County intends to repeal car-tab tax

Pierce County Executive John W. Ladenburg and Councilman Wendell Brown announced Friday their intentions to repeal the local portion of the car-tab tax.
The Washington State Supreme Court ruled Thurs-day that the local portion of the tax still is in place despite Initiative 695 and the Legislature’s repeal of the state portion.
Pierce County voters approved a three-tenths of 1 percent sales tax proposal in the Feb. 5 special election.
The tax increase will generate an estimated $27 million annually for Pierce Transit, virtually replacing the money once provided by the motor vehicle excise tax.
“The voters rescued public transportation in Pierce County by approving the sales tax increase,” Ladenburg said.
Brown added, “It wouldn’t be showing good faith for us to go back two years and collect a windfall.”
Both Ladenburg and Brown are Pierce Transit board members, and Brown chairs the board.
Initiative 695 sought to repeal the motor vehicle excise tax, but after it was approved by the voters, the state Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional.
Nevertheless, the Legislature with support from Gov. Gary Locke repealed the .725 percent excise tax.
It was believed at the time that both state and local portions of the excise tax were repealed, but the state’s high court said Thursday the local portion survived in 28 of the state’s 39 counties, including Pierce.
The Pierce Transit board imposed the excise tax within its service boundaries in 1979, but the tax has not been collected since the passage of I-695.