If reduced MVET revenues impact project delivery, suburban parking projects are first in line to be delayed

Last night, the Washington House of Representatives approved HB 2201. The bill effectively resets the valuation schedule for the 0.8% ST3 portion of the MVET to the lower of the 1999 and 2006 schedules. The outcome is lower taxes for owners of cars less than 10 years old, and a refund for those who have already paid their 2017 car tabs.

Reversing voter-approved taxes, barely five months after the ballot, isn’t a great look. But it is within the Legislature’s authority (second-guessing of initiatives is not new). Democrats have responded to sincere voter anger. The MVET increase was greater than many expected even if voters who carefully read the ballot ought to have understood. Owners of newer cars are taxed against a scheduled valuation higher than their vehicle resale values. Even though Sound Transit has used the same schedule for twenty years, and never presented it otherwise, it just seems unfair.

If HB 2201 becomes law, Democrats expect it to correct the anomalous MVET valuations while delivering ST3 projects on schedule.

The bill creates a credit for taxpayers offsetting the difference in valuation schedules. Crafted this way, HB 2201 doesn’t interfere with Sound Transit’s bond program and doesn’t require defeasement of Sound Move bonds. It means the 0.3% Sound Move MVET, pledged against bond repayments on the now obsolete 1999 schedule, is not prematurely repealed and can remain in place until the bonds are paid off in 2028. Unlike some Republican proposals to simply switch schedules across the board, HB 2201’s credit does not increase taxes for owners of older cars.

The vote was 64-33, with all Democrats in favor. Republican reaction was mixed. Some are willing to accept any tax reduction; others decried that the bill didn’t meet their more ambitious goals. The bill moves to the Senate today where Republicans may make a play for larger tax cuts.

The revenue impact is modest. $780 million in revenues is 1.4% of the $54 billion program over 25 years, albeit front-loaded so the real impact is higher than the year-of-expenditure (YOE) calculation. The credits only run through 2028, after which the Sound Move 0.3% MVET expires and the ST3 MVET switches to the ‘lower’ valuation schedule.

The revenue reduction, if offset by bonding, would add interest costs. Advocates suggest a total impact of $2.3 billion. That implies interest expense of $1.52 billion. That’s equivalent to 30 year bonds with a conservatively high 6.5% interest rate. If issued over the same time frame as the missing MVET revenue, the last payment would be in 2058.

The MVET costs were appropriately disclosed, and not difficult to calculate. Several calculators were available, one of them provided by the No campaign. Very clearly, however, the costs were not thoroughly understood by voters. How else to understand the breadth of voter anger?

A schedule with values higher than car resale prices has been difficult to defend. Using the same schedule for the Sound Move and ST3 MVETs is simple and apparently transparent. But many intuited that the tax would be levied against the actual value of the car. The 1999 MVET schedule wasn’t designed or billed as an accurate measure of resale prices, particularly not in 1999 when cars depreciated more quickly than today. It seems unfair, even if claims Sound Transit intended to deceive are overwrought.

It creates a volatile political environment for legislators. Anti-transit Republicans have happily run with the issue, pushing aggressive bills that would dramatically impair the delivery of voter-approved projects. The issue appeared likely to play well for Republicans in this November’s 45th District special election.

The bill is crafted to not over-stress Sound Transit’s promised timeline. The ST3 financial plan is sensibly conservative and unlikely to be derailed by the revenue reduction. There are unavoidable uncertainties in any 25-year plan and some projects could be delayed if the financial plan turns out to be stretched thin. Proposed reductions in federal support for transit elevate those risks, though we don’t yet know if Congress will follow through on the Trump administration’s recommendations.

If projects are delayed, the bill appropriately cuts parking first, putting the impact back on (some of) the drivers who benefit from reduced taxes.

One Republican legislator observed during last night’s debate that there are 48 members of the House representing parts of the RTA, and only 20 of these represent areas that supported the measure. Suburban support for ST3 is thin, and has only gotten thinner since car tab bills have begun arriving in the mail. (This, despite the very suburban nature of the regional rail plan).

