SB 5817

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As of March 3, 2017

Title: An act relating to nullifying the imposition of certain taxes within regional transit authority boundaries.

Brief Description: Nullifying the imposition of certain taxes within regional transit authority boundaries.

Sponsors: Senators Rossi, O'Ban, Becker, Miloscia and Fain.

Brief History:

Committee Activity: Transportation:

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Certain Sound Transit taxes may be nullified through a voter-approved proposition, or a vote of a city or county legislative authority.


Staff: Hayley Gamble (786-7452)

Background: A Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is authorized to use its tax revenues to develop and operate a high capacity transit system. There is currently one RTA, Sound Transit, that has a taxing district which roughly follows the urban growth boundaries of King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties, and operates light rail, commuter rail and bus services. Sound Transit is funded to ultimately build and operate a 116 mile light rail system, commuter rail, between Du Pont and Everett, and bus rapid transit throughout the district.

In 1996, voters approved Sound Transit's Sound Move Plan, which was supported by revenues from a sales tax of 0.5 percent, a motor vehicle exercise tax (MVET) of 0.3 percent—$30 per $10,000 in vehicle value, and a car rental sales tax of 0.8 percent. In 1998, voters approved the Sound Transit 2 plan, which included a sales tax increase to a total of 0.9 percent.

In 2016, voters approved the Sound Transit 3 plan, which included:

An additional 1.372 percent car rental sales tax and $2 employer tax are available to Sound Transit if approved by voters.

Summary of Bill: Any RTA taxes approved by voters after January 1, 2015, may be nullified within a city or county within the RTA district by either an approved voter proposition or a majority vote of a city or county legislative authority. Any nullified RTA taxes may not be imposed within the affected city or county.

A voter proposition must be submitted to the voters at a special election if a petition to nullify RTA taxes submitted to the county auditor includes signatures of 8 percent of registered voters from the city or county area petitioning.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Requested on March 3, 2017.

Creates Committee/Commission/Task Force that includes Legislative members: No.

Effective Date: The bill contains an emergency clause and takes effect immediately.