Tacoma enacts $20 car tab fee and tax cut to hospitals

TACOMA, Wash. -- Car tabs in Tacoma are about to go up $20 after the city council approved the hike, along with getting rid of a tax cut for hospitals.

It's an effort to improve roads and save jobs, but not everyone is happy.

"I don't think that's very good," said Tacoma resident Herman Czarnik. "We're up pretty high from years ago and they're just working on getting it up again."

The car tabs will raise $4 million, but the city of Tacoma had to cut much more than $4 million out of its road repair fund. The increase in the car tab is the best way the city council saw to help fill the budget hole of more $60 million.

The extra fee is already in place in 23 other cities including Seattle, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds, Bremerton and Olympia.

At the same time, the Tacoma City Council eliminated a tax break to the city's non-profit hospitals. That will bring in a projected $5.5 million for the city's general fund, which they say will go a long way towards saving firefighter and police jobs that were threatened.

"It was necessary to balance the city's budget and avoid even further layoffs of fire fighters and police officers," said Steve Call, Tacoma's finance director.

When Tacoma city council members found themselves in such a big hole, they vowed to come up with ways to keep up the roads, and keep up the jobs. They found it in car tabs and hospitals.

The Tacoma Fire Department says it is still working under the impression that there will still need to be some layoffs.