As of Monday, May 21, 2018
YAKIMA Initiative guru Tim Eyman is putting up $500,000 of his own money on his new $30 car tab measure.
In a letter to supporters, Eyman said he is putting up $500,000 of his own money to kick-start the campaign for a new initiative (people’s vote) for the $30 tab.
Eyman will be in Yakima on Thursday, May 17, to help teach residents how to become government activists. That event is at Howard Johnson’s, 9 N. Ninth St., from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Eyman was successful in 1999 and 2002 in getting voters to back previous $30 car tab initiatives.
Eventually, the Legislature overrode the will of the people and passed a bill allowing municipalities to boost licensing fees.
Today, auto licensing cost is out of control, Eyman said. He said some people have stated that they have paid as much as $900 for one car.
“What happened to the $30 license tab is the question I hear most from people,” Eyman said in a brief interview Friday.
Eyman tried get a people’s vote again in 2016 and 2017. He failed to get the petition signatures needed.
“It was heart-breaking when our signature drive two years ago fell short,” he said. “It was a gut-punch when we didn’t make it last year either.”
In his letter, Eyman takes the blame for the failures, saying: “When such a popular initiative fails to qualify, it’s because the sponsor of the initiative failed to inspire others to help.”
After some contemplation and praying, Eyman said he and his wife Karen decided to put more of their skin in the game. They sold off $500,000 of an investment account worth $600,000 to loan to the campaign.
“That $500K, which is half of what we need overall, has allowed us to hire petitioners immediately, and their all over the state right now collecting signatures, and those voter signatures are pouring in.
Eyman is asking backers to join in with donations to ensure this campaign makes it to the ballot.
“I have a stubborn personality,” Eyman said. “Once I dig my teeth into something, it’s hard to let go.”
One of the ways in which the legislature got around the second victory for the $30 tab was to give local jurisdictions the ability to raise street funding through car licensing. There are provisions in the initiative to address that, he said.
There are two features of the initiative Eyman believes will appeal to the voters. Any tax hike must be approved by the voters, and any tax based on vehicle value must go by Kelly Bluebook.
“We never give up,” Eyman said. “We keep fighting until we prevail.”