Northwest NEWS

October 18, 1999

Local News

I-695 promises more money or more government

   For: Washington is the sixth-highest-taxed state. I-695 would reduce the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET) to a flat fee of $30 for everyone, regardless of vehicle value.

   Vehicle tabs are unfairly expensive. Many senior citizens must choose between paying for tabs and having car or health insurance. Working-class folk, not just rich people, should be able to afford new cars. $30 per year for tabs is reasonable.

   To prevent politicians from simply raising other taxes, to replace the money lost by I-695, politicians must get the money from existing revenues, tax surpluses, and prioritizing programs. I-695 limits excessive taxation.

   The government will adjust to I-695 the same way we adjust when they raise our taxes. If we can't provide tax relief when there's a $1 billion tax surplus and a thriving economy, when can we? Besides, tabs make up less than two percent of government spending. That's $500 right back into the state's economy.

   If I-695 passes, politicians say all government services will disappear--that's absurd. Sales taxes on that extra $500 million spent by citizens will replace the money lost, according to sponsor Tim Eyman.

   Against: I-695 wouldn't do what it promises. It contains a major loophole that makes our automobiles subject to the property tax, just like our homes, because the State Attorney General has ruled that voting in I-695 would automatically re-install the pre-existing property tax law that the MVET replaced in 1930.

   I-695 will remove a third of state funding for transportation (much of that for road and highway improvements) by reversing the voter-approved Referendum 49. Transit will be cut by 25 percent, adding thousands more cars to rush-hour traffic.

   I-695 will take more than $360 million each year from local programs like Medic One and police and fire departments across the state. It would also reduce funding from programs like child abuse prevention, senior centers, crisis family counseling, school safety, and mental health.

   I-695 gives the biggest tax break to wealthy people who own the most expensive cars. The Republican party has voted to approve I-695.

   I-695 throws the baby out with the bath water--it goes too far. We'd all like to pay lower taxes, but states without the higher MVET tax replace those funds with a state income tax, which Washington does not have.