• Car tab tax cut passes key vote

    By: Essex Porter

    Updated:

    OLYMPIA, Wash. - The plan to give drivers a break on their car tab bills takes a big step today but Republican State senators say it's not enough.

    The plan passed the Senate Transportation Committee today after Democrats decided on a plan that would still allow Sound Transit enough money to extend light rail to Tacoma as voters were promised.

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    ​“That would be great,” said Tacoma commuter Rick Broadhead. “The only way to get up to Seattle right now is on a bus and for me that's a bit inconvenient.”

    But the higher cost for car tabs can be hard to swallow.

    “Just to get my license renewed, yeah it ended up being $400 after everything was all said and done,” said Tacoma commuter Jason King.

    The problem is that Sound Transit has been using a car valuation schedule that overvalues newer cars. 

    Today Democrats leading the Senate Transportation Committee passed legislation to lower the tax by $780 million and allow drivers to get a small rebate if they ask for it. 

    But classrooms could suffer, because Sound Transit could keep a $510 million education payment it's supposed to make, if that's necessary to keep ST3 projects like light rail to Tacoma on schedule.

    “What I like about this bill is that it is balancing what the voters wanted, what the businesses wanted, which is public transportation. And making sure that we are taking a look at the cost of car tabs,” said Redmond Democrat Sen. Manka Dhingra.

    Republican critics wanted a much larger cut in car tabs, 55 percent.

    "Require Sound Transit to come up with cuts from its own largess. Ninety million dollars in spending on Class A rental space. They could certainly find office space in the Seattle area for much less than that,” said Pierce County Republican Sen. Steve O’Ban.

     

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