It’s prudent to be nervous about this process. The Senate may pass a bill that is worse, though it would then have to be reconciled with the House version. It is, in any case, unlikely to end the debate. But HB 2201 is a sensible and measured response to voter concerns about unexpectedly high taxes. A failure to compromise is dangerous to voter support of transit projects.

55 Replies to “The Overheated MVET Debate”

  1. Very clearly, however, the costs were not thoroughly understood by voters.

    What evidence do you have for this assumption?

    How else to understand the breadth of voter anger?

    46% of the region didn’t didn’t want to pay the taxes for ST3 before and still don’t. They’re throwing a tantrum that the so-called Dems in the House are responding to by cutting $2.3 BILLION in ST3 funds that the other 54% wants.

    1. It’s amazing how many sacrifices and how much hand wringing ST needs to do in order to shove these projects down the throats of suburbanites. Then they come back and cry even more.

      Of course, once the EIS process is underway even MORE sacrifices will be made. Meanwhile the city needs to beg for everything they can.

      1. This is why we need our own Seattle Transit agency. We should leave the suburbs to their own problems and focus our transit investment on short, high-value rapid transit lines connecting our dense urban centers.

      2. You know that Seattle employers depend on people coming in from the suburbs/exurbs, right? Screw the suburbs doesn’t really work for Seattle.

      3. If we could have done that we would have ten or twenty years ago and bypassed ST. But Seattle can only raise the taxes the legislature allows it to. The monorail authority can only raise a billion, which is not enough for even one tunnel project, and it also has an anti-light-rail provision which may or may not be enforceable but it adds uncertainty. The legislature is interested in “regional transit”, not Seattle transit. The reason the legislature created ST was it saw that Pugetopolis regional transit was becoming more and more essential, and the state didn’t want to fund or manage it itself, so it delegated the authority to Sound Transit. It offered ST a multibillion dollar tax authority, and the possibility of increasing it later. It did not do anything of the kind for Seattle. Instead, the state keeps Metro and the other county-based transit agencies on a short leash, giving them little more than their legacy operating funds. (It does not give them the money, it just allows them to raise that amount in local taxes.) So the only organization that can build high-capacity transit is Sound Transit. That’s why Seattle supported ST1, 2, and 3, because it’s the only option. Saying Seattle should build its own HCT is just being unrealistic: you’d have to get the state legislature to reverse its position. Either that or convince Paul Allen, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates to fund it privately.

        And about that monorail authority: that was given by a 2000s-era legislature. There’s no indication the current legislature would be willing to grant it now, or a second light rail one.

      4. Glen,

        Screw the suburbs doesn’t really work for Seattle.

        But curtain tolling the suburbs certainly would. Put toll facilities at critical arterials that cross the City limits and at the end-of-ownership on all off-ramp within the city from Interstate facilities. This would in no way be “tolling the Interstate”. A car passing through the tolled area of Seattle would not pay a penny. Only if it exited would it pay a toll.

        Then mail a special Good-To-Go pass to every car registered within the City of Seattle good for free passage throughout the system.

        Sure, it would cost plenty to rig up all the curtains, but because of Seattle’s waterways and a very convenient gorge park, it could be done with only fourteen arterial intercepts, plus the off-ramps from the freeways.

        Instead of tolling people headed into West Seattle from the south, say, just toll the four crossings of the Duwamish Waterway and East Marginal, Airport Way, and Martin Luther King just north of Boeing Access Road. Then put toll equipment on 56th Place South at the City Limits, on Beacon at Rainier View Elementary, on 59th South just north of Augusta, on Renton Avenue just north of the South 116th Place intersection and on Rainier just north of the Cornell Avenue intersection. This would seal the southern limits from “leakage” through neighborhoods.

        Similarly, since there are a lot of residential streets which touch 145th, put the curtain at the Ship Canal. Then there only have to be curtains on 15th NW, Fremont, Aurora, Eastlake and Montlake.

        I would also put lower tolls on the exit ramps of I-5 north of the Ship Canal where WSDOT ownership ends in order to capture revenues from those working the U-District and Northgate traveling via I-5. You simply can’t capture all of those trips, but some people would pay to avoid surface streets.

