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Washington using gift cards to balance the books?

Post by Kim Bradford on June 30, 2009 at 3:59 pm with No Comments »
June 30, 2009 3:59 pm

An interesting story in the Wall Street Journal today: Financially strapped states are going after unused gift cards. Even more interesting: The paper’s interactive graphic makes it seem like Washington state is one of the most aggressive states in that regard.


But, alas, it’s not true. Mike Gowrylow at the Department of Revenue said the graphic is in error. The Legislature changed the law way back in 2004 to allow companies to keep the money from gift cards in exchange for prohibiting expiration dates or inactivity fees that eat into the balance.


Gowrylow sounds a bit frustrated with the national press:


Unfortunately, we’ve had several of these national rankings that were way off base. Forbes magazine, for example, recently rated Washington has having the eighth-highest personal taxes in the nation. The problem was they mistakenly counted the business-and-occupation tax a personal tax while excluding corporate income taxes. I pointed out their error and they never corrected it, but then they published another overall taxes-relative-to-personal-income ranking that was more accurate and based on tax foundation data (we ranked 35th).

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