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Senator Steve O’Ban disappointed $30 car tabs bill failed

$30 car tabs continue to cause controversy in Washington state. (MyNorthwest)

The Legislature will not be passing $30 car tabs this session, as a measure by Senator Steve O’Ban failed on the Senate floor. He joined KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show to discuss the bill getting voted down and what he expects for the future.

“It’s very disappointing,” O’Ban said. “When we first had $30 car tabs with the initiative process in the courts, we had a bipartisan response — this is before I was down there — and the governor at the time, Locke and Democrats and Republicans called a special session and they enacted $30 car tabs, they listened to the will of the people. They knew their job. They didn’t have to wait for the courts to do their thing.”

“So that’s what my bill would do. It would enact $30 car tabs. I dropped it a month ago, had a hearing, and when it didn’t get brought up to the floor I made a motion to bring it to the floor so we could put it out before cutoff. Here’s what we were considering, though, in the last bill of the session from the Senate: a bill to expand voting rights to felons before they’ve paid their debt to society. That’s what my friends across the aisle thought was more important than enacting $30 car tabs.”

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Voters approved I-976 with 53 percent in favor across Washington state. The Washington State Office of Financial Management estimates that the adoption of I-976 would slash $1.9 billion in state revenue over the next six years, as well as $2.3 billion in local governments in that same period. That includes a $35 million funding gap in Seattle’s own budget.

Just over a week after Election Day, the city of Seattle and King County, among others, filed a lawsuit over I-976, arguing that the initiative violates the state’s Constitution. Recently a King County judge upheld Initiative 976, though the measure remains on hold and an appeal is expected.

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As Jason theorized, perhaps the bill had support from Democrats from outside the Seattle area, but they saw the King County decision. So from their perspective, why take on the angry Seattle Democrats and anger leadership when they think the courts are going to side with the voice of the people?

“Well, I don’t want to get too political here, but when November rolls around and many are going to be on the ballot, people will have been still paying their car tabs for a year even though they voted themselves $30 car tabs,” he said. “So they’re not going to feel like their elected members heard their cry and listened to them when they had a chance back in the 2020 session.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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