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Friday, November 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Opinion >  Guest Opinion

Tim Eyman: Reject dishonest vehicle taxes, vote yes on I-976

Tim Eyman

Taxpayers are getting ripped off, everybody knows it, and politicians refuse to fix it. That’s why 352,000 voters signed petitions to get Initiative 976 on the ballot.

Taxing a $10,000 vehicle like it’s $25,000 is fraud. Initiative 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 its customers like this, the 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.

Politicians admit their taxes are dishonest and inaccurate. But they won’t fix them because the public interest groups feeding at the trough won’t let them. For 2 1/2 years, citizens have been screaming at politicians to fix them, but they haven’t. When I-976 qualified in January, the Legislature had all session to fix them. They didn’t. They could’ve put an alternative on the ballot alongside I-976. They didn’t do that either. Why? Because the public interest groups that get the dishonest taxes wouldn’t allow it.

This is exactly why we have the initiative process – to give the 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. We’re already paying huge sales taxes when we buy a vehicle, huge gas taxes and tolls when we use a vehicle, we shouldn’t be forced to pay dishonest triple taxes just to own a vehicle. Working-class folks, not just rich people, should be able to afford a newer vehicle. And under I-976, future vehicle taxes and fees must be voter-approved and based on Kelley Blue Book. 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.

If we can’t get tax relief when there’s a huge $3.5 billion tax surplus, when can we? Besides, all the money taxpayers save will get pumped right back into our state’s economy. Opponents’ threats, lies and scare tactics are absurd – I-976 only affects a tiny fraction of government spending. An oversized semitruck knocked down the Skagit Valley bridge – but TV ads claim low taxes 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.

Triple-taxing vehicles is indefensible. Taxing a $10,000 vehicle like it’s $25,000 is fraud. Taxpayers are getting ripped off – that’s the issue. Attacking me? A dumb distraction. I didn’t create dishonest vehicle taxes, the government did. I didn’t create dishonest vehicle valuations, the politicians did. When Karen and I sold off our retirement fund and loaned $500K to kickstart the signature drive for this historic effort, it was a huge risk. But we had faith – unshakable faith that there were lots of people sick and tired of getting ripped off. Polls show our faith was not misplaced.

Overwhelming voter approval of I-976 is the only way to get rid of this dishonest tax. Politicians will never fix it – here’s our only chance. Vote Yes on I-976.

Tim Eyman is a co-sponsor of I-976. His email is 30tabs@gmail.com and website is www.30tabs.com

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