Letters to the Editor

Why I oppose the car tab fee | Pete von Reichbauer

I am writing in regards to the $20 car tab fee proposed by King County Executive Dow Constantine, which appeared on the front page of the Federal Way Mirror on Wednesday, June 29, 2011.

Supporters of this proposal have been portraying it as a decision that will either support transit or not support transit. As a supporter of public transportation, let me explain why I oppose this fee.

Too many elected officials often respond to budget shortages with taxes and fees. The real issue is not whether our revenue is enough, but whether we can do a better job with each dollar we spend. I applaud the efforts that King County Metro has already made to cut costs, restructure services and re-order priorities. This is exactly what our government needs. Each one of us must respond to shortages in our household budget by cutting back. It’s time for government to do the same.

It is also unclear whether this fee will be kept past the initially proposed two years. Proponents state it is a temporary “band-aid” to cover Metro until more sustainable funding can be found, but there is no clear plan other than to ask for more money from the state Legislature or federal government. That is the old way of solving our problems. It’s time for new ideas.

A strong transit system is one of my priorities as an elected official. Cost-saving measures have already made King County Metro more effective. Asking for an additional $20 car tab fee is delaying the hard review we need to do to make a better and more efficient transit system, not to mention burdening the taxpayers at a time when they can least afford it.

We need the government to do what we are all doing in our homes — get by with more for less.

I will be voting against the $20 car tab fee.

Pete von Reichbauer, King County Council member


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