The Washington state Senate today passed legislation to alleviate recent cost increases for car tabs in the Puget Sound. Senate Bill 5955, sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, would implement a car tab calculation scale which more accurately reflects true car valuations and provides credit refunds to taxpayers who purchased tabs before September 1, 2018.

“We have heard clearly from both taxpayers and transportation advocates that we need to come to a workable solution that respects the will of the voters to fund Sound Transit projects and provides needed relief to car tab purchasers. This legislation finds that balance,” said Kuderer. “The completed ST3 projects will be an essential resource for commuters and working families in the near future, but we must be responsive to their needs in the present.”

Funding for ST3 projects will be ensured by exempting Sound Transit from the sales and use tax offset fee for up to $518 million. If Sound Transit is able to complete the projects in the timeframe approved by voters, the fee exemption will be lifted and the funds dispersed to the Puget Sound Taxpayer Accountability Account.

“The long-term health and timely delivery of these projects is paramount,” said Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “I think we’ve reached an even compromise on projects as well as car tab relief for folks in these counties who have been saddled with unfair costs. I applaud Sen. Kuderer for her work on this issue and for bringing people together to deliver real relief on behalf of her constituents.”

SB 5955 passed on a vote of 30-14 and now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.