We expect the House of Representatives to pass House Bill 2201 tomorrow morning. This bill, which was introduced in 2017, would require Sound Transit to reimburse taxpayers for a portion of the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET) that voters approved in 2016 when they passed Sound Transit 3. Sound Transit estimates that the bill will result in a $780 million revenue loss to the agency and over the long term, the accumulated loss would be about $2.3 billion due to higher financing costs. A $780 million loss in revenue to Sound Transit would have significant impacts on the agency’s ability to deliver voter-approved projects.
The bill essentially aligns taxes to reflect a more recent car valuation schedule by providing car owners a reimbursement for the difference between the 2006 MVET and older 1999 MVET car valuations, which Sound Transit currently uses.
We appreciate efforts to address tax payer fairness and find reasonable solutions that do not impact voter-approved projects. Our position on HB 2201 is unchanged from our position in 2017 when the bill was introduced. We do not support this bill in its current form.
We have been working with legislators in both the House and the Senate to improve the bill to address tax fairness for working families while keeping voter-approved projects on track. As HB 2201 progresses to the Senate, we believe it is possible to reduce the $780 million revenue gap created by this bill to address the loss of revenue to Sound Transit.
We will continue to work closely with legislators to find solutions that will keep Sound Transit funding on track.
Voters across the region approved Sound Transit 3 with 54% support. Projects in Sound Transit 3 will bring important connections to job centers and provide options for residents stuck in traffic. We continue to urge legislators to address these issues without delaying or canceling these transit projects.