You voted for $30 car tabs and Senator O’Ban hears you

Chad MinnickNews

Senator Steve O’Ban has led the fight for car tab tax relief in and out of the Legislature.

His opponent, T’wina Nobles, not only opposes the $30 car tabs that 28th District voters demanded, but the Seattle politicians who sued taxpayers to stop them are endorsing her because of her opposition.
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When Sound Transit pushed through the ST3 initiative to pay for light rail expansion, Pierce County overwhelmingly voted against ST3 by a 55%-45% margin. ST3 doubled and even tripled car tab taxes for many taxpayers.

Sen. O’Ban led an investigation into Sound Transit’s controversial lobbying and campaign practices to push through ST3. He filed a brief in the Supreme Court to invalidate ST3, and he authored legislation to cut the Sound Transit portion by 55% and to hold Sound Transit accountable by directly electing board members and to require an audit of its finances.

Sen. O’Ban urged his colleagues in the Legislature to pass car tab tax relief, predicting that if lawmakers did not listen to voters protesting the unfair tax increase in the thousands of emails and phone calls, the voters would take matters into their own hands.

They did, and overwhelmingly passed I-976, the $30 car tab tax initiative. Pierce County voted for $30 car tabs by a margin of 65%-35%.  Seattle and Sound Transit quickly sued and the tax relief measure was bottled up in the courts. In 2020, the King County Superior Court upheld I-976 but allowed Sound Transit and other governments to continue to collect the full tax.

In January 2020, Sen. O’Ban authored a bill to enact $30 car tabs to fulfill the will of voters and take it out of the court’s hands. The majority party refused to enact the bill. In April of this year, Sen. O’Ban urged Governor Inslee to suspend collection of the car tab tax in excess of $30 during the pandemic.

On October 15, 2020 the WA Supreme Court struck down I-976, $30 car tabs.   

Senator O’Ban made the following statement:   

“Pierce County and the voters in my district voted overwhelmingly for I-976.  That’s why I authored a bill to enact $30 car tabs earlier this year. My constituents don’t believe light rail will benefit them, just Seattle. I am deeply disappointed that the court ignored taxpayers, rejected the holding of the lower court, and struck down the voter approved I-976,” O’Ban said.

I-976 was not the first time voters passed car tab tax relief.

“Twenty years ago, the court struck down the first $30 car tabs initiative passed by voters, and the Legislature acted immediately to enact $30 car tax relief,” said O’Ban. “I am announcing today, new legislation to enact the will of the people and make $30 car tabs a reality. If we fail to act, voters will believe–and who can blame them?–that government doesn’t care and doesn’t listen to them after they have clearly spoken through the initiative process. Voters deserve car tab tax relief, and they deserve leaders who will listen to them. I will do everything in my power to see that they get the relief they voted for and deserve.”

Sen. O’Ban’s opponent, T’wina Nobles, has repeatedly said she opposed I-976 and $30 car tabs. She will not vote to enact $30 car tabs if elected to the Senate.

T’wina Nobles is endorsed by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, who praised Nobles for opposing $30 car tabs.