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initiative 976 supreme court

Washington state Supreme Court justices will decide whether a measure to cap car tab fees at $30 is unconstitutional. The initiative is preceded by a long, 20-year history of voters asking for $30 car tabs. A second legal maneuver to allow Initiative 976 to take effect this week and lower the cost of vehicle license tabs was filed Tuesday with the state Supreme Court. The court decision settles the fate of more than $4 billion in transportation revenue. Thanks! Article II Section 19 of the Washington State Constitution declares that no bill “shall embrace more than one subject, and that shall be expressed in its title.” It applies to both bills passed by the state Legislature, and those approved by voters through the initiative process. All rights reserved. The state Supreme Court held a hearing Tuesday on I-976, the voter-approved $30 car tab initiative backed by Tim Eyman. 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. The Washington State Supreme Court has overturned a 2019 voter-backed initiative that would have reduced car tab fees to $30 statewide. 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. The Court did not rule on any of the other issues raised in the appeal. I-976, the $30 car tab measure approved by voters in 2019 has been struck down by the Washington State Supreme Court. One was that the initiative contains unrelated local and statewide effects. They based their decision on their prior ruling on Initiative 776, which had similar language but didn’t make paying off the bonds mandatory — thus making it “policy fluff” and not a separate subject. 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. The court ruled on Thursday that Initiative I-976, which would cap car tabs at $30, is unconstitutional. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! 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. This includes his decision to not provide car tab relief during the COVID-19 emergency, while providing economic relief elsewhere. 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. The Washington Supreme Court wants the constitutionality question for Initiative 976 settled for good and sooner rather than later. OLYMPIA, Wash. - The state Supreme Court has struck down the voter-approved $30 car tab initiative. Today, all nine justices of the Washington Supreme Court found Initiative 976 to be unconstitutional. Tim Eyman attacked Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s defense of I-976 in a letter sent on Thanksgiving. Independent news and analysis of the Seattle City Council. When confronted in a separate class action lawsuit about their unfair use of a depreciation schedule that they are not legally authorized to use – Sound Transit simply said it didn’t matter. In its opinion overturning I-976, the court’s decision surprisingly didn’t hinge on the impairment of contracts as it did in I-776, but instead argued that Section 12 of the bill (the language regarding Sound Transit defeasing bonds) rendered the law unconstitutional because it violated the single-subject rule by creating a separate subject from the main subject of the initiative (“limiting vehicle taxes and fees”). 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. Yesterday the court issued a ruling bypassing the Court of Appeals and taking up the case itself on an expedited schedule. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. The Mayor’s proposed 2021 budget assumed conservatively that I-976 would be upheld; now the city will scramble a bit to re-work its numbers, and the Council will have some more money to work with in the coming weeks. At issue is the text in the title that says the bill would “limit annual motor-vehicle-license fees to $30, except voter-approved charges”. The Supreme Court ruling is the end of the road for I-976, which was the brainchild of anti-tax activist Tim Eyman. Senator Steve O’Ban (R-Lakewood) proposed multiple bills year after year to try to fix this problem, but the bills were never moved. OLYMPIA, WA — The Washington State Supreme Court on Thursday ruled Initiative 976 unconstitutional, striking down a measure approved by voters … 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. Democrats proposed legislation as well, but most of it was watered down and protected Sound Transit rather than taxpayers. 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. The release of the Washington State Supreme Court decision striking down Initiative 976 that was approved by voters last November seems appropriately timed – coming the day after a state advisory panel met virtually to discuss a planned report to … If you did, please take a moment to make a contribution to support my ongoing work. 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. To prevent further erosion of public trust, it is critical that the Governor call the legislature into special session at this time to discuss how to implement the will of voters as expressed in Initiative 976. All nine justices agreed that I-976 contains an impermissible second subject in section 12. The Sound Transit 3 package on November 2016 ballots had ballooned to a $54 billion plan. This morning the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that Initiative 976, Tim Eyman’s most recent “$30 car tabs” effort, is unconstitutional. 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. The decision to keep I-976 as it was turned out to be a mistake. With today’s ruling, I-976 is officially dead. The Washington Supreme Court ruled Initiative 976 unconstitutional On Oct. 15, 2020, the Washington Supreme Court ruled Initiative 976 (I-976) unconstitutional. Justices said Initiative 976 violated provisions of the state Constitution which limit the scope of ballot measures to no more than one topic. 