State Senate passes local transportation tax bill

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- City and county governments would have more flexibility to impose local transportation taxes under a bill that narrowly passed out of the state Senate on Monday.

Senate Bill 6582 would allow the local taxing districts to impose a vehicle license fee of up to $40, or a motor vehicle excise tax of up to 1 percent, so long as that MVET tax is approved by popular vote. The measure passed by a 25-24 vote and now heads to the House.

Proponents say it gives local governments much-needed flexibility to deal with transportation issues. Critics argue that it is another way to avoid putting tax votes before the electorate in some cases.