While many in the State House have been in a rush to assuage car drivers angry at being taxed more, and trample on Sound Transit’s ability to build the ST3 capital program, one Republican representative has offered a bill that uses some of the lenses we’d expect from Democrats to craft a more economically-progressive twist to altering the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax formula, albeit only impacting Sound Transit’s portion of the MVET.
House Bill 2825 would provide graduated partial ST MVET exemptions based on the existing state property tax exemptions detailed in the Revised Code of Washington Section 84.36.381. To qualify, a person has to be at least 60 or unable to get gainful employment due to a disability. Due to how the bill references the property tax exemption, the person also has to be a property owner (which can include owning one’s condominium or part of a cooperatively-owned property).
The exemptions would be 20%, 35%, or 60% of the MVET due based on income.
- Qualifying property owners earning less than $30,000 would get a 60% break on the ST portion of their MVET.
- Qualifying property owners earning $30,000-$35,000 would get a 35% break on the ST portion of their MVET.
- Qualifying property owners earning $35,000-$40,000 would get a 20% break on the ST portion of their MVET.
The bill’s three obvious weaknesses are that those not owning property don’t qualify for the exemption; that no replacement revenue source is being offered to Sound Transit; and no other entities would have to take a hit on their MVET collection.
No fiscal note for the bill is expected until it is granted a hearing in the House Transportation Committee, which is not guaranteed to happen.
Meanwhile, back over in the Senate Transportation Committee, several bills directed at Sound Transit are being heard this coming Wednesday afternoon at 3:30, including a couple bills by Sen. Steve O’Ban, and SB 5955, a bill sponsored by several Democrats that would give car tab payers a “credit” based on the difference between the valuation method used in 1996 and the current car tab valuation. The bill will get a makeover in committee, as it was submitted last year, when there was a different balance of power in the legislature.