Washington Supreme Court rules against $30 car tabs

Tinsae Shifreaw, Staff Writer

In Washington State, the discussion of $30 car tabs has taken place in the Supreme Court. Previously, car tab costs depended on the car, some ranging from $15 to $200. When the State Supreme Court looked into the bill, they criticized the phrasing of the ballot title. With Initiative 976, many voted “yes” and were expecting the initiative to be implemented in Nov. 2019. 

Activist Tim Eyman was the creator of the $30 car tabs, which a King County Superior Court judge temporarily blocked. However, many cities, counties, and transit agencies sued against the bill taking effect. Many viewed the initiative as unconstitutional and the impact on the transit projects statewide would have been devastating.

The office of the Washington State Attorney General approved of Initiative 976. In a statement, Attorney General Bob Ferguson said, “It’s disappointing that the initiative that Washingtonians supported will not take effect immediately. We look forward to defending the will of the people before the State Supreme Court. We are confident the court will ultimately agree with the trial court’s determination that the initiative is constitutional.”  

The Initiative puts a cap on taxes paid through the annual vehicle registration and revokes state and local authority to add any new taxes and fees. With this new initiative, it would immediately eliminate more than $4 billion in tax revenue by the year 2025. However, the Washington State Supreme Court struck down the initiative.

 Many of the justices spoke about how the ballot misled the voters, thus considered unconstitutional.. Senator Steve O’Ban said in a news release, “Pierce County and the voters in my district voted overwhelmingly for I-976. That’s why I authored a bill to enact $30 car tabs earlier this year. My constituents don’t believe light rail will benefit them, just Seattle. I am deeply disappointed that the court ignored taxpayers, rejected the holding of the lower court, and struck down the voter approved I-976.” 

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