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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Senate Appropriates $250,000 To Fund Car Tab Payment Workgroup

Sen. T’wina Nobles, D-28

By Aaron Allen, The Seattle Medium

Washington State Senator T’wina Nobles has notched another victory for the working class, as the State Senate has funded a workgroup to study alternative payment options for car tab fees in their 2021-23 transportation budget.

The proposal to offer a payment plan originated in a bill proposed by Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-Tacoma), in an effort to provide relief to people experiencing difficulty paying their car tab fees in a lump sum.

As a result of Nobles efforts, the Senate appropriated $250,000 to establish a vehicle registration payment workgroup to study and recommend new options for payment of vehicle fees or taxes due at the time of application for vehicle registration.

“Community members have had to make extremely difficult decisions because they cannot afford to pay the fees all at once,” says Nobles. “At the same time, they can’t afford to not pay the fees because they don’t want to risk driving with expired tabs to get to work, the grocery store, or a medical appointment.”

The work group will consist of the following members: A representative of the department of licensing, a  representative of county auditors, a representative of subagents, a  representative of local taxing authorities imposing a fee or tax due at the time of application for vehicle registration, a representative  of a city offering or considering a rebate program for vehicle fees  or taxes due at the time of application for vehicle registration, a representative of vehicle owners subject to a motor vehicle excise  tax, a representative of vehicle owners subject to an electric car or  transportation electrification fee, and an advocate for multimodal code transportation options.

The work group will engage with members of the public who are interested in new options for payment of fees or taxes for vehicle registration, including people from communities of color, vulnerable populations, displaced communities and low-income households. 

“We also cannot forget that vehicle renewal fees fund critical community investments in transportation,” say Nobles. “This workgroup will allow us to get community input and work with affected parties on a balanced approach.”

The work group’s recommendations must include: options to provide or encourage rebates to vehicle owners who pay taxes and fees due at the time of vehicle registration. They must include an agreed upon service fee structure for vehicle registration payment plans, an agreed upon service fee revenue allocation method; A process to allow agents and subagents to determine if a  vehicle owner has paid all taxes and fees due prior to renewal of a vehicle registration; Options for reducing revenue loss due to missed payments,  transfer of the certificate of title, or registration of a vehicle out of state; and Options to reduce impacts to communities of color, low income households, vulnerable populations, and displaced communities.

A report of the work group’s findings and recommendations is due to the transportation committees of the legislature by June 30, 2022.

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