I-976 was an initiative that was approved by voters and was supposed to have gone into effect with the new year. The initiative capped licensing fees and taxes at $35 for all vehicles, essentially doing the same thing that was done in 2002. However, since 2002 the price of licensing has been continually rising due to new fees and higher taxes. This initiative was one that was a close vote on the ballot, with 53% of Washingtonians voting yes and 47% voting no; however, despite the support, the initiative has not taken effect yet. Why not? Soon after it was voted on, King County started a lawsuit over the initiative.
Dow Constantin, the King County Executive, filed a lawsuit over whether or not the initiative was ‘constitutional’. Constantin argues that allowing this initiative to pass would stop both state and local government from passing new taxes and fees without permission from the people. It was also said that the initiative would cause Washington State to lose over $4 billion within the next 6 years.*
On the defense of the case, Tim Eyman, a popular anti-tax activist, says that, “We [the people] don’t trust [the government], and you better regain our trust, and regaining our trust probably starts with, maybe you shouldn’t sue the voters that just said yes to the initiative.” The initiative has been delayed while that trial is ongoing, and it has been met with outrage from people who voted yes. Many have gone so far as to not pay their fees in protest*. These people have been met with more fines and charges. Right now all we can do is wait as the Washington State Supreme Court makes their decision.
*State Office of Financial Management.