        Seattle citizens would pay nothing unless the City also wants to do peak hours congestion control, but that’s another story. This is simply to raise money from the freeloaders in the suburbs who are living the good life on back of the tech bonanza in the City.

        And the attorneys of course. Don’t forget the attorneys.

      5. What exactly can Tim Eyman do about curtain tolling in Seattle? He lives in Mukilteo, and why would voters in Seattle vote to reduce revenues for their city paid for by someone else?

        I doubt even the Federal government has the right to tell the City it can’t toll its own streets.

      6. Richard Bullington:

        Perhaps you could write a guest post on this notion of curtain tolling.

        I remember LA County threatening to do that to Riverside and San Bernadino Counties more than once.

        If ST3 goes down in suburban flames, I will be the first donor to a grassroots campaign to implement curtain tolling in town.

    2. “What evidence do you have for this assumption?”

      The fact that voters are screaming to get their car tabs reduced to the 2006 schedule.

      It’s simple: a large number of voters want both ST3 and low car tabs. That’s why both of these are passing.

      In other cases you can blame it on different voters. E.g., some pro-education voters show up to reduce class sizes, and different anti-tax voters show up at a different election to slash the taxes that would have reduced the class sizes. But in this case, with a majority voting for ST3, and an apparent majority howling to reduce their car tabs, there has got to be a lot of overlap between the two; i.e., the same people supporting both. I know some of those people, and I know that in the suburbs I hear only about reducing car tabs and not about protecting ST3 from car-tab reduction, so it seems to be widespread.

      Now, given that Dan Ryan and asdf2 and others have shown that ST was honest and transparent about what the MVET rate would be, which scale would be used, and provided a calculator so that people could determine their individual tax burden, how do we reconcile that with people howling that the current MVET is unfair/dishonest/an abuse of power/illegal? The only conclusion is that they didn’t understand the costs or didn’t look to see what they would be.

      1. “apparent majority howling to reduce their car tabs”

        What evidence do we have it’s a majority and not just Seattle Times and some radio hosts trying to make it sound like everyone is pissed off?

      2. Because I know people who don’t listen to those who are pissed off too. A variety of ordinary people. And nobody outside this STB/TCC community who has voiced the opposite. That’s only anectotal but it suggests a larger and generally widespread support base.

        Also there’s the evidence of many Eastsiders mad about 405 tolls, and southeast Pierce voting against ST3. Those all suggest it’s likely that there’s heavy, probably majority support for these car-tab reduction measures.

      3. None of the incumbent legislators who supported / failed to oppose 405 tolls lost in 2016. Many challengers who made the 405 tolls their prime issue didn’t come close to winning. Which may indicate a disconnect between the majority and the loudest voices.

      4. I have anecdotal evidence that lots of people are angry at how the Democrats caved. For example, I’m plenty mad. Also, I called Noel Frame, in the 36th District this morning and I’m ashamed to say that I lost my temper and yelled at the person who answers the phone. When I apologized, she said she’d been yelled at all morning long.

  2. “The issue appeared likely to play well for Republicans in this November’s 45th District special election.”

    Unfortunately, Democrats put their candidate in the 45th in a tough spot. She either has to support transit cuts that might negatively affect her district, or support an unfair MVET valuation method. Or she calls for backfilling the lost funds, which then raises questions about which taxes she’d support.

    “The bill is crafted to not over-stress Sound Transit’s promised timeline. The ST3 financial plan is sensibly conservative and unlikely to be derailed by the revenue reduction. There are unavoidable uncertainties in any 25-year plan and some projects could be delayed if the financial plan turns out to be stretched thin.”

    This seems unlikely to be the case. Cutting up to $3 billion out of the plan will be a problem. And we should not expect the Senate Republicans to go along with the way this bill was crafted. They will try and flip the list of impacts so as to screw Seattle first. They now know House Dems can cave on this, and will use that knowledge to screw us again.

    This vote was bad politics and worse policy. The best answer at this point is to insist that Democrats in both houses fight to backfill these transit cuts.

