Car Tab Fee Elimination Dependent on Snoqualmie Proposition 1

On the upcoming general election ballot, the City of Snoqualmie has placed Proposition 1 – the Sales & Use Tax for Transportation Improvements. The tax increase would be two-tenths of one percent (0.2%), twenty cents per $100 on taxable goods and services. 

The increase would fund programs such as the rehabilitation of Snoqualmie Parkway, resurfacing streets, and replacement of sidewalks. Making these improvements would also reduce expenditures on short-term repairs.

Potential Elimination of Snoqualmie Vehicle License Fee

Snoqualmie vehicle owners currently pay a $40 annual vehicle license fee with a permanent $20 fee toward City of Snoqualmie transportation improvements and a temporary $20 fee toward the City’s contribution of the recently completed I-90 temporary on-ramp.  

If Prop. 1 is approved by voters, the $40 annual vehicle license fee will be eliminated as of April 1, 2022. 

If Prop. 1 is rejected by voters, the permanent $20 fee will remain in effect to pay for ongoing transportation improvements, and the temporary $20 fee will be extended through September 30, 2022, to pay for the remainder of the City’s contribution of the I-90 temporary on-ramp.  

Financial Impact in Dollars and Cents

Currently, residents and non-residents pay a 6.5% state sales tax and a 2.2% local sales tax for a total of 8.7% that is split with the majority going toward King County – including Metro – and the rest going to the City of Snoqualmie. 

That equates to a sales tax of $8.70 on $100.00 of taxable goods and services. If Prop. 1 is approved by Snoqualmie voters, residents and non-residents alike would pay $8.90 on $100.00 of taxable goods and services, a difference of twenty cents.

Impact on Snoqualmie Street and Sidewalk Programs

The current $40 vehicle license fee generates approximately $406,000 annually for transportation programs. 

The potential tax increase of two-tenths of one percent (or 20 cents per $100) on taxable goods and services would generate approximately $550,000 annually in revenue for streets and sidewalks. 

Less Burden on Snoqualmie Residents

Unlike the vehicle license fee paid only by residents, the City anticipates that residents and non-residents would each contribute approximately half of the $550,000, creating a more balanced funding source for transportation improvements.

More Information

Facts, reference documents, and informational links are posted on the City of Snoqualmie website at bit.ly/SnoqSalesTax.

[Information provided by the City of Snoqualmie]

Comments

  1. Richard Scheel says

    I encourage all voters to carefully read the “Pro” and “Con” arguments that will be in the voter’s pamphlet, so you can see both sides of this decision. The information above is provided by the city administration, who want Prop 1 to be passed.

    Note that except for the first 6 months, the sales tax would replace only the permanent $20 car tab, not the $40 tab fee that the city initially compared the sales tax to. According to the city’s numbers (above, and on the city website), the $20 permanent car tabs generate $203,000 per year, while they estimate that the sales tax increase will generate $550,000 per year. It seems highly unlikely that the $347,000 difference is going to all come from visitors. The only way this will be a savings to residents is if the sales tax costs residents less than $203,000 per year, and costs visitors more than $347,000 per year. That would mean that visitors would have to spend at least 71% more in the city than residents do! It seems very unlikely to me.

    Also, the sales tax increase is specified as lasting a minimum of 10 years (it is allowed to go longer). At any time, the City Council can legally re-impose car tabs as high as $40 without needing voter approval. We could end up with both $40 car tabs AND the increased sales tax!

  2. Pretty sure I can afford an extra 20 cents for every $100 I spend to pay for road and sidewalk maintenance when taking the $20 saving into account. Check my math but to spend $20 bucks as a result of the increased sales tax would require me to spend $10,000 in Snoqualmie. I would need to really examine my spending to figure out how much more in tax I’ll be paying but seems reasonable enough to cover some much needed repairs. Too bad there isn’t a solution to semi trucks using the parkway to access 202 and the timberlands as they cause much more damage than a typical car. Also, simply removing trees along the sidewalks would eliminate a lot of sidewalk repairs but that might cost more upfront and people do enjoy the trees.

  3. Local sales tax is also charged on all mail-order purchases, as well as on large purchases such as automobiles. If you, hypothetically, spent $1,000 per month on car payments, that’d be your “$10,000 in Snoqualmie,” right there.

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