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. Among the big questions … The Washington Supreme Court has unanimously struck down Eyman's Initiative 976, a measure that would have steeply discounted the price of … 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. You may recall that on March 12 Judge Ferguson ruled on the two motions for … 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). On Oct. 15, justices ruled that Initiative 976 violated provisions of the state Constitution which limit the scope of ballot measures to no more than one topic. A King County Superior Court judge has rejected most of a legal challenge to Tim Eyman's Initiative 976, but the measure remains on hold pending further arguments. I-976 threatened to eliminate or reduce funding for public transportation, bridges and roads, and other critical infrastructure and services across Washington. Initiative 976 was ruled unconstitutional by the court because it violated the state’s single-subject rule. When Initiative 976 was struck down, Governor Inslee said he was “open to changes on the state’s portion of car tabs” but has not indicated any support for a special session to carry out the will of voters. Copyright (C) 2014-2020, Kevin Schofield. It can be raised, but it can never be lowered again. All the state or local government entity has to do is initiate a tax and issue bonds – and that tax can never be lowered as long as bonds are outstanding. Since I-976’s section 12 is mandatory, the court found, it is a separate subject. As such, they said, the title is deceptive and misleading — also unconstitutional under Article II Section 19. Therefore, the provisions of the initiative will not be implemented. They also found that, based upon the title, the average voter would not think that the initiative eliminates the mechanism for voters to approve future vehicle taxes (which it does). 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. Once the revenue is bonded, there is nothing the legislature or the people through initiative can do to require defeasement of bonds to lower the revenue. The initiative is preceded by a long, 20-year history of voters asking for $30 car tabs. Although the Supreme Court reversed the previous decision and upheld the initiative, the court later partially invalidated the initiative on the basis that it impaired contracts. Wordy and nerdy. Supreme Court justices announced Wednesday they will hear arguments on Initiative 976 in May and June. As we are being told every five minutes that our votes and elections matter – it is incumbent upon elected officials to demonstrate that they believe this to be true. 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. The court’s ruling on this and past car tab initiatives appears to have one major implication. Voter-approved Initiative 976 to lower car tabs unconstitutional, Washington Supreme Court rules Initiative 976, which would cap car tabs at $30, … 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 state Supreme Court has overturned Initiative 976, which was approved by voters in 2019 to lower annual vehicle registration renewals to $30 per year. In contrast, the Attorney General’s office, in defending the initiative, argued that the provision is germane to limiting vehicle taxes and fees because it ensures that the MVET, which is a type of vehicle tax, can no longer be collected. 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. This was done likely to comply with a previous legal decision made in Pierce County II, which held that Initiative 776 “unconstitutionally impaired contracts between Sound Transit and its bondholders by limiting MVETs that Sound Transit could collect.” To get around this, I-976 attempted to tackle the bond contracts directly in order to lower the MVET. Today they kicked off the arguments, with an emergency motion to stay Ferguson's ruling until their appeal is resolved. Washington Supreme Court declares Initiative 976 unconstitutional. The legislation had some serious problems, however, including offsets to help Sound Transit without any retroactive refunds to people for tax overcharges they have paid since 2017. That relieves a significant burden on the state transportation budget, Sound Transit, and SDOT. Meanwhile, taxpayers continued paying high car tab tax overcharges. The Governor has not shown any decisive leadership on this issue over the years it has been publicly debated. Where the AG could have done a better job is in adding defeasement of bonds to the ballot summary, which said “this measure would repeal, reduce, or remove authority to impose certain vehicle taxes and fees; limit annual motor-vehicle-license fees to $30, except voter-approved charges; and base vehicle taxes on Kelley Blue Book value.”  Although the court did not ultimately base its decision on the ballot summary (separate from the ballot title), it was the subject of hot debate during oral argument and could have formed another basis for the court to strike down the initiative. Washington’s Supreme Court takes up Initiative 976 The Washington Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday on I-976, the so-called “$30 car tab fee” initiative run by Tim Eyman. Instead, Eyman ignored better options, including legislation from lawmakers that addressed defeasement of bonds by placing restrictions on the Department of Licensing’s ability to collect the tax for Sound Transit, and therefore not directly impinging on Sound Transit’s bond contracts.

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