South County Politics: Liias says Senate Republicans’ stand on car-tax fees hurts families

State Sen. Marko Liias

State Sen. Marko Liias said last week that Senate Republicans’ unwillingness to compromise on car-tax fees hurts the budgets of Washington families.

Liias, the Democratic minority floor leader, represents the 21st Legislative District, including most of Edmonds, unincorporated areas north of Edmonds and Lynnwood and northeast of Lynnwood, all of Mukilteo and part of south Everett.

His statement came after a party-line rejection Thursday of his amendment to a bill on Sound Transit car-tab fees.

He said that his amendment would have given car-tab tax relief to thousands of Washington families and preserve the will of voters in the Puget Sound area.

“Senate Democrats worked across party lines and with Sound Transit directly to find solutions to help taxpayers impacted by high car-tab fees,” Liias said. “We did this while working to maintain the will of the voters and the integrity of the transportation projects they supported in November.”

Voters in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties approved a measure in November that increased car-tab fees, along with property and sales taxes, to expand Sound Transit light rail.

“I am beyond disappointed that our plan was rejected by Senate Republicans,” Liias said.
“Passed instead was a bill that undermines the will of 54 percent of voters, jeopardizes transit projects and almost certainly will end up in court.

“Politics and ideology, rather than good government, won the day. In 2015, 16 Senate Republicans voted to authorize the same Sound Transit program they voted to undermine today.

Liias said that Senate Republicans’ response to this issue “has been just as bewildering as it is frustrating.

“They clearly understand there’s a problem, yet it seems they’re more interested in grandstanding and pointing fingers than providing tax relief,” he said.

“Again, 16 Senate Republicans who are members of the Senate today voted to raise the gas tax and give Sound Transit the authorization to collect taxes this way. If they want to assign blame, they don’t need to look very far.

“We will keep working toward a middle ground. We hope that at some point Senate Republicans will join us.”

Angela Harris

Political newcomer announces run for Edmonds Port Commission

Political newcomer Angela Harris, a senior business program manager at Microsoft, has registered her intention to run in 2017 elections for the position on the Edmonds Port Commission that Frederick Gouge now holds.

Harris recently registered with the state Public Disclosure Commission as a candidate for the position, a step that allows a candidate to raise and spend money for the coming elections.

Her campaign website is here.

Candidates file May 15-19 for positions on the Aug. 1 primary-election ballot or Nov. 7 general-election ballot. Positions with three or more candidates appear on the primary ballot, with the top two vote getters qualifying for the general election. Positions with only one or two candidates appear only on the general-election ballot.

Gouge said Monday that he isn’t yet ready to announce his intentions.

— By Evan Smith

Evan Smith can be reached at [email protected]


  1. I am totally disappointed in Senator Liila’s comments. He does not address what his bill would do, let alone what the objections were. Anything less than a bill setting car tabs based on fair market value, for everyone, is just another way to make it look like they are really doing something. What they are really doing is keeping the revenue stream without giving much relief for anyone,
    Very deceptive. This is exactly what the Sound Transit Seattle 3 folks did the first go around that is really making folks unhappy.


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