Blaming I-695 — talk about a golden oldie
Car tab taxes used to be hundreds and many times thousands of dollars every year. It was a nightmare for working class families and senior citizens. Heck, it was a struggle for everyone. So in 1998, we sponsored an initiative called I-691 that reduced car tab taxes. We fell short by a few thousand signatures. So the following year, we tried again in 1999. It was Initiative 695 and it reduced car tab taxes and required voter approval for tax increases. Thanks to our “kamikaze” supporters, we turned in 514,000 voter signatures, the 2nd highest number of sigs in state history. And after 4 months of vigorous public debate and despite opponents spending over $2 million, the voters overwhelmingly passed it. It was a huge victory for regular taxpayers.
For years afterwards, all we heard from politicians was whining about I-695. It was blamed for everything. For a time, we wondered if earthquakes, tornadoes, and excessive rain in Seattle were caused by the passage of I-695. But as time went on, much of their whining dissipated over the years.
So it sure sounded like a “golden oldie” when a former Democrat politician — then-Rep. Brendan Williams from Olympia — blamed I-695 in Saturday’s Everett Herald for chasing away Boeing: “When Tim Eyman’s transportation-defunding Initiative 695 was before voters in 1999, Boeing’s chief financial officer warned, ‘Passage of I-695 would be a big blow to every corner of the state. It would hurt all of our businesses.’ Maligning Boeing as a ‘bully,’ Eyman and state Republicans pushed I-695 to passage anyway, and Boeing then moved its headquarters to Chicago.”
Whoa. So politicians like Williams believe that if we had only done nothing and allowed Washington’s through-the-roof car tab taxes to continue to skyrocket, Boeing would still be here. Really?
And isn’t it weird that Williams believes that voters approved I-695 because of “Eyman and state Republicans”? I’m quite certain that the voters passed the initiative, not because of anything I said or the state GOP did, but because the people knew Olympia would never reform itself on its own.
Our various taxpayer protection initiatives over the years have been approved by the voters because the Legislature has proven itself incapable of restraining itself.
We’re moving full steam ahead on our new initiative: LET THE VOTERS DECIDE ON A 2/3-FOR-TAXES CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Our measure ensures permanent protection from Olympia’s propensity to raise taxes.