  3. If HB 2201 becomes law, Democrats expect it to correct the anomalous MVET valuations while delivering ST3 projects on schedule.


    Are we going to get more cost cutting measures like the one that move the Downtown Bellevue station to a less useful location?

    1. That’s exactly what we’re going to get. Also North King doesn’t have parking to cut or commuter rail. So the first thing on the chopping block for that subarea will be BRT service. Not sure if they have to zero it out before they can touch light rail. The wording isn’t explicit.

      1. Good counter-move would be to follow the DSTT model. Make the trackway grooved rail in concrete. Only this time, rail that doesn’t have to be removed and replaced when trains arrive.

        Anybody complains, we can run trains as far as track extends any given day, with passengers transferring to buses wherever “End of Track” is located at end of shift. Which were pretty lively places in the Golden Spike days.

        These “Railheads” (the temporary towns, not people so addicted to trains they hate busways) have a rich active presence in the history of railroading. Also creating a good enough revenue source to replace bus-wraps.

        Historic Preservation people will decree they have to include poker games, chicken (with gloves!) fights, bar-brawls and other valid past-times from time past.

        We already have gunfights every night, but could Constitutionally mandate post Civil War percussion revolvers.

        Still lot of quarries in outlying suburbs- whose equipment could easily count as monorails, even if the rail is a steel cable, moving ore buckets with seats and windows. Call it the Buckley, Black Diamond, and Enumclaw.

        Anyhow, time to carry the war to home districts of State Reps who’ll have to explain to their constituents why car-tab cuts mean they can’t have this stuff.

        Also, let people divide their car tab fees into monthly automatic deductions of fifty dollars a month from their checking accounts. Why didn’t Democrat One think of this first day planning finances of ST-3.


    2. We don’t have to move the station, just raise it to the surface. The Bellevue City Council can take it up with Olympia. Maybe they can get a special grant to re-establish the subway.

      1. The route is so awful through Bellevue it hardly matters. Why their city council allowed Kemper Freeman to bully them into selecting an alignment that goes nowhere near the retail core of downtown Bellevue is beyond me…

  4. Democrats control the House and the Governor’s mansion. It’s time they acted like it and demanded a bill that would be revenue neutral.

    1. Exactly! This is a total backstab from house democrats.

      The idea that there is some massive voter backlash to car tabs is rediculous. Where is the evidence?

      All I see is the normal minority of anti tax conservatives getting their way by yelling louder than everyone else.

      1. I’ve really been at a loss through this whole episode to understand how some on the Seattle left have been so delusional about MVET politics.

        The MVET is hard politically even when done right. Combine regular MVET politics with the optics of an inflated valuation schedule and it becomes completely toxic.

        The House Dems are protecting Sound Transit from a high-risk voter backlash. If you think this is just a few anti-tax conservatives, I don’t know how to start educating you. Dems in Olympia didn’t get to Olympia by not understanding their districts.

      2. Thank you Dan. I encouraged a “bend don’t break” strategy. The anger being stirred up by talk radio IS real and too few transit advocates especially on the Seattle left have my guts to go on right wing talk back radio and push back.

        No, seriously how many of you stood up for ST3 and the stars of Sound Transit?

        Well may this be your wakey-wakey to understand that uh, maybe folks you gotta get in the game.

        Yes, the MVET schedule had to be fixed. But if there’s another round of attacks on ST3’s financial position, I ain’t gonna be an apologist for Kirby-Johnny-Hermite.

      3. “I’ve really been at a loss through this whole episode to understand how some on the Seattle left have been so delusional about MVET politics.”

        Now this made me laugh.

        The delusional crowd, egged on by pandering politicians, isn’t the Seattle left, Dan.

        When I was on that committee for the I-405 Corridor Program in 2001, at the Totem Lake design charrette I decided to watch, I eavesdropped on the engineer’s conversations.

        One of them groused “Well, let’s see, Everyone wants bigger, better, faster roads…just Not In My Back Yard!”.

        That’s the total disconnect, the self centered, parochial view of your standard suburban resident. “I want Everything, but I don’t want to pay for any of it.”

