Inslee says state vehicle tab fees to be kept in separate account

Court ruling leads to decision; refunds could be in future

Vehicle tab funds will be held in a separate account by the state until courts determine whether Initiative 976 will be upheld, Gov. Jay Inslee said on Wednesday.

King County Superior Court Judge Marshall Ferguson issued a preliminary injunction Wednesday delaying the implementation of I-976.

“We are taking action today in response to the court order and in consideration of the vote on the initiative,” Inslee said in a statement. “The state will take a fiscally prudent approach by effectively continuing to act as if the initiative is still in place from a state spending perspective.

“Accordingly, state funds from car tabs will be held separately and set aside to function as an escrow account. We will effectively go forward as if the initiative is still in place and these funds will be available for refunds as determined by any further court order. The Department of Licensing will continue to collect car tab fees unless further instructed by the court.

“In addition, today’s court injunction does not change our plans to pause a number of projects across the state as detailed by the Department of Transportation yesterday. We are doing so in order to maintain these funds to be available for further determination by the Legislature. This plan is intended to allow us to preserve essential services.

“I know that Washingtonians want funding preserved for a safe, reliable transportation system which includes provisions for people with disabilities, state troopers on the road, and bus and ferry services.

“I will work collaboratively with the Legislature on a plan to move forward during this period of uncertainty.”

Voters approved I-976 on Nov. 5 to lower vehicle tab fees to $30 per year. The measure was scheduled to go into effect Dec. 5. Sound Transit, the state and numerous cities use car tab fees to help pay for project. Sound Transit officials already have said they plan to keep collecting the fee on projects already approved.

King County, Seattle and several other groups filed a lawsuit after the initiative passed to overturn the measure because it violates the state Constitution. The groups also filed for the temporary injunction to let the outcome be determined in the courts.

More in Northwest

Washington Low Income Housing Alliance is among supporters of statewide “just cause” legislation to protect tenants in Washington. However, some landlords say removing the ability to quickly remove tenants limits their ability to get rid of problem renters. (Courtesy image)
Tenant advocates prepare for another push in Olympia

Following wins in Burien and Federal Way, just cause evictions are on the 2020 Legislative agenda.

Business alliance serves women of African diaspora in South King County

Nourah Yonous launched the African Women Business Alliance in 2017 to find ways to lift women up.

Woodinville Republican to run for state attorney general

Matt Larkin announces challenge to Bob Ferguson

Inslee appoints first Native American to State Supreme Court

Montoya-Lewis will move up from Whatcom County Superior Court

Fire along Twisp River Road in the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest in 2018. Courtesy photo
Wildfire response: State unveils funding legislation proposal

Last year, Department of Natural Resources responded to record number of wildfires.

A new report, complete with recommendations to the Legislature, has been released by a statewide task force that was formed to address a lack of child care in Washington. File photo
Report outlines lack of child care in Washington

In King County, supply doesn’t meet demand for child care.

New state report recommends legislative fixes around sexual assault kits

Additional funding for cold cases investigations also suggested

Demonstrators from La Resistencia protest Amazon’s involvement with ICE. Photo courtesy of La Resistencia
How will the U.S. respond to climate refugees?

Business as usual has been harder borders, are there other ways to address climate migration?

Most Read