Editorial: King County’s mixed tax message
Seattle and King County voters want to make it hard for the state to raise taxes, but they’re also willing to pay up for local services that are specific and measurable.
Seattle Times Editorial
The passage of Initiative 1185 in Tuesday’s election suggests Washington voters want their legislators to show restraint before they raise taxes.
In Seattle and King County, citizens sent a more nuanced message when they not only gave the green light to that statewide measure but also to two local fee increases, as if to say: “We’ll give a little more, but tell us exactly what you’re going to do with our money.”
Seattle’s Proposition 1 asked voters to fix the waterfront’s aging seawall for another 100 years by approving a 30-year bond levy to raise $290 million.
With images circulating in the past week showing some of the East Coast’s most iconic attractions ruined by Superstorm Sandy, people didn’t have to imagine the potential consequences of a serious storm or earthquake with a deteriorating, subpar seawall.
It didn’t hurt for voters to see a price tag, either.
The cost to the owner of a $360,000 home (the median price in Seattle) is estimated at about $59 per year.
Meanwhile, King County’s Proposition 1, which was passing as of Wednesday, requested taxpayers renew and slightly expandthe Automated Fingerprint Identification System levy. That’s about $21 a year on a $350,000 home.
Since 1986, AFIS has been an effective tool for law enforcement officials to coordinate their various finger- and palm-print databases.
The approval of these two measures, together with the August passage of a King County Children and Family Services Center bond levy and Seattle Public Library’s new operating levy, indicate that voters, at least in King County, are not ideologically opposed to generating extra revenue for services — as long as they know exactly how their contribution is being spent.