Washington State senator offers friendlier version of car tab fees to help Sound Transit

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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Washington State senator has introduced a measure that would have car tab fees reflect Kelley Blue Book values.
Sound Transit

Washington State Sen. Marko Liias is trying to sell at the Kelley Blue Book price. The lawmaker has drafted a bill that could help Sound Transit remove some of the sting of Initiative 976, which was approved by voters last November.

Initiative 976, currently being blocked by the courts, puts a $30 cap on car tab fees, which have been helping fund Sound Transit’s massive system expansion. Liias is proposing the creation of a different valuation table that more reflects Kelley Blue Book numbers. The new table would go into effect in 2021. ST3, which laid out funding for Sound Transit, does call for a valuation table similar to Blue Book values, but it is not supposed to kick in until 2028.

Liias says his formula would only lower car tabs by about $30 to $40 in Sound Transit’s taxing district. His measure also would give commuters the option to pay car tabs on monthly or quarterly payment plans.

“I do think we need to provide more payment options to consumers,” Liias said in a statement. “When you pay your car loan, when you pay your auto insurance, you have options for how to pay those. I think it’s time to give our consumers, our taxpayers, those same options to pay quarterly, to pay monthly.”

The Liias measure will need two-thirds approval by the state legislature.

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