House approves Sound Transit 3 car-tab fee relief lite; Republicans say it’s not enough

Legislator: Rep. Mark Harmsworth
Run Time: 78 seconds
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The State House of Representatives voted Wednesday, 60-37, to approve a Democratic-sponsored bill that would provide some relief from Sound Transit 3’s expensive car-tab fees. Republicans say, however, the measure doesn’t go far enough. John Sattgast reports.

SATTGAST: In a side-by-side comparison, the Republican proposal on a 2017 Honda Accord would provide a 78-dollar car-tab reduction. The Democratic bill that passed the House Wednesday would cut those tabs by only 31-dollars. This is Mill Creek Republican Representative Mark Harmsworth.

HARMSWORTH: “This is just an itsy-bitsy fix.”

SATTGAST: Voters within the Sound Transit boundaries in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties approved a $54 billion ST3 expansion measure in November of 2016. However, when they saw the new fees on their car tabs, the phones lit up in Olympia. Morgan Irwin is a Republican state representative from Enumclaw.

IRWIN: “I think people are feeling like now they didn’t really understand. I think people feel like they were lied to by the process.”

SATTGAST: Republicans offered a procedural motion to amend the bill and provide the larger tax relief. But Democrats rejected the motion by a single vote. Republican Representative Dick Muri of Steilacoom says the final proposal falls short of needed tax relief.

MURI: “It’s chump-change! It’s a little bit better than what we have. But I think my constituents are going to be really angry that this is all the relief they are going to get.”

SATTGAST: Some lawmakers argued for the lesser relief, saying Sound Transit needs the fees to complete its expansion. However, Harmsworth said the transit agency is flush with money.

HARMSWORTH: “This is an agency that puts out million dollar parties when it opens a train station. It can find this money.”

SATTGAST: The measure now goes to the Senate for further consideration. John Sattgast, Olympia


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