        How do I know? They were my neighbors! I was always involved in conversations where they complained about traffic, and I was happy to oblige them with all the details.

        The costs, the benefits, how it’s calculated, who pays for what?

        I used to come with a warning if someone started that conversation with me “Are you sure you want to get into this? I will bend your ear for an hour!”

        And I would do it. Eye-glaze and dizziness was the the result.
        Well, … they asked for it.

        After a while, I realized the MVET/Tax complainers didn’t want an answer, they just liked the sound of their own whining.

        Now my reply to this behavior from fellow suburbanites is :


        Because they just aren’t willing to understand it.

        and I have yet to see a comprehensive plan for this whole “Roads Centric” crowd as to how they would solve their congestion ‘problem.

        I think you are dead wrong, Dan.

        Transit supporters need to tell the (Highway) Elite – They Have No Clothes.
        Louder, and if you are someone here from those suburban areas that is a supporter…
        for God’s sake,

        SPEAK UP !

      4. “MVET/Tax complainers didn’t want an answer, they just liked the sound of their own whining”

        These same people don’t want an answer for why their justification for denying housing will not fix #traffic like they think it will. Especially when it’s mainly their SFHowner neighbors causing the traffic, less so those living in multi-family housing on high capacity frequent transit corridors. #Listen2Houghton #Listen2Everest

  5. Glad to see the house dems showing some political smarts for once. The politics of the MVET are radioactive and they’re likely forestalling a worse fate for ST (directly elected board, anyone?) by a little bloodletting now. Especially with the help this will provide in swinging the upcoming special election.

    1. Sorry, Ron, but performance of the Democratic Party at all levels since the Reagan years indicates that if its smarts aren’t accompanied by guts, a party gets nothing but blame for everything.

      Very old human habit, back to the tribal days. Get in the habit of backing down from every fight, and both your enemies get in the habit of killing you. And your friends in the habit of not being able to figure out why they should save you.


  6. These state Democrats are completely spineless or completely out of touch.

    We lose countless hours of productivity and quality of life each day spewing carbon into the air idling in traffic around the region. Transportation is mission critical to prepare for the next generation of globalization and the continued concentration of the population into suburban and urban spaces.

    We need trains. A lot of them. Not tax cuts.

    This BS might have worked in the 20th century, but we need decisive progressive action for our leaders.

    If they can’t take a little heat from talk radio and mynorthwest.com, they need to go.

    1. Globalization is progressive? Tell that to workers watching their wages being driven down by it. You’re the reason Trump won.

      1. Unionize the Globe the way business merged it, and workers will get similar results. When timber, saw-mills, and mines saw to it that local people had jobs, places like Spokane had workers who thought like that.

        As the IWW, for “Industrial Workers of the World” saw globalization had no problem telling their members. Amount of effort The Bosses put into destroying labor organizations like this testified to how scared the system was of them.

        You want to live in a tired, aging, frightened, and poor country- move to self-isolated England. Donald Trump owes his election to US demographic of that description.

        Considering his performance since January, fact he lost by three million votes good indication he’ll make it six million by his own hard work.

        Mark Dublin

  7. Well, I guess we just have to accept the fact that we live in a state where the levers of power are controlled by right-wing radio hosts and allied editorial boards. It’s obviously not a representative democracy when D’s break under the lies and histrionics of the vaudeville act of Dino and Dori (Dino, of the “I always lose” chorus line). When a bully whacks you in the head and you don’t challenge the violence, the whacks just become harder and more frequent.

    Where’s the data that shows “normal” people are even upset about ST’s valuation schedule as is? All I’ve seen are a couple of whining luxury car drivers and someone filling up their gas tank in a suburban location. The media should have been on the platform at the University of Washington Station asking people how they feel about it and light rail. Oh well, I’m sure they’ll be there asking opinions when the next highway bill is up for a vote in Olympia. It’s so frustrating that ST has to fight to the death for every single table scrap while almost every big R highway-irrigation-power project gets thoughtful consideration that’s shielded from populist review.

