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caption: Traffic is shown on Aurora Ave., on Monday, January 22, 2018, in Seattle.
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Traffic is shown on Aurora Ave., on Monday, January 22, 2018, in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Challenge to car tabs initiative goes to court

A King County Judge will decide whether to pause Initiative 976, the measure that would limit car tabs to $30.

A hearing Tuesday was part of a multi-party lawsuit which includes King County and the city of Seattle against the initiative.

Lawyers told Superior Court Judge Marshall Ferguson that the language in the initiative misled voters and violates Washington’s constitution.

Attorney Carolyn Boies argued that if the measure were to take effect next week as scheduled, King County would lose $2.68 million by Christmas.

“What we’re talking about is revenue that should be coming in the door. And the question is, 'Is there a harm if that revenue doesn’t come in?'" Boies said. "You’d have to take that money from somewhere."

Alan Copsey, a lawyer for the state who defended the initiative, argued that voters knew what they were endorsing. He said that lost revenue in King County could be pulled from other streams of money.

He told the court the plaintiffs failed to meet the standard for an injunction.

“To establish a clear and legal equitable right the plaintiffs have to show a likelihood that they will prevail on the merits of their claim. They have to show that 1-976 is unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt. They have not met that burden,” Copsey said.

Copsey added that the plaintiffs say they’ll be harmed, but they haven’t proven that the harms will be immediate.

Judge Ferguson said he would make his ruling late Tuesday or early Wednesday.