Judge poised to let most of I-976 take effect on car tabs

A ruling Thursday indicates an injunction blocking most of the provisions could be lifted March 27.

Judge poised to let most of I-976 take effect on car tabs

SEATTLE — A King County Superior Court judge on Thursday indicated he’s prepared to order major provisions of Initiative 976 be put into effect — just not yet.

Judge Marshall Ferguson, in a four-page order, said he’s ready to lift an injunction that has blocked the measure’s provisions related to the cost of car tabs and the vehicle excise tax imposed by Sound Transit. If the initiative is upheld, it sets the stage for a potential legal fight as to whether Sound Transit would be required to retire its bonds and end the motor vehicle excise tax.

But the judge intends to wait until a hearing March 27 at which opponents will likely try to convince him to keep the entire voter-approved measure on hold.

“The judge kept the injunction in place for another two weeks,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement. “We look forward to providing briefing to lift the injunction so the initiative goes into effect as voters intended on March 27. I’ve said from the start, this case will ultimately be decided by the state Supreme Court.”

Last month, Judge Ferguson said a coalition of opponents including Seattle and King County had failed to prove most of their claims that the $30 car tab measure was unconstitutional. Those claims included that the description of the initiative on the ballot was misleading and that the measure violated the state Constitution’s rule that initiatives be limited to one subject.

At the time, he did not decide whether a requirement that car valuations be based on Kelley Blue Book values illegally favors a private company.

He did Thursday, ruling those provisions, spelled out in two sections of the initiative, are unconstitutional.

That pleased the coalition of opponents.

“We continue to believe that mentioning Kelley Blue Book in the ballot title renders the entire Initiative unconstitutional,” Seattle spokesman Dan Nolte said in an email. “We intend to raise this concern and the other issues of constitutional importance as this case moves forward.”

Meanwhile, the state Legislature this week approved a supplement to the state transportation budget that assumes the initiative would be upheld and there would be $453 million less in car tab collections to spend through July 2021.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Marysville firefighters respond to a 12-year-old boy who fell down a well Tuesday May 30, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Photo provided by Marysville Fire District)
Marysville firefighters save boy who fell 20 feet into well

The 12-year-old child held himself up by grabbing on to a plastic pipe while firefighters worked to save him.

Highway 9 is set to be closed in both directions for a week as construction crews build a roundabout at the intersection with Vernon Road. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
Weeklong closure coming to Highway 9 section in Lake Stevens

Travelers should expect delays or find another way from Friday to Thursday between Highway 204 and Lundeen Parkway.

Students arriving off the bus get in line to score some waffles during a free pancake and waffle breakfast at Lowell Elementary School on Friday, May 26, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
800 free pancakes at Everett’s Lowell Elementary feed the masses

The annual breakfast was started to connect the community and the school, as well as to get people to interact.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring speaks at the groundbreaking event for the I-5/SR 529 Interchange project on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$123M project starting on Highway 529 interchange, I-5 HOV lane

A reader wondered why the highway had a lane closure despite not seeing work done. Crews were waiting on the weather.

Justin Bell was convicted earlier this month of first-degree assault for a December 2017 shooting outside a Value Village in Everett. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Court: Snohomish County jurors’ opaque masks didn’t taint verdict

During the pandemic, Justin Bell, 32, went on trial for a shooting. Bell claims his right to an impartial jury was violated.

Gary Fontes uprights a tree that fell over in front of The Fontes Manor — a miniature handmade bed and breakfast — on Friday, May 12, 2023, at his home near Silver Lake in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s mini-Frank Lloyd Wright builds neighborhood of extra tiny homes

A tiny lighthouse, a spooky mansion and more: Gary Fontes’ miniature world of architectural wonders is one-twelfth the size of real life.

Will Steffener
Inslee appoints Steffener as Superior Court judge

Attorney Will Steffener will replace Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis, who is retiring in June.

News logo for use with stories about Mill Creek in Snohomish County, WA.
Police: Mill Creek man fatally stabbed wife amid financial woes

After quitting his job at Amazon, the man amassed about $50,000 in debt, triggering a discussion about finances, he told police.

Outside of the current Evergreen Recovery Centers' housing to treat opioid-dependent moms with their kids on Thursday, May 25, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$8M in behavioral health grants to benefit children, youth, families

Snohomish County awarded one-time federal funding to five projects that will reach at least 440 new people each year.

Most Read