    1. It’s a continuation of the Reagan Revolution in the 1980s, when Dems got scared and became Republicans-lite. And this is a special issue of MVET and cars, which has bipartisan pro-car support. If it weren’t about car privilege the votes would have been more balanced.

      The right-wing shrill you’re talking about is a leap beyond that. That has affected national politics and the southeast and midwest, but it hasn’t made decisive inroads in Washington or the west coast yet. Although it has more sympathizers in Vantucky and Spokane Valley (east of Spokane).

      The generic tax revolt, while it overlaps with the right-wing shrill, goes back a long way in Washington and is somewhat bipartisan. The state was founded in the populist era, when people didn’t like elites or taxes or railroad barons or people telling them what to do. But it’s more moderate than Rush or Bannon or Cruz or take your poison. It’s more live-and-let-live and willing to listen to reason. But they also generally have a bias against transit and urbanism.

      1. When governments begin to restructure governmental departments and agencies, actually laying people off to achieve greater efficiency, a la the private sector, perhaps more voters will become convinced that their tax dollars are being spent efficiently. Until then, “starve the beast” will always resonate with voters.

      2. The government has been laying off people and privatizing stuff. In fact, in some areas it’s gone so far (like on some parts of the Department of Defense), that GAO studies have shown that more government hiring needs to take place.

      3. Well, it was obvious you didn’t have really progressive Democrats at the state level in WA. If you had, someone would have been pushing one of the key goals of the 19th century progressives — an INCOME TAX.

      4. I said populist, not progressive. Populists wanted as little power as much power as possible vested in the people. That’s why we have initiatives, to do things the electeds won’t do. Progressives aim for a fairer future, which they saw as a logical extension of the 1800s scientific progress. Progressives can be seen by outsiders as dictatorial and elitists, while populists can be seen by outsiders as ignorant mobs.

        I’m not sure where income tax falls. But historically in Washington, people didn’t want an income tax because they thought more tax mechanisms would lead to more total taxes. All throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s people were mostly concerned that they would have to pay the tax. It was only in the past ten years that I’ve heard it called progressive and falling mostly on the rich. That is doubtless because the bottom has fallen out of middle-class security and the rich’s federal tax breaks have swelled, it makes people think less about themselves paying a small income tax and more about the rich paying income tax.

    1. That vote tally seems pretty veto-proof. I’m assuming the WA leg mirrors the US on that point?

      1. You mean in terms of overriding the veto with a 2/3 vote? I didn’t think about that, though it’s a few votes short of that, and maybe some dems would take Inslee’s lead following a veto.

  8. Very clearly, however, the costs were not thoroughly understood by voters. How else to understand the breadth of voter anger?

    This is insufficiently cynical. I’m sure some low information voters who didn’t pay close attention to their MVET bills before or just moved here, were unpleasantly surprised. But transforming this unpleasant surprise into righteous outrage was accomplished by cynical anti-ST, anti-transit, anti-tax political operators (starting with the Seattle Times editorial board). I tip my hat to them; they identified an opening and exploited it, but let’s not pretend this came to have the political force that it did out of some organic, grassroots process. This was smart, effective politics by our enemies.

    1. Completely agree. My guess is most of the people complaining about the car tabs were people who voted against ST3. Still, if legislators want to do something about it, they didn’t have to do it in a way that cuts transit funding.

  9. Let me see if I have this straight.

    The argument is that voters didn’t understand how much the car tabs were going up, and are now having buyer’s remorse.

    Since ST3 passed by roughly 100,000 votes, that means that at least 100,000 of these representative’s constituents have called them, correct?

    Got it !

  10. It could be that the driverless and connected vehicles will change the park-and-ride demand, eliminating the need for large garages anyway. If we don’t have public driverless shuttles running into suburban neighborhoods, we’ll have either driverless Uber/Lift or private driverless cars that can drop someone off then head back to the garage a few miles away, or we’ll have driverless parking lots and garages — maybe even owned by private companies — that can park cars more tightly than today’s lots.

    The free, large park-and-ride model will probably be much less popular by 2040 no matter what. Actually, I think ST should probably quit planning for large parking garages and start planning for better drop-off/pick-up areas now no matter what happens with the funding.

