Jesus Christ, do they ever bother to fact check any Seattle Times columnist? I mean, I’m an idiot and I can spot the problems with the lede.
The links added by me, and I swear were just off the top of my head. I know one is King County, but it’s not like Seattle taxes go up if we accept them but the county as a whole doesn’t. And I didn’t include Roads and Transit for the same reason (I’m not even sure if those measures passed or failed in Seattle). Or any Washington State initiatives. And by the by all of the tax cutting initiatives in Washington state over the years: they cut taxes for people in Seattle too, so we can increase our taxes before we hit the “limit” of before Eyman started relentlessly destroying the public good.
Anyway, then Ramsey goes on first to the Families and Education levy:
It is not a school levy. Voters already have approved those. Families and Education is a seven-year city levy that pays for preschool, clinics, tutors and after-school programs. This year’s levy will hit the average property owner at $124 a year. In the amount of money it raises, it doubles the existing seven-year tax, which was a 69 percent increase over the previous seven-year tax.
Preschools, clinics, tutors, etc., have not gone up in cost that much. Proponents want more of them.
Well, the state has been cutting education. They cut it in part because of the economy, in part because things that are dedicated to education like timber have been declining, in part because we rely too heavily on a sales tax that’s a shrinking share of the economy, and in part because of those statewide tax cuts that also cut taxes in Seattle. So it’s not just the cost of those things but the need to fill in the gap the state left (and beyond that the greater need in a recession).
Then while trying to argue that we should reject the car tabs, he makes the case that they should be larger:
One reason is that it is not pegged to anything big. The $204 million it will raise over 10 years will be spread over the city — a spoonful here and there on potholes, a serving of sidewalks, a slice of bus signals and bus electrification, more bike lanes, etc. Many of these are worth doing. Then there is the 9 percent earmarked for streetcars, which appeal to people who judge vehicles on how they look.
Ha, it’s funny because even though the SLUT has been so successful that we’ve had to add another car, streetcars look funny (???) or whatever. But, yes, I agree I’d like more big projects. You get that with higher car tabs, not by rejecting the car tabs.
Also, he enthusiastically quotes people who don’t like the regressive nature of the tax. I agree with that, but somehow, I doubt Ramsey would be for it if we raised the same amount of money (or enough for something big) by basing it on the blue book value with an exemption for the first $500 or whatever. In any event the state, not the city, is the problem here. I think it’s safe to say that if Olympia gave us the ability to raise the money in a more progressive way, Seattle would agree to that.