I am proud to be the only member of the Edmonds Citizens’ Transportation Committee to oppose the TBD vehicle fee increase. While I hope we can look for ways to increase transportation revenue, such as REET redistribution, I will not support increased revenue at any cost.
This fee is yet another affront to working families. By nearly every methodology, Washington is the most regressively taxed state in the nation, with the lowest 20 percent paying 17-18 percent of their income in state and local taxes, and the richest 1 percent paying around 3 percent. Additionally, Edmonds has among the highest utility fee and tax rates, TBD vehicle fees, and sales tax in the state – each one of these affects families.
This $40-per-vehicle tax is applied to every Edmonds citizen evenly, without any exemptions, without any regard to the value of the car – whether homeowner or renter, employed or unemployed. Thus it burdens younger, lower-income families more than those better able to pay.
Proponents of the fee condescendingly say this is “only” $40, only a “cup of coffee at Starbucks” per month. This not only treats this as an isolated fee, independent of other taxes, but it ignores that those who are struggling in these economic times have probably already cut Starbucks (or their local coffee shop) out of their budget.
Remember that this is $40 on top of the existing $20 TBD fee, in addition to a minimum $43.75 annual state fee, a 0.3-percent annual RTA tax, and a biennial $15 emissions test (in addition to non-car taxes). This $40 increase puts my car’s total fees for 2011 just under $200. For a family that spends nearly 100 percent of its income on things like food, housing, clothing and a car (or two) to go to work – $200 means purchasing processed food, using the lights less often, cutting dental insurance, or passing up purchasing new clothes for the year (things I have done this year myself).
An additional $40 tax may not be much for a homeowner on Olympic View Drive, but it sure adds up for those of us without a view of the mountains.
Let’s address the important issue of transportation funding without adding to the burden of working families – especially in these economic times.
Let’s stand for families and say no to Proposition 1.