Washington state debates cutting tax break for refiners

Washington state lawmakers are reviewing proposed legislation that would do away with a tax exemption currently applicable to refineries operating in the state.

Representatives of the state’s  on Feb. 6 listened to testimony on House Bill 2465, which would eliminate a use tax exemption on fuels extracted or manufactured by a refinery that are then used in the direct operation of that same plant.

While the bill would continue to permit the tax exemption for extractors and manufacturers of biomass fuel, it would require that a refiner use the most recent monthly natural gas wellhead price, as published by the US Energy Information Administration, to value and pay taxes on fuel gas extracted or produced at its own plant, according to documents posted by the Washington State Legislature.

Revenues collected under the proposed refinery fuel gas tax amendment would be dedicated to funding the state’s education system, according to a draft version of the bill.

If approved, the legislation would take effect as of July 1 and could increase state revenues by more than $29 million during fiscal-year 2015, legislative supporting documents showed.

BP PLC, Phillips 66, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Tesoro Corp., and US Oil & Refining Co. all operate Washington refineries.

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