Lawmakers Debate Tax Break for Car Washes - FOX 42: Omaha News, Sports and Weather; |

Lawmakers Debate Tax Break for Car Washes

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Meghan McRoberts


Nebraska state lawmakers are considering giving car washes a tax break that could help the businesses.

The state is considering dropping a sales and usage tax for car washing and waxing.

This could save one Omaha car wash hundreds of dollars a month.

Pat Shannon has owned Big John's car wash for about three years and says he knows he's in a competitive, low profit industry.

"Two dollars starts this car wash, so we're making our money two dollars at a time. We've got to wash an awful lot of cars to really make any money at two dollars," Shannon said.

Shannon says he loses about 14 cents per wash to a sales tax he calls a double tax. Right now Shannon is taxed up front for equipment, soaps, and other cleaning supplies. But he's also taxed in the end on his revenue.

"The double taxation has really hurt the industry for the last 9 years so we have a lot of catch up to do, and a lot of maintenance we've had to put off because we just could not afford to do everything that we needed to do," Shannon said.

Shannon said lawmakers put the law in place years ago on the terms that it would be temporary. Now, Shannon says it's time for them to live up to their word.

Some say the tax, however, encourages the businesses to conserve and control their water usage. Shannon argues that his business actually saves the city water because car owners use less water at his business than they would use with a hose at home.

"It's time to let up on our industry and let us survive," Shannon said.

Should the tax be dropped, Shannon hopes to make upgrades and give some savings to customers.

"We can extend some [wash] times and give them a little more time for washing so they don't have to put in as many quarters in at the end to finish."

State lawmakers have not voted yet on the tax. Nebraska is one of about eight states with a similar tax.

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