Last week, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that Sound Transit could continue to collect its car-tabs tax, which had been repealed by a statewide vote of the people. Legally, the court was probably correct, but it was not fair to taxpayers.
The case was about Initiative 776, sponsored by Tim Eyman. This page did not support I-776, but in 2002, Washington’s voters did, and it became law.
I can only assume that the Seattle Times editorial board is fully aware that I-776 failed within the Sound Transit taxing district by an impressive 43% to 57% margin, so when the Times complains that the Supreme Court decision is “not fair to taxpayers,” I’m not exactly sure which taxpayers they’re talking about. Is it “not fair to taxpayers” in the Seattle and North King County subarea of Sound Transit who not only pay the bulk of the cost of the light rail project, but who voted against I-776 in even larger numbers? Or is it “not fair to taxpayers” in Eastern Washington who… um… don’t pay any tax in support of light rail and who didn’t even have a local MVET tax to begin with, but who nonetheless voted in favor of I-776, mostly as a big fuck you to Seattle?
I-776 was a statewide initiative that promised to kill Sound Transit’s light rail project, but which overwhelmingly failed amongst those voters who actually paid the voter-approved local MVET tax it repealed. So how could one possibly describe the court’s decision as “not fair to taxpayers,” assuming one defines “taxpayers” as the voters who actually, um… pay taxes?
Hmm. Or to put it another way for the benefit of the Seattle Times editorial board: I-776 was soundly rejected by those voters who actually paid the tax it repealed, and any suggestion to the contrary would be misleading.