Do you want more tax dollars going to zoos and aquariums?
Alyne Fortgang wrote this helpful step-by-step guide to create an email opposing a new bill in the Washington state senate that would allow zoos and aquariums to stop paying business and occupation taxes. It’s a short session this time, so please send this email in the next week
Subject line: Please oppose SB 6299. No B &O exemption for zoos and aquariums
To: Christine.Rolfes@leg.wa.gov, David.Frockt@leg.wa.gov,
Body of email: The largest of the zoological venues that would benefit by being exempt from the B&O tax is Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Since 2002 it has taken over $153 MILLION Dollars from Seattle taxpayers and about $61 MILLION dollars from King County taxpayers. ENOUGH is enough.
In Supreme Court Case No. 92846 Fortgang v. Woodland Park Zoological Society, the zoo argued that it “…is not administering public programs” It is contradictory of Woodland Park Zoo to claim it doesn’t provide public programs and then have its hand out for money claiming that it does. Did Woodland Park Zoo lie to the Supreme Court or is it lying to the Ways and Means committee?
In Supreme Court Case No. 92846 Fortgang v. Woodland Park Zoological Society, the zoo argued and the Court accepted the Zoo’s own admission of being a PRIVATE entity. Therefore as this private business it should live within its budget and pay the B & O tax as other non-profits do.
If zoos are exempted from the B&O tax, the Department of Revenue estimates the loss would be about $4 million through fiscal year 2025. These revenues are needed for high priority issues. No tax exemption for these entertainment venues.
The four organizations which stand to benefit from this tax exemption are all in the Puget Sound region while the rest of Washington State loses funds for priority issues. No tax exemption for entertainment venues. Let zoos and aquariums live within their budgets.
Public support for zoos is falling. Woodland Park Zoo’s gate attendance has declined over the past decade despite the population boom in the region. Let the zoo live within it’s budget and shrink to accommodate fewer visitors.No scientific, evidence-based research supports the Zoo’s time worn claim that zoo visits produce statistically significant educational or conservation gains. The Zoo industry’s own research shows this. The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums conducted a survey in 2014 and found that people’s willingness to protect wild animals or to protect wild habitat actually DECREASED after a zoo visit. It’s time to reduce and eliminate tax payer handouts! No B&O exemption for these entertainment venues.