State Senate Republicans introduce new bold bill in effort to lower car tab fees

A new bill was introduced by State Senate Republicans Friday stating the Department of Licensing would stop collecting all the fees if Sound Transit doesn't budge on the issue. (Photo: KOMO News)

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The fight to lower your car tab fees was taken to a new level on Friday by some Republican State Senators.

A new bill was introduced stating the Department of Licensing would stop collecting all the fees if Sound Transit doesn't budge on the issue.

Vehicle owners in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties are experiencing sticker shock this month from their car tab fees.

"It was quite a surprise," said Steve Hansford, whose car tabs went from about $200 to $500. "I just don't understand how that wasn't brought out and really, in a big way."

The new money is to pay for the voter-approved Sound Transit 3, which is meant to expand mass transit services such as light rail over the next 20 years.

The amount you pay is based on the manufacturer's suggested retail price and depreciation calculation Sound Transit says it has been using for two decades.

But, members of both parties in both houses are concerned about the soaring car tab prices and claim that calculation is way above the car's actual value.

When the ST3 bill was passed, they said they thought a newer, fairer calculation would be used.

The new Republican Senate Bill introduced Friday, states if nothing happens, the State Department of Licensing will stop collecting the fee altogether.

"We're not going to allow a state agency, the Department of Licensing, to basically be an accomplice to collecting this MVET schedule that is inflated and unfair," said Sen Steve O'Ban, (R-Lakewood).

Last week, O'Ban and Sen. Dino Rossi (R-Sammamish) sent a letter to the DOL asking for relief.

The newest bill comes just days after Senate Democrats revealed five bills of their own, attempting to lower car tab fees.

The DOL said it will do what it's told.

"We'll follow the law. If the law changes, we'll absolutely follow the law." said Tony Sermonti from the state Department of Licensing.

Sound Transit said it is hearing the concerns and is looking at moving up a different calculation that was due to take place in a decade.

"What we're looking at now is the feasibility of moving to a more favorable schedule more quickly then the current timeline of 2028," said Sound Transit spokesman Geoff Patrick.

The agency also said any lowering of the car tabs will affect their projects.

Sound Transit said it's already facing a possible loss of a billion dollars in federal light rail funding from President Trump's budget proposal.

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