Renter says he’s forced to choose between paying car tabs or rent

Feb 15, 2018, 5:52 PM | Updated: Feb 16, 2018, 10:24 am
Digital license plates, car tabs, car tab relief, car-tab fees, licensing...
LISTEN: Make a choice: Pay car tabs or your rent

The homelessness crisis in Western Washington is believe to be the result of a lot of factors — the opioid crisis, the dramatic rise in living costs, etc. Now, another burden could add to that difficulty of keeping a roof over your head — car tabs.

“These tabs are godawful expensive,” listener Casey told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show. “We got cheap cars to avoid paying these premium prices. My roommate got a lease to do the same. And now we are tapping into our rent.”

RELATED: Car tab relief bill makes progress in Olympia

Casey is now wrestling with paying for high car tabs as a result of Sound Transit 3 — the voter-approved plan to build light rail and other transit solutions in Western Washington. A fee was added to the car tabs to help pay for the plan. But they have become controversial after it was discovered Sound Transit opted to use an outdated method to calculate the fees — one that inflates the value of cars to achieve a much higher price. Lawmakers have been scrambling to fix it ever since.

But while lawmakers wrestle with a fix, Casey is still burdened with the car tabs today. His household — with three cars — is on the hook for more than $1,600 in car tab fees. All three are commuters and the cars aren’t fancy. One is a Ford Focus. Another is a Toyota with decent gas mileage. And a roommate leased a car from his employer.

“And our rent is only $1,649,” Casey points out. “We are going to roll around with bad tabs for a bit because we have to choose. My roommate is going to wait for his tax return. I’m going to borrow some money from my dad to try to pay this.”

Car tabs and politics

Casey is aware that officials in Olympia have debated fixing the fee structure, but he isn’t holding his breath. In fact, the financial hits have changed his political outlook.

RELATED: Making $100K and still struggling to support a family

“I feel like they don’t care,” Casey said. “Especially our attorney general and our governor. I used to be a guy who was on the left. But because of them, I just keep getting pushed further and further away. I have zero trust in our state government here in Washington. I know we have some great reps in places, but it’s hard to be great when you have an attorney general who only cares about his pocket … I can tell you that I’ve lost all faith in the left in this state. They’ve lost my vote, my roommate’s vote, and my girlfriend’s vote in my household. I hope that’s a trend.”

“As things changed in this state, and jobs, taxes and prices … I’ve been pushed into being more conservative,” he added.

Hear Dori’s full conversation with Casey here.


Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

Dori Monson Show

Dori Monson

Dori Monson Show

Seattle homeowner sells rental, says he doesn’t want to ‘be a landlord here’

The owner of a West Seattle home describes why he doesn't want to be a landlord in the city and is selling his home with the tenants in it.
1 day ago
Seattle firefighters...
Dori Monson Show

Terminated Seattle firefighters turn in their boots

Seattle firefighters who lost their jobs over the COVID vaccine mandate dropped off their boots on Tuesday.
2 days ago
Dori Monson Show

Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer says he’ll fight AG’s misdemeanor charges

Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer is charged with one count of false reporting, and one count of making a false or misleading statement to a public servant.
2 days ago
scam, vaccine...
Dori Monson Show

Meet the firefighter and deckhand who won’t get vaccinated

Washington state’s COVID vaccine mandate for most government, healthcare, and education employees is set to take effect Oct. 18. Meet the state workers who are leaving their jobs.
6 days ago
JAY INSLEE, covid...
Dori Monson

Dori: Inslee planning to push COVID vax through 2024

Gov. Jay Inslee has given himself extra-constitutional "emergency" powers for 19 months. Now it looks like he is planning to extend those powers.
6 days ago
seattle police, vaccine...
Dori Monson Show

Seattle police union president says some officers are ‘willing to walk away’ from job in solidarity

If Seattle police officers are not vaccinated against COVID-19 or haven't submitted proof by Oct. 18, they risk losing their job.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Renter says he’s forced to choose between paying car tabs or rent