SEATTLE -- Get ready for another tax measure on this fall’s ballot.
King County Council leaders are putting the final touches on what is expected to be a nearly $400 million property tax measure. The money is to help newborns and young infants who are at risk of developing big problems as they grow up.
King County Executive Dow Constantine is leading the charge for this new plan, arguing that it’s the best way to ensure opportunity for all.
“The failure to invest early leads to much costlier crisis interventions later,” Constantine said during his “State of the County” address in April.
Constantine argues that science is on his side. He points to studies demonstrating that making sure babies are born healthy and have the necessary resources in the first months enable the infants to do much better.
“Every child who drops out or gets kicked out or locked up marks our failure as a community to provide the love and care support that every child needs,” Constantine said in April. “These kids aren’t failing us, we are failing them.”
Here are the details of what’s being called the “Best Starts for Kids” Levy:
- $392 million property tax
- $56/year for average homeowner
- Six years
These are some of the services that will be funded:
- Prenatal care
- Development screening
- Homeless prevention for families
- Some programs for those over 5 years of age
Critics argue that this levy might be well-intentioned but that it’s just too much money at a time when many are still struggling.
The November ballot is already shaping up to be expensive. Seattle voters will face nearly $1 billion in requests for transportation and campaign financing.