I-776 challenge has voters fuming

By Susan Gilmore
Seattle Times staff reporter


Anti-tax advocate Tim Eyman is mad, and many of you are, too.

Motorists in King and Pierce counties were supposed to get a break on their car tabs last Thursday, when Initiative 776 was to take effect.

Instead, the two counties went to court and won an injunction delaying the law in Pierce and King counties until the courts have a hearing on the constitutionality of I-776 in January.

Many voters are angry at the counties' tactic, for trying to overrule a measure voted in last month. It cuts license-tab fees to $30 a month and eliminates a $15 vehicle-registration surcharge used to help pay for transportation projects in four counties: King, Pierce, Snohomish and Douglas.

Snohomish and Douglas aren't fighting the law, and the tax there is gone. But the fee still is being collected in King and Pierce counties and is being held unspent until the court rules on the constitutionality of the initiative.

Eyman, who led the effort to get I-776 on the ballot, had this to say about the counties' effort to seek an injunction: "The government's love for tax dollars clearly outweighs its respect for the voters, and for the law.

"Laws need to be respected and obeyed whether you agree with them or not. At some point you have to be an adult about it and accept it."

Here's what some of you had to say in e-mail and phone calls:

From Robert Walker, Shoreline: "I personally think that if they derail I-776 we might as well start referring to our politicians and public leaders as Lords and Lordship. Since they only wish to treat us as mind-numbed subjects and not serve the public as sworn to do so."

From G.A. Smith: "It's a sad day when elected government personnel take it on their own to tell the people what's best for them in the way of taxes and take them to court.

"What good is voting? It's time for a change in the way government is run in this country."

From Bruce Brandstrom, Grand Coulee, Grant County: "I believe that Mr. Sims (King County Executive Ron Sims) has broken the law, and broken the trust of all the voters in Washington state. I hope that ... the citizens of King County vote their pocketbooks when Sims runs again and clean house in the county government.

"I have one simple question: When will those elected officials follow what we the people have voted for? How many more times must Tim Eyman put things on the ballots?"

From Walt Russell, Woodinville: "I am a King County resident and will have to pay the $15 fee between now and the time that a higher court decides the constitutionality of I-776. However, I will pay it grudgingly as I suspect that I will not be able to obtain my 2003 license tabs without paying it.

"I will be seeking interest on the $15 from the state of Washington for the length of time that they hold my money if I-776 is upheld."

Bumper Crop

University of Washington researchers are studying the impacts on business from transportation disruptions caused by earthquakes and other natural disasters. They are looking for 800 companies in the Puget Sound region to participate in an online survey.

The questionnaire, developed by UW geography professors William Byers and Stephanie Chang, explores the earthquake vulnerability of local businesses. It takes about 15 minutes to complete.

"We want to know what kinds of transportation disruptions businesses experienced during the Nisqually earthquake and whether their impacts would be under different scenarios of likely future earthquakes described in our survey," Byers said.

All responses will be confidential, he said, and will help improve preparedness for future quakes. The survey is funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

Companies interested in participating in the study can find the questionnaire at www.geographicresearch.org.

Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or sgilmore@seattletimes.com.


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