Initiative Measure No. Thanks! The Court found specifically that section 12, which dealt with Sound Transit’s bonds, was a separate subject and thus its inclusion in the bill unconstitutionally violated the “single subject” requirement. That relieves a significant burden on the state transportation budget, Sound Transit, and SDOT. The Court emphasized that it reads ballot titles “as the average informed lay voter would,” not as skilled attorneys would parse them. Yesterday’s decision fast-forwards the case so it moves directly from King County Superior Court to the Supreme Court without a transfer to the Court of Appeals. This morning the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that Initiative 976, Tim Eyman’s most recent “$30 car tabs” effort, is unconstitutional. One was that the initiative contains unrelated local and statewide effects. The Washington state Supreme Court has ruled against a voter-approved initiative to cap certain vehicle taxes and fees. Since I-976’s section 12 is mandatory, the court found, it is a separate subject. While voters had approved the initiative last November, implementation of I-976 has been stayed following a lawsuit heard in the King County Superior Court this spring. Yesterday the court issued a ruling bypassing the Court of Appeals and taking up the case itself on an expedited schedule. Copyright (C) 2014-2020, Kevin Schofield. Rather than admitting error and working to restore public trust, Sound Transit has dug in its heels, refusing to be accountable to the public. Senator Steve O’Ban (R-Lakewood) proposed multiple bills year after year to try to fix this problem, but the bills were never moved. Thus, it is understandable why Eyman may have thought single-subject would not be an issue with I-976 (especially since the King County Superior Court, when considering I-976 earlier this year, ruled that it did not violate the single-subject rule). While the plaintiffs argued that there were several other potential separate subjects, the Court did not take up those issues, as they didn’t need to: one impermissible extra subject is enough to invalidate the entire initiative. The measure has been on hold for nearly a year as legal challenges worked their way through the court system. The initiative was brought to the state legislature by a petition sponsored by Tim Eyman. The decision to keep I-976 as it was turned out to be a mistake. I-976 was approved by voters in November 2019. The people, who are supposed to be in charge, do not want to pay high car tabs and have said so repeatedly - yet no one in government will allow their will to be enacted. It is important to remember that Initiative 776 was first overturned at the superior court level based on the single-subject rule, including sections that mentioned Sound Transit’s bond contracts, but this was later reversed by the state Supreme Court. The initiative is preceded by a long, 20-year history of voters asking for $30 car tabs. Director, Coles Center for Transportation, © 2021 Washington Policy Center   All Rights Reserved   Terms of Use, Delaying road projects is totally unnecessary, other solutions are available, $5 billion in cost overruns is “not catastrophic” to Sound Transit, but car tab relief is a “nightmare”, New Seattle minimum wage law forces Uber and Lyft to raise prices, Transportation officials hope to substitute agency control and values for legislative control of projects, Governor wants to delay critical projects, while funding electric ferries and high-speed rail, Officials pitch wishful thinking as fact in state plan to reduce driving. To their credit, the legal team from the Office of the Attorney General (AG) provided a solid defense of Initiative 976, including arguing that Sound Transit defeasing bonds is rationally tied to main subject of the initiative. Wordy and nerdy. Instead, the justices somehow arrived at the conclusion that defeasing bonds that rely on a revenue source that the initiative is trying to repeal is unrelated to repealing revenue. However, the Seattle Transit Benefit District, which previously relied heavily on car-tab fees, is up for renewal in three weeks but with a proposal that also assumed I-976 would be upheld and substituted more regressive sales tax for the ca-tab fees. OLYMPIA, WA — The Washington State Supreme Court on Thursday ruled Initiative 976 unconstitutional, striking down a measure approved by voters … If you did, please take a moment to make a contribution to support my ongoing work. The Court found that this was misleading to the average voter, who would read this to say that taxes and fees previously approved by voters would not be repealed. The initiative included several provisions, some of which represented good policy and some of which did not. The agency has chosen to ignore public outcry because it benefits from the unfair overvaluation. This set the stage for Tim Eyman to run Initiative 976 in 2019. The Court found that the initiative contained multiple subjects and that its title was “deceptive and misleading.” It overturned a lower court ruling that largely upheld the initiative. AunanimousstateSupremeCourtstruckdownthe$30car-tabinitiativepassedbyvotersin2019. The Sound Transit 3 package on November 2016 ballots had ballooned to a $54 billion plan. It was found to be unconstitutional for violating the … The state Supreme Court heard virtual oral arguments Tuesdayabout the constitutionality of the initiative to lower the cost of car tabs that voters passed last year. Regardless of whether voters pass the renewal, the city will need to sort through whether to ask voters to pass a modified version next year that reverts back to the prior funding mechanism. Justices said Initiative 976 violated provisions of the state Constitution which limit the scope of ballot measures to no more than one topic. Mariya Frost is the Transportation Director at the Coles Center for Transportation at Washington Policy Center, an independent research organization with offices in Seattle, Olympia, Spokane and the Tri-Cities. The state Supreme Court has overturned Initiative 976, which was approved by voters in 2019 to lower annual vehicle registration renewals to $30 per year. To be sure, lawmakers were misled by Sound Transit in 2015 when Sound Transit officials repeatedly said they were seeking $15 billion in “full” taxing authority, which would be more than enough to cover the expansion they wanted. This morning the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that Initiative 976, Tim Eyman’s most recent “$30 car tabs” effort, is unconstitutional. Rather than taking up legislation from Senator O’Ban or Senator Liias, which had already been vetted by committees, Eyman chose to run I-976, which included a controversial provision that Sound Transit defease (or retire early) its bonds that are backed by MVET revenue, conditioned on the agency’s ability to do so. Initiative 976 had seventeen sections, dealing with repealing specific taxes, repealing local authority to impose certain taxes in the future, a requirement for Sound Transit to retire bonds that it had issued based upon taxing authority that I-976 repealed, and new rules for basing vehicle valuations on Kelly Blue Book prices. The Court found that the initiative contained multiple subjects and that its title was “deceptive and misleading.” It overturned a lower court ruling that largely upheld the initiative. The Washington Supreme Court has unanimously struck down Eyman's Initiative 976, a measure that would have steeply discounted the price of … UPDATE 12-4-19: The state Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a voter-approved $30 car tab measure will remain on hold while a legal fight over the initiative's constitutionality plays out. As Eyman’s previous initiatives were challenged and struck down by the court, there was some concern that this, too, would face a similar outcome. First, the legislature granted Sound Transit authority to tax and collect motor vehicle excise taxes (MVET) using an outdated depreciation schedule. To add insult to injury, the court included a statement that though the initiative passed statewide with about 53 percent of the vote, “it was rejected by about 53 percent of the voters in the Sound Transit region, about 60 percent of King County voters, and about 70 percent of San Juan voters.” In reality, 46 percent of the initiative’s fiscal impact was on Sound Transit, 8 percent was on local transportation benefit districts across the state, and the rest of the impact was to state transportation accounts residents across Washington pay into. It was struck down unanimously by the Supreme Court primarily on the basis that it violated the single-subject rule in the state constitution’s Article II Section 19, which forbids a bill to contain more than one subject, and requires the subject to be expressed in the title. 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