Car Tabs

The Legislature has approved a bill that would allow a county or city to add $20 to your Motor Vehicle Excise Tax without a vote.

If Bremerton were able to collect all the money from the program, it would get the city halfway to the point in which it could repave and repair its streets on a reasonably frequent basis, according to Public Works Director Phil Williams.

The city or county can also argue that at least the money is strictly directed to cover the cost of transportation.

But residents feeling stung by taxes in the first place, then miffed that the Port of Bremerton added a 45-cent per thousand tax to build the Bremerton Marina are in little mood to welcome any new charge.

Washington state tax gadfly Tim Eyman sent out a lengthy e-mail yesterday charging that the legislation is an insult to taxpayers who voted, twice, to keep tabs at $30.

“In 2002, the voters approved Initiative 776 which, among other things, stopped COUNTIES from unilaterally imposing a $15 per vehicle fee. The message was clear: no more car tab fees imposed by local governments and, no matter what, no higher car tab fees without a vote of the people. This bill replaces a smaller $15 fee with a larger $20 fee and, just to add insult to injury, expands the governments that can impose it, including BOTH counties AND cities. All without a vote of the people.”

The Northwest Progressive Institute countered that voters have shown a willingness to increase the MVET payments for transportation. The NWPI blog includes this:

“Of course Eyman would say that, but it’s certainly not an insult to taxpayers. The Legislature is acting on input gathered from the people of Washington State, who are tired of sitting in gridlock and desperate for transportation solutions.”

According to Ashley Probart from the Association of Washington Cities, the impetus for the bill came in Clark County in Southwest Washington, when the next best option for finding money for transportation projects was B&O taxes. Rather than saddling business with that tax, state Rep. Bill Fromhold, D-Vancouver, got this bill going.

Seven Kitsap legislators voted for the bill. One was excused from the vote. State Rep. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island voted “no.”

You can read Eyman’s e-mail and one by the NW Progressive Institute by clicking on the link below.


April 12 Northwest Progressive Institute e-mail

The Northwest Progressive Institute today commended the Legislature’s approval of a bill that allows local governments to authorize a motor vehicle excise tax to fund transportation improvements.

NPI’s Executive Director observed in a blog entry that recent polling shows voters are willing to pay an MVET in return for sorely needed roads transit upgrades – and noted that recent right wing initiatives to repeal taxes have been failures, a clear indication that the people of Washington want to invest in public infrastructure.

http://www.nwprogressive.org/weblog/2007/04/taxpayers-willing-to-pay-motor-vehicle.html

Tim Eyman’s April 12 e-mail

Politicians’ lust for more tax dollars is insatiable. You’d think a whopping $2 billion tax surplus would deter them from jacking up taxes even higher and looking greedy. But they are simply shameless when it comes to their unquenchable thirst for higher taxes.

We’ve just learned that the House and Senate approved a bill to allow counties and cities to substantially increase car tab fees — WITHOUT A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE.

Now it’s up to Governor Gregoire to decide if she respects the voters or not (she hasn’t said whether or not she’ll sign the bill into law).

Flying under the radar screen for months (today’s Tacoma News Tribune article was the first story on this bill), House Bill 1858 is a triple insult to the taxpayers:

1) This bill violates the voters’ double decision on $30 car tabs (1999’s I-695 and 2002’s I-776)
2) This bill violates the Legislature’s decision in 2000 to set and keep car tabs at $30
3) This bill tells counties and cities they can unilaterally impose higher car tabs WITHOUT A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE

In 2002, the voters approved Initiative 776 which, among other things, stopped COUNTIES from unilaterally imposing a $15 per vehicle fee. The message was clear: no more car tab fees imposed by local governments and, no matter what, no higher car tab fees without a vote of the people. This bill replaces a smaller $15 fee with a larger $20 fee and, just to add insult to injury, expands the governments that can impose it, including BOTH counties AND cities. All without a vote of the people.

