Call to Action: Support lower car-tabs and #SoundTrexit
Today in the Senate Transportation Committee meeting, my bills that would put YOUR wishes into effect get a public hearing. And I need you to share your support of these bills with the committee chairs in both the House and Senate! The majority party doesn’t support my bills, but they should be reminded that YOU do.
Senate Bill 6245 would codify I-976, enacting the $30 car tabs voters demanded. It would also backfill revenue lost from lower car-tab fees by redirecting to transportation funding the sales tax revenue from automobile sales.
Senate Bill 6108, which I refer to as #SoundTrexit, would exempt Pierce County from Sound Transit’s light rail project known as ST3. Pierce County voters rejected ST3, but have had to pay ridiculous and exorbitant car-tab fees and other taxes.
Another bill to be aware of is Senate Bill 6606, which would repeal I-976 as to Sound Transit’s excessive car tab fee increase. It overturns the will of the people. We work for you, and this bill is an insult to the more than 66 percent of voters in Pierce County who helped pass the measure.
Share your thoughts with Legislators. (See below for how to be heard by the Legislature.)
Show your support for the CARE Act!
I need your support for a bill this session that could have a very strong impact on people whose severe mental illness causes them to be in and out of mental hospitals and jails because they refuse treatment.
Senate Bill 6109 would allow courts to assign a special guardian to make care decisions for people whose mental illness makes them incapable of recognizing their need for help. The court-appointed representative would only be assigned when someone has been referred for involuntary commitment five times in a 12-month period.
SB 6109 received a hearing this week and several mental-health providers and family members of individuals who would have been helped by this bill testified. Just before the hearing, I held a press conference to highlight the bill. It was emotional — something I won’t soon forget.
Please watch the press conference and contact the Legislature to support SB 6109 so that it will move forward. (See below for how to be heard by the Legislature.)
Why are your property taxes increasing?
Many of you have contacted my office to find out why your property taxes have increased significantly recently. There are three reasons for this.
1. Over my objection, the majority party in the Legislature raised the local school levy authority from $1.50 to $2.50 per $1,000 assessed value. (SB 5313). This equates to a $300 per year property tax increase on a $300,000 home. If your school district already had local levies in place above $2.50, such as Tacoma Public Schools did, the property tax increase went into effect automatically, without any voter action in 2019.
2. Effective this year, state property taxes increased 30 cents, from $2.40 to $2.70 this year as a result of the McCleary decision that required the state to fully fund basic education. This equates to a $90 property tax increase on a $300,000 home. The Legislature in 2017 raised the state property tax from $1.89 to $2.70, while lowering the maximum local school levy rate. Last year, when the state had high reserves, the Legislature lowered the state property tax to $2.40 for one year. This year, the rate goes back up to $2.70.
3. Local voter-approved measures in some areas have also resulted in higher property tax burdens and various taxing districts received voter approval to raise their levies. This can include fire districts, hospitals and schools.
It is important to note that the levies were adjusted to create equity across the state and provide one levy rate statewide. They were also adjusted to provide the money to education that was required by the State Supreme Court. As a result of the increases, teachers were able to receive overdue pay increases and schools received more money per child to cover expenses the state is legally responsible for.
This session, there are three bills proposed by Senate Republicans to lower the state property tax burden, including Senate Joint Resolution 8208, which would exempt the first $100,000 of a home’s value from state property taxes. The other is Senate Bill 5609, which would cap state spending growth at the rate of inflation, with any excess revenue being returned to taxpayers in the form of a property tax cut. SB 6108, discussed above, would eliminate the ST property tax on Pierce County taxpayers.
Click here to find out how to contact the Legislature and share your support for my bills.