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$30 tabs rally kicks off in Olympia

(MyNorthwest photo)

If you find yourself feeling like your I-976 vote went unheard in the November general election, fear not — Monday is the chance to voice your opinion to the Legislature on its opening day at a $30 tabs rally on the steps of the Capitol.

On Monday, Jan. 13, the participants of the Uphold The People’s Vote rally took to the north side of the Capitol steps in Olympia to respectfully demand that legislators listen to the will of the people and implement $30 tabs, the measure that passed by six percentage points in November.

Supporters of the measure declared it a necessary piece of tax relief for drivers whose cars were overvalued and overtaxed by Sound Transit’s outdated vehicle valuation system, a system that has long since been repealed and replaced by the Legislature.

“We need to make it clear to Governor Inslee and to Democrat leadership that it’s time to listen to the people and pass $30 tabs once and for all,” Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale), a speaker at the rally, said on KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show.

Immediately after 976 passed, government leaders such as Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and King County Executive Dow Constantine launched a lawsuit in the King County Superior Court. With the court battle putting the measure effectively in limbo, the state has continued to collect car tabs at the current rates.

Sound Transit Board raises property taxes after voters demand tax relief in 976

In 1999, $30 tabs were also approved by voters at the ballot but were then struck down in court. However, the Legislature and then-Governor Gary Locke, a Democrat, put the measure back in place.

“Transportation has become a partisan philosophical issue — it didn’t used to be,” Ericksen said. “We all used to basically be in agreement that we were going to use the gas tax effectively and efficiently to build roads and ease congestion. But now, the Democrat Party in Washington state believes that congestion is the solution, not the problem, because fundamentally they believe you should not be driving an automobile.”

Ericksen believes that the key to repeating the 1999 $30 tabs scenario is to reach across the aisle to the Democratic legislators whose districts voted for the measure.

In addition, he said, voters across the spectrum who are desperate for tax relief need to come together and fight for the initiative that they approved. It is not a partisan issue, he stressed — both Republicans and Democrats voted for $30 tabs.

“I think a lot of [Democrats] might be questioning that allegiance to the craziness of the Democrat Party in Washington state right now — but that’s my hope, that we’re able to communicate with those people directly and say, ‘We need to have a reset in Olympia,'” he said.

Instead of the higher car tabs, Ericksen and the other organizers of the $30 tabs rally advocate for other means of raising revenue for transportation, such as a tax on every vehicle sale.

“We have a package of solutions — it’s not just, ‘Come down to the steps to be angry,’ but it’s, ‘Come down to the steps in Olympia and take action to advocate for common-sense ideas … and communicate with those Democrats in districts where $30 tabs passed overwhelmingly, going to those people and letting them know that their constituents are watching and would really like them to step up to the plate,” he said. “Have the courage, take on Jay Inslee and Bob Ferguson and the radical Leftists in the Democrat Party, and push forward on $30 tabs.”

As the calendar turns to 2020, a big election year, Ericksen hopes that the $30 tabs saga will not dissuade citizens from using their voice at the ballot, but rather will inspire them.

“We need to elect people in the Legislature who will listen,” he said.

The $30 tabs rally kicked off at 11 a.m. on the Capitol steps, for the opening day of the 2020 Legislative session. Rep. Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen), Rep. Jesse Young (R-Gig Harbor), Rep. Carolyn Eslick (R-Sultan), and Rep. Brad Klippert (R-Kennewick) will all take part.

“Come rally on the steps, then go and talk respectfully to those legislators for those districts where the people voted yes,” Ericksen said.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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