Sound Transit resurrects monster-size vehicle valuations

The assault on taxpayers’ wallets by Sound Transit and ST3 just won’t end.

  • Thursday, March 23, 2017 8:00am
  • Opinion

Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place, represents the 28th Legislative District and Sen. Dino Rossi, R-Sammamish, represents the 45th Legislation District.

You remember the classic vampire movies. The hero repeatedly tries to take down the blood-sucking monster, but it refuses to die. It continues its devastation until, finally, the hero manages to drive a stake through its heart.

For many residents of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, this fiction is a little too close to their nightmare of opening frighteningly high car tab bills – not ones based on the Kelley Blue Book actual value of a vehicle, but on Sound Transit’s hyper-inflated value.

The assault on taxpayers’ wallets by Sound Transit and ST3 – the light-rail extension referendum passed in November – in the form of triple taxes (property, sales and car tabs) just won’t end. Fortunately, we have two lines of defense ready.

For many years, when calculating tabs, the state valued every car at prices no citizen could actually hope to get for their vehicle. Taxpayers rightly resented a Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET) formula based on the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) that no car buyer ever pays.

Citizens thought they had vanquished this tax-sucking MVET formula by initiative in 1999 when they limited the MVET to $30, but the beast would not die. The courts invalidated the initiative.

Taxpayers rose up again with a 2002 initiative, again enacting $30 car tabs and again repealing the unfair MVET schedule. The courts upheld the second initiative and taxpayers rejoiced.

However, as with all great horror flicks, the villain was not done yet. The old MVET schedule lived on through old bonds, and in 2015, Sound Transit authored legislation that cunningly resurrected the repealed MVET formula.

They slipped the schedule into legislation

Sen. Dino Rossi, R-Sammamish, represents the 45th Legislation District. Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place, represents the 28th Legislative District. For more information, visit

More in Opinion

What’s the tab? | Shiers

The cost to renew your car tabs in our state remains excessively… Continue reading

China’s sword policy cutting deep into recycling | Brunell

Earlier this month, China launched its “national sword” policy which bans many… Continue reading

Ecosystem out of balance | Being Frank

Urging ways to improve our regional habitat

Time to focus on school choice across America | Guest column

By Andrew R. Campanella/National School Choice Week Later this month, schools, home-school… Continue reading

Time for railroads to implement positive track | Brunell

While the investigation continues into the deadly Amtrak derailment near DuPont, the… Continue reading

Reflecting on the old and ringing in the New Year | KCLS

What a busy and eventful year this has been. As I write… Continue reading

Kent Reporter switches to new reader-comment tool

Users will need an account with Disqus to comment on stories.

For opponents of a carbon tax, an initiative threat looms

If legislators don’t act on the governor’s legislation, a plan could land on the November ballot.

Inslee: ‘It’s our state’s destiny … to fight climate change’

In his State-of-the-State address, the governor made the case for an ambitious carbon tax.

Purpose and a place for a service dog | As I See It

Our leaders in this country decided there should be a legal, living… Continue reading

Making room this Advent season | GUEST OP

By the Rev. Dr. Joyce Parry Moore, rector, St. James Episcopal, Kent… Continue reading

Trump supporters’ attitude still the same | Elfers

“Support Trump? Sure,” she said. “I like him.” These words by Pam… Continue reading