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House passes bill aimed to bring car-tab relief

The bill, which change the way cars are valued for taxes, will go the Senate next.
<p>Several bills in the state legislature aim to reduce the sticker shock of ST3-related tax hikes.</p>

The Washington state House passed a bill Wednesday aimed to update the way cars are valued for taxes and bring car-tab relief to drivers.

House Bill 2201, which is sponsored by Rep. Mike Pellicciotti, D-Federal Way, and passed 60-37, changes the state depreciation schedule for vehicles to tie a car’s value more towards fair market value. It also gives refunds or credits to drivers to cover the difference between the old and new formulas.

“It’s well past time for the Legislature to act and restore public confidence on this issue,” Pellicciotti said in a statement. “The time for car tab debate is over and the time for legislative action to correct this car valuation issue is now.”

Car-tab prices soared by about $80 last year for a car valued at $10,000 after voters approved Sound Transit 3 in fall 2016. The $54 billion transit package will expand mass transit in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties with light rail, commuter rail, and bus connections.

Sound Transit said the bill would cost the project an estimated $780 million in revenue and said any bill that reduces vehicle excise tax revenue should be accompanied by offsetting measures to ensure ST3 projects are completed on time.

Related: Sound Transit deceived lawmakers and public, Republican-led probe finds

The bill was passed in the House last session, but failed to get a hearing in the Senate. With a Democrat-controlled Senate, Democrats hope the bill will get passed this session.

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