Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fife Works Toward Tax on Loading Dock Doors: Will Set Precedent

The City of Fife, following a proposal before its City Council, has formed a Stakeholders Group to report this issue. Currently, the deadline for the report is the first of May, with Fife Council potential action on May 12.

Whether that action will be a hearing or adoption of an ordinance is currently undetermined.

The proposed tax ($100/active door) is based on state law for business licensing by the City, not by any taxing on trucks (which could potentially come under U.S. Constitutional authority of interstate commerce). Background documents for this proposed tax are available here. The background documents are:
  • Agenda for Stakeholders Mtg-Loading Dock Doors, March 12, 2009

  • Excerpt, Fife City Council Regular Meeting, Feb. 10, 2009, Public Hearing, pg. 3.
  • Memo, Stakeholder Meeting for Loading Dock Door Tax, 2-03-09

  • Fife Loading Dock Door Tax Fact Sheet

  • Map, Fife Truck Routes

  • Memo, Fife note to City Council for Public Hearing to be held 1-27-09

  • Concept Paper, Fife, Loading Dock Door Tax

  • Inventory of Loading Doors in the City

  • Fife Example of Truck Route Cost

  • Fife proposed Ordinance No. 1693

New Background document: Opinion Memo

For a Hobbesian choice, Fife City Manager Steve Worthington has said in stakeholders meeting, that Fife would not adopt or keep this tax if the state legislature passed a city street utility tax law, currently as HB 1947.

Fife is the first of a number of small cities considering this revenue source. Mentioned as considering the proposed tax: Renton, Tukwila, Kent, Auburn, Sumner, Puyallup; collectively know as the Valley Cities. However, if Fife is successful, you can bet cities of all sizes will go this way. Spokane is reportedly working on adopting it now.

The Chamber is considering action. Please let us know your sentiments with your comments to this blog or by contacting Gary Brackett, 253-627-2175.


  1. I'm certain you know my take on this. We continue to be taxed and regulated to death. How do businesses cover for this additional taxation?
    It would cost us $5400 per year if they taxed our doors in Tacoma. B&O tax, excise tax, property and personal property taxes, federal income tax, how much more can we absorb? Plus the registration program and fee Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is considering for trucking companies who own or host diesel emitting trucks. On top of this economy, these elected officials don't get it!

    No more.

  2. Just between you and I, this is not surprising since these cities are facing a deficit and need additional revenue. While the $100 per door may not seem like a lot, perception is that this is another accessorial charge which shippers have to deal with when coming to the PNW. This is a discretionary Port(Tacoma & Seattle) even though some believe otherwise. Shippers have choices well beyond the PNW so putting out things like this, MMH container tax plan, a push to mirror the LGB trucking model by some groups and most recently the Neah Bay tug initiative continually makes the hurdles of doing business in the PNW that much greater.

    You’ve got to love it when we’re trying to bring business back into this economy.

  3. TAX TAX TAX. Humm dont see anywhere in this that the port is affected? No doors, No Tax? The bulk of the offenders, as they are the bulk of the traffic. Just drive down PITTs OF TACOMA ROAD. what a joke. Get Real. Washington's taxing us to death, now Fife is standing in line too.
    Well get ready to tax those EMPTY doors.
    NO MORE, I second that.