Republicans aim to guarantee $30 car tabs amid court hang-up

As Initiative 976 — the car tabs measure approved by voters in November — is held up in the State Supreme Court, Republicans proposed laws that would guarantee the $30 car tabs Washington voters approved.

“It is just a clean $30 car tab,” said Sen Phil Fortunado, R-Auburn. “That’s what people voted for, that’s what we’re doing.”

Unlike I-976, which is facing a court fight over its constitutionality, Fortunado said his sponsored bill, Senate Bill 6350, is simple in nature and will likely not be challenged in court.

“It removes any ambiguity about multiple subjects,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Jesse Young, R-Gig Harbor, and Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Aberdeen, are sponsoring House Bill 2227, a companion bill.

Republicans were critical of Governor Jay Inslee’s proposed transportation budget appropriations to continue funding public transit following the passing of I-976.

“This is a professional, real approach, that stands in stark contrast to the lazy approach that is being put forth by the governor that simply says we are going to punish voters because they didn’t vote the way we wanted them to,” Young said.

Walsh suggested cutting or delaying lower priority projects and administrative expenditures to help balance the budget after lost car-tab revenue.

Voters, Walsh said, “want us to find efficiencies in the state transportation budget that are necessary to make the $30 tab renewal a reality. We can prioritize our spending without penalizing high needs individuals and their transit needs.”