PubliCola beat me to this point by a couple of days, but the internet sales tax bill making its way through Congress — it just passed the filibuster-happy Senate 69-27 , with your two Senators voting yes — has large implications for any local agency that largely funds itself with sales tax, which of course includes transit agencies across Washington.
For this bill, the Department of Revenue says that FY 2015, the first full year of implementation, the State would receive $113m in additional revenue. By 2017, projections expect compliance rates to stabilize so that revenues increase by $333m per year. Using my estimate that Metro revenues are 5.6%* of the state total, that amounts to $6.3m escalating to $18.6m annually for Metro.
Metro’s total 2015 budget gap is $60m, so this doesn’t come close to solving the problem. But it does mean they’d cut a little less core service, and if a tax package does pass it’d be a little more new service and a little less backfilling old service. And of course it’s the same story for Sound Transit, Pierce Transit, Community Transit, and so on.
The bill is S.743, the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013. In the House, where the bill awaits action, the equivalent is H.R. 684. Letting your Representative know this is important to you always helps. In particular, Washington’s Suzan DelBene is on the subcommittee currently reviewing this legislation, and she is also a cosponsor of the bill.
*Goldy’s back-of-the-envelope estimate has slightly higher numbers. I based my 5.6% number on the 2012 state sales tax estimate of $7.241 billion and 2013-14 Metro budget’s 2012 sales tax estimate of $402.9m. His Sound Transit numbers don’t include the Snohomish and Pierce County contributions, and they count areas of King County not in the district.