Because the initiative allegedly violated what's called the "single subject" rule, the Washington State Supreme Court struck down the $30 car tab initiative, I-976.

It was passed by voters statewide last November by a margin of 53%, the majority of those affirmatives coming outside of King County. According to and Seattle city officials 76% of residents in the city of Seattle voted against it.

The Court claimed the Initiative attempted to 'tackle' multiple topics or issues instead of the legally mandated 'single subject,' this has been hotly debated in other initiative as well.

The Court also ruled the ballot title was inaccurate. The Court, in using the "single subject" rule, pointed to what other changes the Initiative would have made:

  • Repealing of a state statute that allows the imposition of a vehicle fee for a Transportation Benefit District
  • Repealing of the local option motor vehicle excise tax for passenger-only ferry service
  • Repealing of motor vehicle weight fees
  • Repealing of motor home weight fees

Senator Steve O'Ban, whose district includes Pierce County, had this statement Thursday after the ruling:

“Pierce County and the voters in my district voted overwhelmingly for I-976, that’s why I authored a bill to enact $30 car tabs earlier this year. My constituents don’t believe light rail will benefit them, just Seattle. I am deeply disappointed that the court ignored taxpayers, rejected the holding of the lower court, and struck down the voter approved I-976.”

O'Ban is correct in stating many of the projects "saved" by not striking down the car tab initiative benefit only a small portion of the state.

The majority of the officials reacting positively to the strike down were all King County of City of Seattle leaders. Several of them stated it was a big win for the City of Seattle; the recurring theme of their statements was the rest of the state doesn't really matter.

Below is a map published by the Seattle Times during the late evening last Election Day in 2019 when it became apparent I-976 was going to pass. The green are all the counties in favor of it. The dark shaded opposed it.

Seattle Times
Seattle Times

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