Changes coming to ST3, but no overhaul

Sound Transit 3 will get billions of dollars ... thanks to hikes in property and sales taxes... and increased car tab fees. There's now a move to curb the car tab increases in Olympia.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – State lawmakers have heard the Sound Transit complaints and say they will be taking action – just not as much as some would like.

Last November, voters approved the latest Sound Transit ballot measure raising sales, property, and car tab taxes for King, Pierce, and Snohomish residents.

Related: Tax Trouble: Sound Transit's tax district splits some properties

The money raised will pay for billions in public transit improvements for more than 20 years.

Car owners have been shocked at the steep increases found in their recent car tab renewal forms.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers agree changes should be made in how Sound Transit calculates those fees.

A Republican-backed bill in the Senate would force Sound Transit to use the market value of the cars, instead of the current formula based on an estimated value.

Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, wants Sound Transit to use a more updated formula, an idea she said Sound Transit seemed open to.

“I do think the sticker shock was something we were unprepared for,” said Clibborn.

Bills in the Republican-controlled Senate would also make Sound Board Members elected, instead of appointed and would allow cities, like those in Pierce County, who voted down the measure to opt out of Sound Transit’s taxes and projects.

“Some of the places in Pierce County, they get nothing but a bill,” said Sen. Dino Ross, R-Sammamish, who ran the campaign against what would become Sound Transit in 1995.

Clibborn, who chairs the House’s Transportation Committee, said those proposals would likely die in the House.

Copyright 2017 KING


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