Washington sales tax still in place

Sunday, April 30, 2006

OLYMPIA, Wash. - A bill to make all DME exempt from the state sales tax passed muster in the Senate and had support from the governor, but it failed to reach the floor of the House of Representatives before legislators adjourned in early March, killing any chance it had to become law this year.
"They pigeonholed me in the rules committee," said Tom Coogan, vice president of Care Medical, which has branches in Washington and Oregon. "It felt like I was in a car race, and I was in first place, and I could see the checkered flag ahead, but then I blew a tire."
Coogan, backed by the Pacific Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers, has been the face behind the bill for six years. The bill has seen three incarnations during that time.
Currently, DME like home oxygen is tax exempt, but other equipment like nebulizers and CPAP devices are not. Supporters of the bill argue that eliminating the sales tax for all DME would ease the financial burden on already-strapped seniors.
Coogan hasn't ruled out trying to push the measure through the state legislature next year.
"I would like to see the bill come back," he said.