State Legislature considering bill to reduce vehicle license tabs

Traci Kesinger was filling up at a gas station in Lynnwood.  When asked about the new, higher vehicle license tabs, she said, "We're a service company. So it hurts us."

And she didn't mince words on what she thinks about Sound Transit and the tab fees meant to fund its light rail projects.

"If Sound Transit worked and it would solve our traffic problems, I'd be for it," said the Bothell businesswoman. "But it's not working that way. I think it's just another way us taxpayers are getting gouged."

"I've got neighbors who are seeing $300, $400 more on their tabs each year," state Rep. Mark Harmsworth, (R) Mill Creek, R-Mill Creek, said.

He blames that on Sound Transit's use of the MSRP or manufacturer's suggested retail price as the basis for determining a vehicle's value.

"When's the last time you ever paid full price for something when you bought a car?" he asked.

Harmsworth is sponsoring a House bill to change the way vehicles are valued.

Chief critic Tim Eyman, architect of several tax-cutting voter initiatives, gave Sound Transit an earful at its meeting Thursday in Seattle.

"All I see is a bunch of board members nodding their heads saying 'we can't do anything,' " he told the board members.

But the transit agency says it could lose $6 billion in revenue and the cost of servicing its bonds.

Harmsworth insists the agency is already saving money because the interest on its debt is lower than expected.

"We've also seen a lot of waste in Sound Transit," Harmsworth said. "Remember they had, what was it, a million-dollar party to open one of the stations? Well that's a lot of car tab right there that could have been reduced in the first place."

The first hearing on the legislation will happen Monday afternoon in the state Senate on a companion bill introduced by Republican Sen. Dino Rossi.