We Lost the Fight... Our Businesses and Cultural Community Sacrificed Over Partisan Politics
Apr 3, 2016 — In Disbelief… Our Martial Art Businesses and Cultural Community Sacrificed Over Partisan Politics
We are saddened to publicly confirm that the bill to fix the current treatment of martial arts schools like health clubs, HB2334, did NOT successfully pass the Senate during the 2016 legislative session which ended on Thursday. We want to thank each and every one of you that was involved in this effort and supported our fight for respect and equal treatment.
It’s taken us a few days to figure out what, how and how much to say… We really thought we had a chance...
This is our summary, thanks to you all and contains a link to a VIDEO of a press conference that speaks for itself.
We are confident we documented beyond ANY shadow of a doubt that the change in law in 2015 was unfair, unequally applied, legalized discrimination and is embarrassing for the State of Washington. It was a mistake or oversight and most lawmakers agreed.
We told them this would crush many of our small businesses and force many, many people, and families who need our services most, to quit martial arts or not begin at all. We told them our educational businesses were too small to absorb the damage this sudden, near 10%, tax increase would cause. We told them some businesses would close and jobs would be lost. We told them that access to self-defense, bully prevention training and the cultural heritage of many of our residents should NEVER be hindered by taxation.
We delivered this information in public testimony, in documentation we hand-delivered to offices, through the lobbyists we hired to help us, via this petition and through the messages you delivered to your legislators. You all really, really impressed with your visits to Olympia, your phone calls, letters and emails.
It was supposed to matter to them...
We are so PROUD of you ALL!
As you likely know most lawmakers were shocked this had happened in the first place and were fully supportive of a bill, HB2334, to fix it. Even the Department of Revenue, who wrote and requested the change in 2015, helped and did not oppose! Our House of Representatives voted 96-0 in support and nearly EVERY Senator we spoke to said they would vote YES if they were given an opportunity.
However, Senate leadership simply would NOT ALLOW a vote on the bill.
Here is a video we did not distribute widely out of respect and optimism. We hoped that rallying support through constituent phone calls and emails would be better than fanning the flames of outrage. We believed they would come around at the end…
Watch a reporter ask leadership about all the emails you folks had sent and ask if they were going to pass the bill? Watch the expressions on their faces when the martial arts tax is mentioned… Look at the smiles and listen to the laughter at the end…
Our businesses, families, homes, futures and even peoples lives are at stake and people are laughing…
We had been told Senate leadership was holding an ideological line in the sand to NOT pass a single ‘tax exemption’ in 2016. We were told the ruling majority felt they had been beaten up over exemptions in the past and feared passing this one might be used against them in the future.
This press conference occurred on March 8, 2016 and there was absolutely NO RATIONAL REASON to be refer to HB2334 as a ‘tax exemption’ at that point in time. That HB2334 simply restored equal and consistent treatment, and stopped a punishing taxation that was harming our businesses and students, had been well established at this point.
Inexplicably, the same Senator who was against a ‘tax exemption’ for martial arts schools, the prototypical mom-and-pop American small business, voted two days later for HB2839 which provided a tax exemption for the airline industry because it would create jobs.
And, because an up/down vote wasn't even allowed, this damaging taxation goes on for another year.
We are NOT, and never will be, a political Association but you all deserve the truth.
We’re pursuing some other options as a community but we’re likely stuck with this until the middle of 2017 and it’s going to hurt us all.
Representative Cindy Ryu (D) has promised to sponsor the bill again in the House of Representatives next year and Senator Judy Warnick (R) has promised to do the same in the Senate.
What can we/you do now? SHOW your passion, outrage, support and help us to keep in touch with you by doing all of the following:
1) SIGN and COMMENT on this petition on change.org, if you haven’t already, and get EVERYONE you know who supports us to sign as well. ASK them to. Send it by social media, email or mail if you have to. We need numbers next year Fall!
2) LIKE our page on Facebook and check in frequently. Washington State Martial Arts Association - Help Us Fight For You
3) CALL and EMAIL your Senators. Tell them how you feel and tell them you expect them to stand up to leadership next year.
4) CALL AND EMAIL your House members and THANK them for doing their part. Ask for their support again next year.
5) DONATE to the WSMAA. PLEASE. We’re all volunteer and we can’t do this without financial support for expenses. Our biggest disappointment is only 119 TOTAL students and school owners donated even $10 to help out.
Continue to be honest.
Continue to be kind.
Continue to be respectful.
Continue to FIGHT.
Washington State Martial Arts School Owners
Keep fighting for people power!
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