I mentioned awhile back that a bill was in the works to help churches and other non-profits maintain their property tax exemption even if they host a farmers' market. According to current state law farmers' markets are considered commercial activity that nullifies a non-profit's property tax exemption. This has translated to the churches that host the downtown Spokane and Millwood Farmers' Market paying property taxes on their parking lots and has left the South Perry Farmers' Market in limbo trying to find an alternative location to the church that has hosted them in a parking lot for the past four years.
This whole issue arose when the Department of Revenue was doing a perfunctory review of Millwood Presbyterian Church's property tax exemption status, and they happened to show up on a Wednesday while the market was going on.
The bill has been fine-tuned and is now available for your reading pleasure, HB 2402 Farmers' Market Exemption. Kudos to local Reps. Larry Crouse from the Valley and Timm Ormsby from downtown area who have co-signed on the bill. Special thanks to Ellen Gray, Executive Director of Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network. who has been integral to the process.
Let the lobbying begin. Please contact your State Senator or Representative. Links for Spokane area folk are listed below.
State Representatives for the Millwood Farmers' Market District Email Links:
State Representatives for the Downtown Spokane Farmers' Market and South Perry Farmers' Market Email Links: