POINT OF VIEW: Vehicle tabs should be at flat $30 fee

HOW MANY TIMES do we, the people, have to vote for $30 vehicle tabs before our “representatives” respect our decision? Apparently, one more. Initiative 976 is on the ballot because 352,000 voters signed petitions because they’re upset the government keeps ignoring us.

Voters in 1999 passed Initiative 695 and it capped vehicle registration fees at $30 per year. In January 2000, everyone’s vehicle tabs dropped. Then in March 2000, a King County judge ruled voters were confused and struck down the initiative. But then Gov. Gary Locke said, “Regardless of the court’s ruling today, $30 license tabs are here to stay. It is clear the voters disliked, hated, high car tab taxes.” The Legislature repealed the state car tab tax (vote was 83-13 in House, 39-9 in Senate).

In 2002, voters passed Initiative 776 and it stopped local governments from jacking up vehicle tabs.

Voters have been clear: We don’t want politicians dishonestly taxing our vehicles. Besides, we already pay a huge sales tax when we buy a vehicle, pay a huge gas tax when we use it, we shouldn’t be forced to pay a huge annual tax just to own a vehicle (especially when it’s dishonestly calculated). We’re already paying more than our fair share with all the other charges imposed on us.

Besides, taxing a $10,000 vehicle like it’s $25,000 is fraud. I-976 repeals the dishonest vehicle valuation schedule that politicians are currently using to artificially inflate our vehicle taxes. If a private company was price gouging, government would shut it down. But here, because it’s the government taking more than they should with a dishonest tax, all we’re hearing is threats, lies and scare tactics.

For two years, citizens have been screaming at politicians to fix the problem, but they haven’t. When I-976 qualified in January, the Legislature had all session to fix them. They didn’t. Why? Because the pigs at the trough — Big Business, Big Labor, politicians, the press that are feeding off the dishonest taxes — wouldn’t allow it.

This is exactly why we have the initiative process — to give voters the chance to solve a problem the politicians won’t.

I-976 gets rid of dishonest vehicle taxes, repeals artificially inflated vehicle valuations, and sets license tabs to a flat, fair and reasonable $30 per year for your car, truck, motorcycle, motorhome, and other vehicles. It’s a commonsense policy the voters have repeatedly passed.

Working-class folks, not just rich people, should be able to afford a newer vehicle. And under I-976, future vehicle charges must be voter-approved and based on Kelley Blue Book-values. In other words, they’ll have to ask our permission and tax us honestly.

If politicians had any compassion for the average taxpayer, I-976 wouldn’t be necessary. Washington is one of the highest-taxed states in the nation: Dishonest vehicle taxes, skyrocketing property taxes, crushing sales taxes, massive gas taxes, obnoxious tolls and costly fees on everything.

Despite record revenues and a huge $3.5 billion tax surplus, Olympia imposed 11 new taxes costing $27 billion. It’s insane. Now they’re demanding income taxes, carbon taxes, pay-per-mile taxes. Enough is enough.

Opponents’ threats, lies and scare tactics are absurd. An oversized semi-truck knocked down the Skagit Valley Bridge — but TV ads claim old age caused it. Total lie. Not a penny of car tab taxes goes to roads or bridges – gas taxes pay for those. And that $3.5 billion tax surplus can easily backfill any affected program.

Taxing a $10,000 vehicle like it’s $25,000 is fraud. Taxpayers won’t tolerate getting ripped off and that’s why a Q13 TV poll shows 67 percent support for I-976 and a KOMO TV poll showed 85 percent support for $30 tabs.

Overwhelming voter approval of I-976 is the only way to get rid of these dishonest taxes. Politicians will never fix them — here’s our only chance. Vote yes on I-976.


Sue Forde collected hundreds of signatures for Initiative 976 and chairs the Clallam County Republican Party which endorsed the initiative. For more information, see www.30tabs.com or email [email protected]

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