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$30 car tabs officially on the November ballot

Tim Eyman is campaigning for an initiative to lower all Washington license tabs to $30. (Photos courtesy of Voters Want More Choices)

It’s official — $30 tabs are going to the ballots of Washington voters. I-976 sponsor Tim Eyman got nearly 100,000 signatures over the 260,000 he needed by Dec. 31 to get the measure on this November’s ballot.

The citizen-led initiative would take the yearly license tab fees of every single vehicle — whether a car, motorcycle, a truck, or even an RV — down to $30 and repeal the tab tax Sound Transit is currently imposing.

“Now the voters in November of 2019, the same ones who are getting ripped off by Sound Transit, ripped off by the state, ripped by skyrocketing property taxes, high gas taxes, tolls — everybody who is furious with the government finally has a chance to strike back,” Eyman said.

RELATED: I-976 for $30 tabs just 75,000 signatures away from ballot

He told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that Sound Transit deliberately deceived voters with its Sound Transit 3 light rail plan, which passed in 2016, by telling them that their car tabs would go up by an average of $80; in actuality, Eyman said, many people’s tabs have gone up by hundreds of dollars. He added that the public transit agency neglected to tell voters it would be using an outdated vehicle valuation system that was repealed by the Legislature in 1996.

“Sound Transit, ST3, asked for $54 billion under a whole lot of lies,” Eyman said. “This initiative would shave back about 15 percent of that money and give it back to the taxpayers — we’ll call it a penalty on Sound Transit for lying to people.”

Eyman pointed out that Washington voters actually twice before elected to enact $30 tabs — in 1999 and 2002.

“This is going to be the third time that we tell our politicians, ‘$30 means $30’ when we register our vehicles,” Eyman said.

Even though the car tab increases of ST3 only apply to people in the western parts of Snohomish, King, and Pierce Counties, voters across Washington will have the opportunity to vote on Eyman’s $30 tabs initiative. The reason for this, he said, is that “dishonest, inaccurate taxation” in the Seattle metropolitan area tends to “metastasize and spread to other parts of the state.”

This also comes as state Senator Steve O’Ban makes a similar push in the Legislature.

O’Ban recently introduced a car tab relief bill, that would change the vehicle valuation system to Kelly Blue Book, slash the ST3 tax by more than half, and provide taxpayers a refund for the difference in what they’ve already paid.

Recent successes

In late November, Eyman sent an email to media outlets around the region claiming that the state attorney general’s lawsuit against him ended his marriage and forced him into bankruptcy.

When Eyman spoke to the Dori Monson Show in December, the campaign had still needed about 15,000 signatures. He joked now that the floods of signatures collected in the few weeks after that must have been the effect of a “bankruptcy boost.”

“A lot of people were really angry … and saw that the AG was trying to interfere and trying to block the people from having a chance to vote on this initiative,” he said. “And they took it personally.”

Despite these long legal battles, Eyman does not fear his opponents in the race to November’s ballot because, he said, their arguments are baseless.

RELATED: Tim Eyman explains fight for $30 tabs

“For the next nine months, all we’re going to hear about is how bad a person Tim Eyman is,” he laughed. “That’s pretty much their campaign that’s going to be against this initiative, because they can’t defend these dishonest car tab taxes.”

In response, Andrew Villeneuve with the Northwest Progressive Institute told KIRO 7 News on Thursday during a rally at the State Capitol that he and fellow opponents of I-976 have already formed an official opposition campaign.

“This is a measure that greatly threatens our business climate, our freedom of mobility, and our future prosperity,” Villeneuve stated.

Eyman credits KIRO Radio listeners with playing a large role in the success of I-976 so far.

“I just want to say how grateful I am to KIRO listeners,” he said. “I mean, they really made the difference.”

To read the full text of I-976, click here.

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