Shortly before the County Council’s failure to approve Executive Constantine’s sales tax increase for the sheriff’s office, the four (technically non-partisan) Republican members of the Council proposed an alternate plan to provide that revenue by redirecting property tax flows.
This is not to be confused with the “Democratic” property tax plan that failed yesterday. Instea,d this plan would eliminate $10m in annual funding from the only recently instituted ferry and transit property tax, at a time when Metro is trying to find a way to plug a $50m-ish hole before the bottom falls out in 2012.
It’s unclear how much of that $10m would fall on Metro, but it’s enough money to fund about 80,000 hours of service, or almost 11 buses running 20 hours a day, 365 days a year. Reagan Dunn, who was joined by the rest of the Eastside delegation (Jane Hague, Kathy Lambert) and Pete von Reichbauer of Federal Way, said “Voters are demanding that government prioritize vital services while respecting the pain felt by working families across King County.”
Larry Phillips (Ballard) was quick with an opposing press release, pointing out the urban-rural valence:
“Public safety is important, but cutting away vital quality of life services like transit and parks isn’t the way to pay for it,” said Phillips. “In my Seattle district, employees and employers rely on transit for getting to work, while the Sheriff’s deputies they would have to pay for under this proposal only patrol unincorporated areas outside cities. This makes no sense for them.”
If these four leaders find another Councilmember to support the measure, the proposal would go to the ballot in November.