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.

Someday Seattle needs to vote no on a tax increase. Just to set a limit — some limit, somewhere.

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.


  1. 1

    Roger Rabbitt spews:

    Although Ramsey dances around it, there is a point underneath his rant, which is: It’s not just an extra $124 a year of property taxes, or another $60 per year for each car (which is $120 for most families); it’s the cumulative impact on stretched family budgets of everything going up — utility charges, groceries, health insurance premiums, etc. It’s like getting eaten by piranhas; it isn’t one fish but the whole school of them that’s the problem. But this complaint has less credibility coming from Ramsey because he’s pretty much a knee-jerk libertarian who’s against anything that smacks of public spending for the public good.

    Speaking of Seattle Times editorials, they ran a truly awful one after the Tacoma school strike was settle — of the sour grapes variety — sparing no effort to excoriate the teachers’ union because they won on the key issues that drove them to strike in the first place, such as not giving administrators a free hand to make arbitrary teacher assignments.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbitt spews:

    Here it is, that smelly ST editorial bashing teachers. The editorial board was so pissed off by the concessions won by the teachers that they even bashed the judge. Here we go with some rancid excerpts; to read the whole nauseating thing (why would you want to?), click on the link below:

    “The Tacoma teachers strike has ended …. That is worth cheering but valid concerns remain about teachers unions turning classrooms into budget battlegrounds. …

    “Pierce County Superior Court Judge Bryan Chushcoff was too passive as teachers flouted … a court order to return to work. …

    “Tacoma will … shield teachers from the 1.9 percent pay cut imposed statewide by the Legislature. Tacoma’s teachers are among the highest paid in the state and protecting them from economic realities does not help.

    “Teachers gave back a training day for which they were paid extra. But they … get the extra day and pay back in latter years of the three-year contract.

    “Administrators were also pushing to move beyond seniority in deciding teacher placements and transfers. The union is fixated on how these things affect teachers. …

    “Despite losing $13 million in class-size funding, Tacoma agreed to keep class sizes the same. That’s a good compromise. The strike was illegal and unfair to students who are now woefully behind.”


    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Holy moly, have you ever seen anything more mean-spirited in newsprint?

  3. 3

    Roger Rabbitt spews:

    It kinda looks like maybe Bruce Ramsey wrote it. I’m not saying he did, I’m merely wondering out loud.

  4. 4

    eryteryt spews:

    Ramsey has a point. Has Seattle or Olympia ever proposed, much less enacted, a progressive tax?

    Even the old tab tax (pre I-695) was probably regressive, as most consumption taxes are, or at best neutral. What about a tax on art, high-end jewelry, or boats? Never. Instead we get taxes on beer, pop, gas, sales tax, tobacco tax (the last probably the most regressive of all). The Democrats care so much about the poor, they had to destroy them.

  5. 5

    Edward Seeto spews:

    I am sick and tired of Liberals and their so called progressive taxes.Vote no on any education levy as the money eventually gets dumped into the general fund and is blown on stupid ass , nonsensical projects.

  6. 6

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    I honestly cannot remember the last time there was something well written in the ST about local issues. The worst section of the paper, of course, is the editorial page.

    Do the students at UW or SU read the ST? Or do they find it far easier and more informing to pull up something better and more interesting on a smart phone or pc?

  7. 7

    Proud to be an Ass spews:

    @5. Sure. Better to redistribute income upward so the rich can blow it on socially useful projects like CDO’s and time shares in Dubai.

    You sir, are a witless chump.

  8. 8

    Proud to be an Ass spews:

    @4: Witness the full throated support from our Democratic electeds for the income tax initiative that failed so dismally. Oh, wait.

  9. 10

    Rujax! spews:

    5. Edward Seeto spews:

    I am sick and tired of Liberals and their so called progressive taxes.Vote no on any education levy as the money eventually gets dumped into the general fund and is blown on stupid ass , nonsensical projects.
    09/28/2011 at 12:09 am

    Like WHAT asshole?????

  10. 11

    Turd for brains ButtPutty's dead goat spews:

    5. Edward ShitHead the illiterate spews:

    I am sick and tired of Liberals and their so called progressive taxes.Vote no on any education levy as the money eventually gets dumped into the general fund and is blown on stupid ass , nonsensical projects.

    Did you bother to check your punctuation?
    Your home schooling is showing.

  11. 12

    Michael spews:

    You get a tax break on your private plane in Washington. Maybe it’s just me, but I figure if you can afford to own your own plane you can afford to pay taxes on it.

  12. 13

    Edward Seeto spews:

    Like this liberal morons-http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2011/02/fred_stephens_inept_supervisor.php

    Need any further proof liberalism is a mental disorder?