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Auburn officials: pull tab, punchboard ordinance working as expected

Before 2012, the City of Auburn, like the cities of Bellevue and Renton, assessed a straight 5-percent tax on all pull tabs and punchboard operations inside City limits, without regard to any prize.

But businesses with pull tabs and punchboards, like the Home Plate Tavern and Rainbow Cafe along Auburn's Main Street, the Sports Page Tavern on Auburn's north end, and the Iron Horse Casino on 15th Street Northeast, found that too much of a burden.

So in a letter to the City, the Sports Page Tavern asked the City Auburn for a bit of relief.

On Feb. 14 2012, the City changed things a bit, option for a 10-percent tax on net receipts from the operations of pull tabs and punchboards, minus what is awarded in cash or merchandise prizes.

State law allows cities and counties one of the two options.

The question City leaders pondered this week — how's it working, two years in?

Apparently, about what everybody thought it was going to do.

"When we did this on Feb. 14 2012, we had anticipated $20,000 less in revenue," recalled City Councilmember Wayne Osborne. "And they had anticipated we would make about $30,000 a year. You can see we are just at $30,000 year, so in fact, we are staying within the parameters we were thinking at that time... And that was important, in my opinion."

"We are in the ballpark in terms of what everybody else is doing. The two cities closest to us, Kent and Federal Way, are doing exactly what we are doing," said Auburn City Attorney Dan Heid.

"In other words, Ordinance 6398, as it now stands, is working," said Councilman Bill Peloza.

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