Seattle City Council members Nick Licata and Kshama Sawant announced today a plan that would avert scheduled bus service cuts within Seattle through increases in the commercial parking tax and the employer head tax. You know, just like I had suggested.
“I have asked our policy staff to research exactly how much revenue could be raised through these means, and to begin drafting legislation to introduce to the City Council,” said Licata in a prepared statement.
Unlike Mayor Ed Murray’s proposed vehicle license fee and sales tax package, or the competing property tax proposal, hikes in the commercial parking tax and the employer head tax could be passed councilmanically without having to be put to voters. The council could pass these tax increases now, in time to avert the first round of Metro cuts that are scheduled for September. The other packages couldn’t go to voters before November, well after the first round of cuts are implemented.
Also unlike the other proposed taxes and fees, the commercial parking tax and the employer head tax aren’t particularly regressive. So that’s a big plus in their favor.
While only Licata and Sawant have put their names on this proposal, a birdie tells me that at least one or two other council members have expressed interest. So there is a real shot at preventing in-city bus cuts entirely instead of just preventing them from getting any worse.