First impressions count, and so the election night meme of a nascent tax revolt continues to hold sway over our political class, despite all evidence to the contrary. Or does it?
Yesterday the King County Council raised three new taxes: property taxes of 10 cents and 5.5 cents per $1000 of assessed value respectively for flood control and expanded foot ferries, and a tenth of a cent per dollar sales tax increase to fund mental health services. That’s about $90 a year in new taxes for the median county household… plus, a 25 cent hike in Metro bus fares. Meanwhile, after a contentious campaign season in which its public subsidy became a major issue, the Port of Seattle yesterday voted to increase its tax revenues by $10 million over 2007, levying 23 cents per $1000… about $92 annually on a $400,000 home.
Opponents of Prop 1 argued that we simply couldn’t afford Sound Transit’s proposed 50 mile light rail extension, and the half cent per dollar sales tax increase that would fund it at a cost of about $150 per year for a typical household. And yet just one week after voters soundly rejected the package at the polls, the council tacks another $90 a year onto our annual tax bill, without raising an eyebrow… or a public vote. Taxes equal to 60-percent of the cost of ST2 got raised just like that, with hardly any public debate. Doesn’t sound like the council fears an anti-tax climate to me. Indeed, I’d wager that Prop 1’s defeat made it easier for the council to raise taxes, as it left more of the tax base available.
So if you voted against Prop 1 thinking you were going to save yourself money, think again. Somehow, someway, you’re going to pay for RTID’s major roads projects, and without Sound Transit competing for your tax and toll dollars, probably a few more projects to boot. Tax revolt, my ass.