Posts Tagged ‘state’

Whidbey Island Double Bluff Park, one of the bluffs.

Whidbey Island Double Bluff Park, one of the bluffs.

One thing I did not think about before moving up to Seattle was car registration. I envisioned the process to entail going to the DMV with the title and asking to get a couple Washington plates. I thought it would be easy enough to do via mail.

I was a bit mistaken in that belief.

Registering an out of state car in Seattle (and Washington) is no easy feat. The first difficulty was the emissions test. There was no difficulty in passing the emissions test, I just wished that I could have used my emission test from California in lieu of a new emission test. In particular the testing center recommended driving on the freeway for fifteen minutes before getting the car tested in order to bring it to normal operating temperature.

First I find it off that there is a recommended amount of driving to do before getting an emissions test. Second the test is required every other year, I drove aimlessly on the freeway for fifteen minutes before the test, doing nothing but adding a car to the road for that time. Maybe this is why the traffic is bed in Seattle, people are just trying to warm up their cars for the emissions test.

The second difficulty faced by myself on the other out of state students moving here is the tax required on registration. If the car was purchased recently the person registering needs to pay Washington sales tax (about 10%) on the fair market value of the car. If the car was gifted recently this tax needs to be paid. The exception is if the car has been owned by the driver in another state for over ninety days. I fortunately fall into this category however my friends do not and they will probably be paying somewhere between $400 and $1000 to register their cars. Mostly they have either newer cars (bought just shy of ninety days ago) or they inherited them.

One of my friends, who is not happy with this tax, blames it on Washington being poorly run and out of money. Coming from California I am quite familiar with a state being out of money and trying to find creative sources of new income. However I could not believe that Washington was worse off. Absolutely they are not but per capita the state is actually in a worse shape then California. Based on Google California has a deficit of $1166 per person while Washington has a deficit of $1230 per person. Maybe the car registration tax is an attempt to close that deficit.

That or they just don’t like people moving into their state.

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