Eyman’s car tab initiative not going to vote

Would-be initiative to set car tabs at $30 didn’t gain enough signatures
By Brandon Gustafson | Jan 03, 2018

Last July, political activist and Mukilteo resident Tim Eyman announced his latest initiative to cap car tab fees at $30.

As 2017 came to a close, so too did Eyman’s quest to get his initiative on the ballot.

Last Friday, Dec. 29, Eyman sent out an email saying, “Despite months of hard work and effort by a lot of great people, I'm really disappointed to announce that we didn't make it.”

Eyman’s initiative would have hit hard against Sound Transit’s finances.

Last year, Sound Transit 3 passed with 54 percent of the vote. This resulted in more than tripling the car tab tax in the region, which covers much of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

“Even though bringing back our $30 car tabs has overwhelming public support (85 percent, according to a KOMO 4 poll), we didn't collect the 350,000 signatures needed to get our measure on the ballot,” Eyman said in his email. “I know that this is heartbreaking news.”

Eyman went on to say that had the initiative made it to the ballot, he believes it would have passed.

“We all know that if our $30 car tabs initiative had qualified for a vote, it would've been overwhelmingly approved by the voters across the state, especially in the Puget Sound.”

Eyman said his group’s “timing was perfect” due to people’s apparent anger toward increasing car tab taxes, Sound Transit “ripping everyone off by artificially inflating the value of everyone’s vehicles” and how the 2017 Legislature “only talked about the problem but didn’t do anything to fix it.”

Eyman went on to say that money was the ultimate deciding factor in not garnering enough signatures.

“Why didn't we make it this time? It boils down to money – we just didn't raise enough funds to hire paid petitioners to supplement our volunteers,” Eyman’s email said. “Getting 350,000 sigs in a handful of months is hugely difficult even when the initiative's policy is super popular.

“Last year, four liberal initiatives qualified for the ballot – the AVERAGE amount of money raised and spent was $1.6 million (the low was $1.2 million and the high was $1.8 million). If we had raised that much, we would've hired paid petitioners and then we would've made it. Nowadays, it's near essential to hire paid professionals.”

Joe Kunzler, who is a regular in the Mukilteo Beacon’s “Letters to the Editor” section, the comment section on our website and according to his Twitter account is a “member of a Transit Community Advisory Committee,” is a big transit supporter who continually writes and posts about transit issues.

Kunzler sent out an email celebrating Eyman’s defeat in the moments following Eyman’s announcement.

“Our communities, not just Sound Transit, won,” Kunzler said in his email. “Setting license tabs at $30 would mean no funding for road maintenance, not just ST3. No funding for improved sidewalks. No funding for park and rides.

“It's one thing to put new taxes to a public vote, it's another to threaten to gut basic road maintenance in our suburbs and rural areas because some just don't like Sound Transit.”

When reached for further comment, Kunzler showed appreciation for public official Jessyn Farrell, who ran for mayor of Seattle in 2017 and who spoke out against Eyman’s initiative.

“I submit all elected officials should, when faced with an Eyman initiative threatening to defund their government's operations, muster the same poise and moxie as Jessyn Farrell and call out Tim Eyman,” Kunzler said.

Kunzler went on to say Eyman should focus on holding transit boards more accountable, rather than trying to defund them.

“If Tim Eyman truly wanted to make Sound Transit more accountable instead of defund public transportation, Eyman would fight to make the transit boards elected and directly accountable,” Kunzler said.

Eyman also has been in the news recently due to a lawsuit filed by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

Ferguson is accusing Eyman of profiting off of money donated to his initiative campaigns.


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