Stambaugh introduces bill exempting trailers from MVET

Rep. Melanie Stambaugh has introduced legislation to provide tax relief for Washingtonians paying regional transit authority (RTA) taxes in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties.

Under House Bill 2569, trailers would be exempt from the 1.1 percent RTA Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET) imposed with new or renewed vehicle registrations.

Since the passage of Sound Transit 3 in 2016, Stambaugh, R-Puyallup, says many of her constituents have shared concerns about their increased car-tab fees, sales and use taxes, and property taxes. She says they are also wondering why their trailers are being taxed.

“A constituent recently contacted me asking why Sound Transit 3 car-tab fees would apply to their horse trailer when their mule wouldn’t benefit from any of the services Sound Transit provides,” said Stambaugh. This particular email was different from all other emails I’ve received, as it was cleverly written from the mule’s perspective. It’s not only an entertaining read, but it also perfectly illustrates the absurdity of trailer owners paying car-tab fees on their vehicles and on the trailers they’re pulling. This is clearly double taxation, and it needs to be addressed.”

House Bill 2569 is currently in the House Transportation Committee.

Below is the email Stambaugh received from “Tulley the Mule” regarding the MVET on trailers:

Dear Representative Stambaugh,

My name is Tulley. I’m a mule. I think you know my owner, Mark. 

Mark has a problem, and I hope you can help him. You see, when my mule trailer tabs came due (most folks call it a horse trailer, but we all know mules are superior to horses), he had to pay $110 for RTA taxes on the trailer. I did not know what RTA taxes were (you see, I just like apples and good hay), so he explained it was to support mass transit. Busses, trains, and light rail so people can go to Seattle. It also pays for extra lanes for car pools to travel on big roads.

I asked, “what’s Seattle”? I pretty much like to hang out in the woods around Mt. Rainier.  

He said it was a big, crowded city where I was not allowed. Now, I like a good adventure, so I asked him if I could ride the bus, train or light rail to that place called Seattle.  

Mark called Sound Transit and nope, mules are not allowed on busses, trains, or light rail.  He also called the state patrol, and guess what, I don’t count as a person! When he is towing my trailer we cannot use the HOV lanes. I guess the H must stand for Human.

So, my human, Mark has a problem. You see, if he owned a motor home, he would not pay RTA taxes. If he owned a travel trailer, he would not pay RTA taxes. But for some reason, since he owns me (well, I let him think he owns me, but we both know better), he has to pay $110 per year for rapid transit I cannot use.

Representative Stambaugh, can you help Mark out? This issue seems so simple, even a horse could solve it. And we all know mules are superior to horses.

Yours Truly,

Tulley the Mule

Tulley the Mule


Washington State House Republican Communications