Here’s Senate Transportation Chair Curtis King (R-Yakima) explaining how he came up with $11 billion in new tax authorization for Sound Transit (over 15 years) instead of the $15 billion ST asked for (at 18:20 if the Youtube link doesn’t work correctly).
Well the theory was they asked for 15. From my limited knowledge, people usually ask for more than they want. In various discussions we heard some lower numbers from time to time. I would say that what we put forth exceeded some of the lower numbers we heard. We thought it was a balance between the 15 that they wanted and some of these lower numbers.
I found this interesting for several reasons. One is that it’s a solid illustration of the Overton Window, and can only encourage future requests to ascend to the stratosphere.
If one accepts the principle that Olympia must parsimoniously mete out local taxing authority, which I don’t, his reply makes a lot of sense given a lot of Sound Transit’s messaging. ST officials have frequently suggested the mix of taxes allowed “flexibility,” rather that indicating the actual level of need. Maybe that’s true, or maybe it’s not, but that’s impossible to really know since ST hasn’t released any sort of official analysis that would show what is achievable with any level of authority. In any case it’s clear that Sen. King cares not for Sound Transit’s taxing flexibility.
That doesn’t make $11 billion any less arbitrary, nor does it do anything for the potential riders whose projects won’t get built at a lower level of funding. But if Republicans that actually represent the ST district don’t care enough to raise a stink about it, then I’m not surprised that Sen. King doesn’t either.
H/T to Avgeek Joe.