$30 car tabs once again on the ballot

January 7th, 2019 by Ken

There was a time in this state, when drivers had to pay as much as half a month’s salary just to register their car or truck to drive on state and local roads. When the monthly salary was around $500, some people were paying as much as $300 just to register their car and get their car tabs

State legislators were blind to the impact those car tabs had on a working family’s income and continued to increase the license fees every year to fund road and highway construction,.

Then, a watch salesman from King County decided – enough was enough – and embarked on an initiative campaign to reduce the price of car tabs to a reasonable amount – $30. Thus began the career of Tim Eyman, who tapped into voter dissatisfaction with the amount of money government was spending.

In 1999, voter’s approved I-695 which set the price of car tabs at $30. The Washington State Supreme Court ruled that measure invalid, but the legislature bowing to the public’s demand and wanting to get re-elected, approved $30 car tabs.

Over the next few years, the price started creeping upwards, as the legislature just couldn’t keep its hand off that easy money. So, in 2002 Eyman tried again – and again the voters approved $30 car tabs. And, again, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled against the measure on the grounds that income from the tabs was already pledged by King County to support bonds sold for Sound Transit.

Eyman tried twice more in 2016 and 2017 to get a $30 car tab initiative before the voters but failed to get enough signatures to get the measure on the ballot. But, this year he was successful. A measure to lower car tabs to $30 will once again be before the voters when all of the signatures are counted and validated.

To make certain the courts won’t rule against the measure, Eyman has stipulated in the initiative that tab income already pledged to sell bonds, will continue.

Voters will be able to lock in $30 car tabs in most areas of the state, unless the Washington State Supreme Court once again finds that the state needs the money more than the taxpayers.

Posted in The Real News

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