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Spokane Legislators Mixed About Court Rejection Of Car Tabs Initiative

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Spokane area state legislators have mixed feelings about today’s state Supreme Court ruling that the $30 car tab initiative is unconstitutional.

“This is a really serious thing and I’m disappointed," said Spokane Valley Republican Bob McCaslin, a member of the House Transportation Committee.“You know, this initiative has passed every time it’s been on the ballot and the King County court ruled in favor of it. So, it kind of blows me away," he said.

Also on the state House Transportation Committee is Spokane Democrat Marcus Riccelli.

“I think this is mixed because it’s good news for vulnerable people who rely on special needs transportation, our seniors, the disabled, veterans and people who need to get to their health care appointments," Riccelli said. "But we need to have a much more robust conversation about how we fund transportation in the future. I’m pleased to be part of that discussion.”

Riccelli says funding transportation was already scheduled to be high on the agenda of next year’s legislative session and this doesn’t change that.

What's next? Sen. Mike Padden [R-Spokane Valley] says the next step is obvious.

“I think the legislature now should enact it. It’s clearly the will of the people. They want the car tabs at $30," he said, though he's not optimistic that will happen.

In a past iteration of the car tabs initiative, Padden says former Governor Gary Locke led the fight to get it through the legislature after the people approved it and the courts rejected it.

Opponents of the initiative argued it would remove hundreds of millions of dollars that were budgeted for transportation projects around the state. But even with the measure no longer valid, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Timm Ormsby of Spokane says the state still faces significant transportation funding challenges.