Tim Eyman. (Matt Pitman, KIRO Radio)
The Supreme Court of Washington State unanimously struck down I-976 Thursday, effectively overturning an initiative that would have slashed car tab fees statewide. In the wake of that ruling, the initiative’s sponsor, Tim Eyman, is vowing to continue the battle regardless.
“I am 100% committed to this policy,” Eyman told KIRO Radio.
The court struck down the initiative on the grounds that it violated the “single subject rule,” combining multiple topics that it ruled weren’t necessarily related to each other. Eyman contested that reasoning Thursday, pointing to a 2003 state Supreme Court ruling on a separate car tabs initiative.
That initiative was 2002’s I-776, which was also approved by voters, and similarly sought to cut car tab rates to $30. In 2003, the state Supreme Court ruled that it didn’t violate the single-subject rule, but later ruled in 2006 that Sound Transit could continue to collect car tab fees at its own declared rates. That 2006 ruling was made on the grounds that bond agreements made by Sound Transit superseded the initiative.
“This new initiative [I-976] did exactly what the Supreme Court told us in 2006 that you were able to do, so there’s just been a bait and switch,” Eyman claimed, going on to label the state Supreme Court’s ruling to strike down the 2019 ballot measure as “clearly a political decision, not a legal decision.”
“The voters very clearly knew exactly what they were voting on,” he added.
Eyman says he won’t pay to renew his own car tabs “until it’s $30” as a form of protest over the ruling, and that he is “going to continue to fight for this.” He is also pushing for Gov. Jay Inslee to call for a special legislative session to have state lawmakers address car tab fees themselves.
As for whether he plans to gather signatures for what would be his fourth attempt to lower car tab rates to $30, he cited dwindling personal funds as a potential obstacle, while still noting that he “can absolutely do another full initiative.”
“I can do another initiative, but do we really have to do that? It doesn’t seem like we have to,” he said. “It shouldn’t take a fourth initiative.”