I-976 measure could cost Spokane $3 million in revenue

Initiative 976 is on its way to being passed across Washington.

In Spokane, 54 percent of voters said yes compared to 45 percent voting no.

The measure is to reduce car tabs to just $30 with no additional taxes or fees.

But, that means Spokane loses about $3 million in revenue.

The city says things like residential streets, bike lanes, and transit may take a hit.

“So, that means we will have half the money available for residential street construction which means we’ll have to reduce those projects,” city spokesperson Marlene Feist said.

Political watchdogs the Washington Policy Center say it’s now up to the cities to find a new avenue for those costs.

“They still have the sales tax and other tools at their disposal, but if they feel those are priorities for the city or the residents then they need to go those residents and talk to them,” Transportation Director Mariya Frost said.

Right now, Spokane doesn’t have any replacement dollars to make up for the lost revenue from car tabs.

“There’s no money in our budget to add an extra $3 million, so if our council members wanted to consider asking voters to raise taxes we could look at something like that,” Feist said.

This is a statewide intiative, so it could even affect funding for projects the state is paying for.

“There’s investments the state is making directly into our community like the North Spokane Corridor, so we don’t know if funding for those projects might be impacted as well,” Feist said.