Washington License Tab Fees, Initiative 776 (2002)

From Ballotpedia
Revision as of 14:51, 12 August 2013 by DamienG (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
Voting on Taxes
Taxes.jpg
Ballot Measures
By state
By year
Not on ballot
Washington Constitution
StateConstitutions Ballotpedia.jpg
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXIIXIIIXIVXVXVIXVIIXVIIIXIXXXXXIXXIIXXIIIXXIVXXVXXVIXXVIIXXVIIIXXIXXXXXXXIXXXII
Amendments
The Washington License Tab Fees Initiative, also known as I-776, was on the November 5, 2002 ballot as an Initiative to the People in the State of Washington, where it was approved, but later overturned. The measure passed with 51% in favor, but a Washington judge declared less than three months after the election that I-776 violated the Washington Constitution. I-776 would have required license tab fees to be $30 per year for motor vehicles, including light trucks. Certain local-option vehicle excise taxes and fees used for roads and transit were repealed by the measure, but reinstated when the judge ruled against it.

Election results

Washington Initiative 776 (2002)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 901,478 51.47%
No849,98648.53%

Election results via the Washington Secretary of State.[1]

Text of the measure

The language that appeared on the ballot:[2]

Initiative Measure No. 776 concerns state and local government charges on motor vehicles.

This measure would require license tab fees to be $30 per year for motor vehicles, including light trucks. Certain local-option vehicle excise taxes and fees used for roads and transit would be repealed.

Should this measure be enacted into law?[3]

Path to the ballot

I-776 was sponsored by Tim Eyman, Ray Benham, M.J. Fagan and Leo Fagan. They turned in 260,898 signatures to qualify I-776 for the ballot.

Court ruling

King County Superior Court judge Mary Yu said in her 2003 ruling against I-776 that it violated the state's single-subject rule because it sought "to achieve two unrelated purposes" -- to set license fees at $30 and to encourage a public revote on Sound Transit's light rail program."[4]

Support

Arguments in favor

These arguments in support appeared in the official State of Washington Voter Guide:[5]

IF POLITICIANS HAD ONE OUNCE OF COMPASSION FOR THE AVERAGE TAXPAYER, I-776 WOULDN’T BE NECESSARY

Washington is the 2nd highest taxed state in the nation (www.taxfoundation.org) — I-776 keeps us from hitting #1. I-776 offers $30 tabs on your car, truck, motorcycle, motorhome, and other vehicles. Working class folks, not just rich people, should be able to afford a newer vehicle. $30 is reasonable.

WHEN POLITICAL JUDGES VETOED VOTER-APPROVED I-695, POLITICIANS FRANTICALLY EMBRACED $30 TABS DURING THAT ELECTION YEAR

Gary Locke said, “Despite the court’s ruling, we have no intention of returning to the old system of high license tab fees. $30 license tabs are here to stay.” I-776 helps politicians keep their promises. Passing I-776 also sends politicians a message: get voter approval before increasing taxes and fees, especially regarding transportation. Leadership involves listening. Taxpayers want their voices heard. With voter approval, politicians must convince us current revenues are being spent as effectively as possible before we ok more — that’s accountability.

I-776 ENSURES LONG-OVERDUE REVOTE ON LIGHT RAIL — 68% OF KING COUNTY VOTERS WANT A REVOTE

By requiring “$30 Tabs for Everyone,” I-776 brings accountability to light rail by ensuring a long-overdue revote. I-776 repeals car taxes which provide 20% of their funding, ensuring a revote on light rail. Light rail today is radically different than what was promised in 1996. So we’re entitled to a revote. Once I-776 passes, taxpayers want a stand-alone tax increase proposal (not hidden in the regional package) put before Puget Sound voters to decide on light rail.

WASHINGTON IS THE 2ND HIGHEST TAXED STATE IN THE NATION, SO THE PROBLEM ISN’T LACK-OF-TAXES

Voters have been clear: $30 tabs and voter approval for tax and fee increases. I-776 sends that message again. Anything but an overwhelming “Yes” for I-776 will be seen by politicians as an endorsement of higher taxes. I-776 helps everyone — vote “Yes.”

Rebuttal of Statement Against

Washington ranks 2nd in overall taxation. Our opponents’ response? Threats, lies, and scare tactics. Voters are too smart for that. Voters want $30 tabs for everyone. Voters want a revote on light rail. The only way we’ll get these policies is by approving I-776. Let’s not go back to outrageously expensive tab fees. Let’s ensure accountability by ensuring a revote on light rail. Politicians will never limit excessive taxation — send a message by voting “Yes.[3]

The argument in support was signed by Monte Benham, Jack Fagan, Mike Fagan, Tim Eyman, Erma Turner, and Bob Henkel.

Opposition

Arguments against

These arguments in opposition appeared in the official State of Washington Voter Guide:[6]

I-776 ALLOWS THE STATE TO REVERSE LOCAL ELECTIONS AND VOTER DECISIONS

I-776 seeks to eliminate locally approved transportation funding with a statewide vote. In King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Douglas counties, voters and elected officials have chosen to increase their car tabs to fund critical transportation investments. I-776 allows voters statewide to overturn those decisions. It allows Seattle residents to overturn decisions made in Douglas County. It allows Spokane residents to overturn decisions made by voters in Pierce County. Voters who pay a local tax and use the improvements should be the ones who decide. Overturning the results of local elections is unfair and undermines democracy. If you support local decision-making, vote no on I-776.

I-776 WILL DRAMATICALLY INCREASE THE NUMBER OF CARS ON THE ROAD

I-776 will increase the number of cars on the road by taking away existing express bus and commuter rail service. It will also cut investments in park and rides, HOV ramps, and light rail. I-776 will eliminate $700 million in local, voter-approved funding for public transportation. These funds pay for Express buses that carry 6 million riders per year. They pay for Sounder commuter rail that carries 562,000 passengers per year. They will pay for Link light rail that is expected to carry 12.9 million riders per year. We cannot afford to force all those transit riders back into cars. It will make traffic even worse. If you support transportation choices, vote no on I-776.

I-776 WILL REDUCE INVESTMENTS IN ROAD SAFETY AND MAINTENANCE

I-776 will eliminate $380 million in funding used to maintain and improve local roads in King, Snohomish, Pierce, and Douglas counties. If you support safe, well-maintained roads, vote no on I-776.

I-776 IS OPPOSED BY A BROAD COALITION OF BUSINESS, LABOR, ENVIRONMENTAL, AND CIVIC GROUPS

Rebuttal of Statement For

Under existing state law car tabs cannot exceed $30 unless approved by local voters and local elected officials. These specified increases are dedicated to improving transportation choices or local road and safety projects. I-776 slashes voter-approved funding for buses, local commuter rail and light rail.

Defend the right of local voters to make their own decisions about local taxes. Fight traffic. Support safer roads. Vote No on I-776.[3]

The argument in opposition was signed by Dan Evans, Bob Watt, Rick Bender, Judy Hedden, Jeff Parsons, and Jim Ellis.

See also

BP-Initials-UPDATED.png
Suggest a link

External links

References