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

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee speaks with special ed Pre-K teacher Michelle Ling in her classroom at Phantom Lake Elementary School in Bellevue, Wash. Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times via AP, Pool)
Governor: Educators are now eligible for coronavirus vaccine

“This should give educators more confidence,” Jay Inslee said. Other frontline workers could soon be next.

A view of the courtyard leading to the main entrance of the new Stanwood High building on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2020 in Stanwood, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Law gives Washington high school seniors leeway to graduate

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill that can waive some requirements for students who were on track before the pandemic.

About a dozen metal dinosaurs sit in the front yard of a home owned by Burt Mason and Mary Saltwick on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021 in Freeland, Washington. The couple are used to finding strangers in their yard and taking photos. Every year on their trip to Tucson, Burt and Mary bring home another figure  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Dinos on Whidbey? This Freeland yard is a Jurassic Park

These creatures from long ago won’t chomp or chase you, and you’re welcome to visit.

Maryville Getchell High School students Madison Dawson, left, Kaden Vongsa and Jenasis Lee, who made a presentation to their school board discussing mental health, lack of resources and personal stories of their peers mental health struggles. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Students plead for better mental health support from schools

Three Marysville Getchell seniors want more counselors and improved training for staff.

Parked tractor-trailers line the side of 40th Avenue NE on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021 in Marysville, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Worker wonders why dead end Marysville road is rough and rutty

A stretch of 40th Avenue NE is mostly used for heavy trucking and isn’t in line for repairs soon.

Camano Island shooting leaves father dead; son arrested

Dominic Wagstaff, 21, was taken into custody late Sunday for investigation of the murder of Dean Wagstaff, 41.

Jean Shumate (left), seen here during a February 2019 school board meeting, will retire June 30 after 20 years at the Stanwood-Camano School District superintendent. (Skagit Valley Herald)
Stanwood-Camano superintendent to retire after 20 years

Jean Shumate has been at the helm longer than any other superintendent in Snohomish County.

Snohomish County Council delays education spending vote

The council is now slated to decide next week on the measure, which targets a pre-K learning gap.

Frances McDormand in "Nomadland." (Searchlight Pictures) 20210304
Masked in a nearly empty theater, a movie outing at last

Just four of us were in the audience for a matinee showing of “Nomadland” at Stanwood Cinemas.

Most Read