Shortly after STB’s editorial board issued a screed denouncing the $518 million ransom payment to the state to be allowed to spend money on ST3, Rep. Jessyn Farrell (D – 46th District – North Seattle) made lemonade out of the lemon.
Via an amendment to SB 5987 that was proposed by Rep. Farrell on the House floor, got adopted by the House late Tuesday night, and was concurred with in the Senate early Wednesday morning, that $518 million that would come out of taxes on Sound Transit 3 projects would stay within a new Puget Sound Taxpayer Accountability account, to fund educational programs for the most vulnerable students within King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties.
While far from an ideal precedent, it does mean that more voters will have a reason to vote for ST3. Even if their neighborhood does not see new transit investments from ST3, their schools will be in line for some extra funding.
The net losers in this transaction are taxpayers from other counties, who just took a hit on their share of education funding, thanks to a related $518 million transfer from the state’s general fund to the Connecting Washington Account (See (9) in Effects at the bottom.), which is for WSDOT, and a lot of which will be spent in the ST District. It remains to be seen whether this net transfer of $518 million out of the state’s general fund will run afoul of the McCleary decision (Seattle Times $).