facility’. The law then stipulated that any business done inside the walls of an ‘athletic or fitness facility’ is subject to retail sales tax. No small business can absorb a 9.6% sales tax so these costs must be passed on to the consumer. Equally troubling is the cultural discrimination inherent in the exclusion and protection of businesses that exclusively teach yoga, tai chi and chi gong. Why are two cultural practices from China, and one traditionally associated with India, protected and esteemed higher than the cultural arts of the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Brazil or France for example? This bill simplified the law primarily benefiting the Department of Revenue and the Department of Parks & Recreation but penalizes the consumer with a massive tax increase on a truly special and necessary educational activity. Please halt implementation of HB 1550 and amend the law to grant the same protection from taxation to similar cultural arts that was afforded to yoga, tai chi and chi gong.
Respectfully, Washington State Martial Art School Owners