I wanted to touch base with you on an issue that my office has received quite a few calls and emails about, the Sound Transit 3 proposal. Many of you, including myself, received quite a shock by the higher cost of car registration fees, sales tax and our property taxes, which will appear next year due to the passage of ST3. I would like to give you a brief history and update on the issue.
What is the Sound Transit 3 (ST3) proposal?
ST3 was passed by the Washington State Legislature in 2015, and is a combination of tax increases seen in our property tax, sales tax and vehicle registration fees. It was proposed in order to raise $53.8 billion over a 25 year period to pay for mass transit in the Puget Sound region.
Why do we have ST3?
Once the Washington State Legislature passed SSB 5987 which increased the gas tax and included language to lay out and organize ST3, Sound Transit put this proposal on the ballot for a vote in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties. It was approved by voters in the 2016 election.
Pierce County voted against the proposal, why are we still having to pay?
The original language states “regional transit authorities may submit an authorizing proposition to the voters and, if approved by a majority of person voting, fix and impose a sales tax solely for the purpose of proving high capacity transportation service.” So even if a majority in one county voted it down, like Pierce County did, it would still be approved.
How do we get out?
In order to get out of the ST3 proposal it would require action by the Washington State Legislature to change the law. If I could make the change at the county level, I would have already introduced legislation to do so. To my knowledge there is no legislative bill still “alive” to fix the problem.
Action still needed.
The legislature is still in session. I suggest that you contact your legislative delegation and Governor Inslee via the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and voice your concerns.
I hope this information is helpful. If you have other questions or other concerns you wish to share with me, just let me know. You can visit my website at piercecountywa.org/district1 or call my office 253-798-3635.