  11. Great post Dan. I agree this debate is overheated.

    But yeah, we kinda did have to deal with ALL legislators being contacted by the MVET situation, the sticker shock, the right wing jocks, and the COWARDICE of some Sound Transit leaders & transit advocates who did NOT even TRY to plant the truth into the right wing media. Some of those folks even whined about the idea of electing transit boards so transit advocates who were/are 100% committed to transit could get on these boards.

    Let’s get something straight here: The MVET schedule was wrong. The state legislature sets the MVET schedule. But when there are too few and too quiet of us and too many, too loud, too consistent of THEM – THIS is what we get.

    Because it’s either THIS or a statewide initiative. Just as the state legislature set the MVET, the state initiative process is the same thing as 149 or so state legislators & Lt. Governor. I don’t want to Party-Like-Its-1999.

    For you (mostly) Seattle folk, I feel your pain. But understand suburban voters decide elections and you will start understanding that Seattle is a political island. These House Democrats are worried about keeping their majority and believe most of you in the grassroots lack the GUTS to take the next steps from type-type-type-“POST COMMENT”. Time to realize if you’re just posting comments, you’re not going to win squat.

    Maybe when you [ot] via taking a detour to Safeway via the Community Transit SWIFT, you might actually start seeing results. Or maybe when you donate monthly to Transportation Choices Coalition, you might actually start having influence. [ot]. Enough.

    Are you with me that this is finally your breaking point to go from “POST COMMENT” to taking genuine action? Please tell.

    1. OK, Joe, you can save us! If you can’t get elected, check and see if either Amtrak or Greyhound can commute you to Olympia. If not, tell the Skagit they can have you back when you get done helping Alex Tsimerman rid the Dome of all these billionaire Russian gangsters from Moses Lake.

      But I think your own hard work will earn you your lifetime dream of a position much closer to home. Your valiant campaign for an Elected board will put your first in line for Chief Strategist for its new Chairman.

      As Alex Tsimerman gives you the coveted Piece of Red Cardboard in recognition for the change of governance that made his election inevitable.


      1. Nice Mark, I just want to make Skagit Transit a bus-centric no-light-rail version of Sound Transit.

        Also if I ever do get my sticky hands on the Tsimerman sign, we will put it up on the Puget Sound Museum of Transit as an artifact. Other artifacts will include a PC & STB server (in tribute to STB commentators), a Nikon D5300 with 18-300mm lens, a “Light Rail to Everett” T-shirt, a “Mass Transit Now” sign, the first bus of Island Transit, an electric bus, and of course a Kinkisharyo-Mitsui light rail train wrapped in chrome & a few Trimet light rail vehicles.

        We will also have a traveling exhibit called “Trolls versus Transit” where various trolls’ great speeches are dissected by University of Washington historians. I’m sure a UofW professor will just love explaining exactly who a “commie” and a “fascist” are and aren’t.

        On that note, I must be a bit serious when I say as the future Curator of the Puget Sound Transit Museum that I’m so happy now in 2017 we have air superiority over Them Trolls in the Ruth Fisher Boardroom. Let’s move that courageous success to KVI and then the state legislature, folks.

  12. I don’t think it is as black and white as some voters in the suburbs now want it both ways. Some of the people complaining about MVET might not have voted in the election at all but are certainly going to figure out how to contact their representatives now after the sticker shock.

    Yes, everyone had the chance and responsibility to use a tax calculator. Being pragmatic, Snohomish had the longest election ballot in a decade and many people don’t figure out how they are going to vote in most of the races until the day they fill it out.

  13. Thanks, Dan, for a solid explanation of why the Dems went this way. (They must be hearing from a lot of voters–not just outrage from the Times.) I have a more nuanced understanding of the issues now.

    Still, I’m nervous that House Dems couldn’t stay the course on this. Maybe they haven’t kneecapped ST here, but it does feel like a sucker punch. Still, you rightly point out that voter shock at the MVET increase could have negative impacts on the party at the ballot box. And I’m mindful of potentially disastrous consequences as we look toward redistricting in the not-so-distant future.

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