Sound Transit faces a new hurdle for their notoriously inflated car tab valuations—the Senate transportation budget. An amendment to the Senate transportation budget passed the Senate Transportation Committee today that would prohibit the Department of Licensing (DOL) from collecting a motor vehicle excise tax for a regional transportation authority unless Senate Bill 5893 is enacted.
Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place, is sponsor both of the amendment and of SB 5893. SB 5893 would prohibit DOL from collecting a motor vehicle excise tax that is not based on the Kelley Blue Book method or the National Automobile Dealers Association method, whichever is lower. The DOL reform is intended to pressure Sound Transit to value vehicles fairly for car tab fee calculation since Sound Transit has no current method of collecting the fees on its own. The bill would not prohibit Sound Transit from charging the inflated fees, but would prevent the state from aiding in their collection. Sound Transit has indicated that it does not have the capability to collect the tax without state assistance.
“This is an insurance policy against Sound Transit’s unfair valuation scheme,” said O’Ban. “Either the state is going to collect fees honestly assessed, or it will collect no fees for Sound Transit at all.”
The amended Senate Transportation budget was passed out of committee.
You can watch TVW’s coverage of the debate on the amendment and the further discussion on Sound Transit below.