Editor’s note: Later posts in this series revise the loophole’s size to $59 million, according to newly available 2014 data from the WA OFM. The $41 million noted below is based on earlier calculations.

Washington’s accidental tax loophole for oil refiners is getting a hearing at the state capitol.

Targeted for closure by Governor Inslee and the House democrats, the oil industry’s last hope for protecting its $41 million annual gift from taxpayers is in the republican-controlled Senate. That explains why a key Senate committee is holding a work session on what they are calling “energy sector taxation and recycled fuels.”

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  • It looks like a green-washing turn of phrase was the best the oil lobbyists could come up with. But the truth is, Washington’s oil refiners take advantage of unintentionally loose language in a decades-old statute to avoid a tax that everyone else pays. So to clear up what this is all about, I’ve put together a helpful backgrounder:

    FACT SHEET: Washington’s Extracted Fuel Tax Loophole

    And if you want to dig deeper, Sightline has written in more detail about it:

    The Senate committee’s work session will be held in Olympia on April 17 at 8:00 a.m. in the J.A. Cherberg Building, Senate Hearing Room 4.