Some Yakima Tax Payers are Saying No Tax Initiative 985 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Some Yakima Tax Payers are Saying No Tax Initiative 985

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YAKIMA, Wa.- Initiative 985 is a proposal for a tax shift. Initiative sponsor, Tim Eyman says the measure uses a portion of money from state's general fund, which is given to counties, to reduce traffic congestion in all 39 counties in Washington. Some Yakima residents are speaking up against it.

"It takes tax money from here and sends it over to the west side of the state," said Doug McDonald, a former Secretary of State for Transportation.

This is the main concern Yakima neighbors are having. The tax initiative would add carpool lanes in King County and Snohomish County where traffic is a concern. It would also require traffic lights to be synchronized in every city and county in the state. Opponents in Yakima say local concerns should be a priority.

"We've got a lot of issues here that need to be solved. We need Yakima money to be spent on Yakima problems," said Larry Mattson, a former city councilman.

Opponents claim the initiative would take $229 of tax money for every family of four. According to Eyman, the initiative doesn't raise taxes, but simply redirects revenue that taxpayers are already paying.

Some of this money will go to synchronizing traffic lights in busy intersections like Yakima Avenue or Nob Hill Avenue. Even though it could save drivers a few minutes, tax payers want to see their money used more productively.

"Here you need new projects to be built and you need money for new projects and this doesn't spend money on that," said McDonald.

Neighbors worry that if the initiative passes, the money will be taken from community programs and local needs.

"I can't go to city council and ask for snow removal or recommend a certain street get paved because that money will be allocated to the west side of the state," said Mattson.