Increase Seattle property taxes to save bus routes?

SEATTLE — A public transit advocacy group is hoping the public will vote to increase property taxes in order to save bus routes expected to be cut in the wake of a failing car tab and sales tax increase that would have funded transit.

The advocacy group Friends of Transit announced it intends to file an initiative for the November 2014 election that would attempt to save King County Metro Service within Seattle city limits by increasing property taxes.

metrobusesService is expected to be cut soon as Proposition 1, a measure that would have raised sales tax and increased vehicle tab fees to maintain Metro Bus service throughout King County, appears handily defeated in Tuesday’s special election. Prop. 1 is failing 55 percent to 44 percent with a majority of ballots counted Wednesday afternoon. After Wednesday’s ballot count, there were a total of 224,441  (54.51%) “no” votes and 187,324 (45.49%) “yes” votes.

Officials with Friends of Transit propose an increase in the city’s property tax by $0.22 per $1,000 of assessed value between 2015 and 2021. Officials said their proposal could raise up to $25 million a year for the next six years, enough to reverse most of the planned cuts.

It could also help reduce cuts to routes operating between Seattle and other cities.

Ben Schiendelman, founder of Friends of Transit, said Seattle could be irreversibly hurt by a permanent cut in transit, especially as ridership has increased to about 400,000 a day.

“Seattle will grind to a halt if we don’t act fast to save buses,” Schiendelman said. “Seattle voters want better transit. We will not rest until we have reversed these cuts and begun making the investments we need to provide Seattle with the transit system it deserves.”

In order to file an initiative, Friends of Transit will need to fill petitions with enough signatures to equal or surpass 10 percent of the last mayoral vote turnout.

Officials hope to file the initiative by the end of the week, they said.

 

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6 comments

  • Dirt

    Good luck with that. Not enough min. wage workers or freeloaders outside of the city to support the vote. Seattle city limits though, plenty of rainbow chasin unicorn minimum wage and freeloading sheeple can vote to have people with brains and money pay for em.

  • guest

    why not just spend what you have responsibly? I know it's a foreign concept to any government run organization but it works! Really!

  • Greg

    Why are homeowners constantly targeted with these tax increase initiatives? Why does owning a home mean you have to shoulder the burden of increased costs and misspending? What happened to the lottery money that was supposed to fix all our problems like schools, parks, roads, and Public Transit?? Most homeowners are barely getting by. Between greedy banking, underwater loans, and stagnant wages, why should we homeowners shoulder the burden while welfare recipients get free money, free food, free cell phones, free everything???? This stinks.,

  • Greg

    Why are homeowners constantly targeted with these tax increase initiatives? Why does owning a home mean you have to shoulder the burden of increased costs and misspending? What happened to the lottery money that was supposed to fix all our problems like schools, parks, roads, and Public Transit?? Most homeowners are barely getting by. Between greedy banking, underwater loans, and stagnant wages, why should we homeowners shoulder the burden while welfare recipients get free money, free food, free cell phones, free everything???? This stinks.,

  • Slam1263

    It should be a $1 per thousand added to the property tax, and raise their sales tax to 30%.

    Raise the Minimum Wage to $30 and hour, and impose a 75% income tax.

    C'mon Seattle, embrace the Suck!

    Maybe then they will be able to afford their utopia.

  • cwl

    How about NO!!!!! The transit system runs way in the red and always has. How about taking out every other bus stop instead of stopping every 10 ft.. The PEOPLE voted NO!! So what do the idiots of the seattle city council do? IGNORE the people because just like the village idiot in the white house they know better.