If Governor Gregoire signs this bill into law, she will be showing the highest level of contempt for the voters.

In addition, Olympia is diluting voter-approved Initiative 747’s 1% limit. Despite this limit being in effect for five years, we have yet to find any taxpayer who feels their property tax bill wasn’t high enough. All we hear from taxpayers are complaints of massive increases in property taxes. Again, this crushing property tax burden is occurring with I-747 in effect. Nonetheless, the Legislature is moving full steam ahead to pass Enhanced Senate Bill 5498 that makes it much, much easier for local
governments to increase property taxes even more.

If ESB 5498 is approved in both the House and Senate, Governor Gregoire will again decide whether she respects the voters or not.

It’s important to remember that candidate Gregoire promised, if elected, not to raise taxes. She broke that promise in the 2005 and 2006 legislative sessions. We’ll see how she does in 2007 when she decides the fate of anti-$30-Tabs HB 1858 and anti-1%-limit ESB 5498.

7 thoughts on “Car Tabs

  1. This another issue to the question WHY VOTE !!! if the legislators disreguard our wishes and raise taxes regardless of the way we vote. Maybe they should relinguish some of their salary hikes to help pay for he roads. They dont ever seem to have a problem voting theierselves raises. Elected officials is just anothrf place of broken promises.

  2. Does the state, county, cities and legislators realize John and Jane Doe have budgets also. Do they have their head in the sand. Every year my health care, dental, co-pay for service and prescriptions raise. You can add the 1%property tax lid the state brought to the courts to overturn onto that also. Now they want another 20 bucks for roads on top of the 5 cent per gallon we pay at the pump for roads. let me see $20 divided by .05 equals 400 gallons divided by 12 months equals 33.33 gallons a month. I think the voters shot down the .09 cent a gallon tax so the state did the .05 without a vote. Call me stupid but does the $20 just gives the state at least the .09 they wanted, through a loop hole. Thank you Olympia, Mr. and Mrs. Doe have had it, a no vote for ALL future taxes and YESES for all future tax reductions.

  3. Okay i have been here 22 years and i can’t believe Bremerton hasn’t had any money to fix the roads, when they sure have had all new police vehicles, condo’s for Seattle people to move into, a new hotel, a new police station and don’t forget the new cen com building! People in Bremerton are not rich and can barely get a job since there are none. I voted for those $30 tabs and my voter rights have sure been abused and manipulated! I ask you, can you shove anymore down our throats or pockets!

  4. $20.00 a head, in one year, is quite a bit. This is unfair to the taxpayers, who have voted to keep the car tabs low. I’ve got an idea, let’s charge a special tax to the RV’ers and other heavy duty trucks that come south from B.C. and from other states that put that extra wear on our roads. That would be a better plan.

  5. Voters voted against a tax increase to cover the use of passenger ferries and the subject is over.

    The House and Senate have approved a bill adding $20. to license tabs knowing full well the voters don’t want it.

    If they can sneak around – who knew?! – and nail tax payers to the wall without their permission OR knowledge, why didn’t they do the same thing for the passenger ferries?

    I don’t doubt the money can be used…but, have to wonder why excess money is going to add unnecessary frills to the new Manette bridge … when Bremerton streets and roads need repair.

    Oh, now I understand. The money for the roads is coming from the new surprise for the tax payers.

    They ‘knew’ such a tax would not be approved – did they ever plan to tell us?

    Why doesn’t government have to live within their means when the people supporting our government have to?

    If roads need repair, why are you adding the cost of frills to a bridge????
    Sharon O’Hara

  6. This is most likely going to be the only time I agree with Jake.

    It’s just $20.00.

    That means one less trip to a fast food resturant

    One less movie from Walmart

    One less CD from anywhere

    I bet if Washington State decided since it can’t raise money through increasing some fees, such as car tabs, that it would have to institute a state income tax, you would all suddenly see that 20.00 isn’t all that bad after all.

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