I’m really disappointed: we didn’t collect enough voter signatures for our $30 Tabs Initiative to qualify

by | Dec 28, 2017

Despite months of hard work and effort by a lot of great people, I’m really disappointed to announce that we didn’t make it.

Even though bringing back our $30 car tabs has overwhelming public support (85% according to KOMO 4’s poll), we didn’t collect the 350,000 signatures needed to get our measure on the ballot. I know that this is heartbreaking news.

We all know that if our $30 car tabs initiative had qualified for a vote, it would’ve been overwhelmingly approved by the voters across the state, especially in the Puget Sound.

We thought our timing was perfect:

* Folks were spittin’ mad about their skyrocketing car tab taxes.
* Sound Transit was ripping everyone off by artificially inflating the value of everyone’s vehicles and they opposed any and all efforts to tax vehicles at what they’re actually worth.
* And despite hearing from thousands of constituents screaming about their high car tab taxes, the 2017 Legislature only talked about the problem but didn’t do anything to fix it.

And as we know, Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Jack, Mike, and I helped lead our supporters to the first victory for $30 tabs in 1999 and the second victory for $30 tabs in 2002. Those initiatives got the cost of car tab taxes way down and have saved taxpayers over $22.4 billion since they passed ). But in recent years, especially because of Sound Transit’s dishonest calculations, car tabs are going back up. It’s horrible.

Why didn’t we make it this time? It boils down to money — we just didn’t raise enough funds to hire paid petitioners to supplement our volunteers. Getting 350,000 sigs in a handful of months is hugely difficult even when the initiative’s policy is super popular.

Last year, 4 liberal initiatives qualified for the ballot — the AVERAGE amount of money raised and spent was $1.6 million (the low was $1.2 million and the high was $1.8 million). If we had raised that much, we would’ve hired paid petitioners and then we would’ve made it. Nowadays, it’s near essential to hire paid professionals.

We will learn from this experience and make sure to use those lessons in future efforts.

We’ve announced next year’s initiative, calling it “We Don’t Want An Income Tax.” With the Democrats in control of the House and Senate and with the state supreme court ordering next year’s Legislature to “find” an additional $1 billion in taxes, the threat of an income tax has never been higher. Our initiative prohibits the state and local governments from imposing any kind of income tax, especially a capital gains income tax. The Seattle City Council and the Democrats are taking advantage of the fact that current law does not define the word “income” anywhere in the statutes. So they say things like “Stop lying, I’m not for a state income tax, I’m only for a capital gains tax.” Or the Seattle City Council, despite a law that prohibits cities from imposing a “tax on net income”, imposed a tax on “total income” and are looking for the courts to agree with them that that’s different.

Rather than relying on judges who are bought and paid for by the teachers union to make the right decision, we’re doing this initiative to ban all income taxes for all time (here’s a great news story about it: http://mynorthwest.com/845322/tim-eyman-income-tax-initiative/)

“We Don’t Want An Income Tax” is gonna be one of the most important initiatives we’ve ever done. We’ve been organizing for the initiative for weeks and will be able to hit the ground running in January.