How Come we do not tax podment developers for transit?

Dawg UW AAUPA recent exchange of posts at the UW AAUP listserv illustrates the political castration of the University.

To be honest, I intend to vote for prop one with a large clothespin applied to my nose.

One participant, excited by something he read in the Seattle Times, posted his enthusiasm for proposition 1.

The issue being discussed is the ballot issue called Prop. 1 …. a vote to fund public transit and county roads by a $60 tax on car tabs and a 0.1% increase in sales tax.  The issue arose in response to the usual feckless and ineffective Seattle Time editorial which extolls the real need but opposes taxes for much of anything.  I guess if you are Ryan Blethen (the current heir publisher Assistant Managing Editor of the Times) there is a free lunch!).

The enthusiasm on campus is because so many students use the buses.  It would be a lot easier to accept this enthusiasm if the UW provided numbers on how the cuts planned in county services will effect the students, faculty and staff who commute this way to campus now.  The apparent lack of such number reflects the UW policy of not using state resources to influence ballot issues.  Apparently ignorance is OK under state law while knowledge of the fact behind ballot issues is not.

The enthusiasm of the few folks who posted on the listserv would also mean more if there was some reason to believe their enthusiasm for local politics went beyond the limited number of folks who read a list restricted to campus subscribers.

To be honest, I intend to vote for prop one with a large clothespin applied to my nose. I will vote for it because we need public transit, not just for the UW but to service all the new towers with their condos, apartments, and crammed podments.  I will need the clothespin because as far as I can see the developers of this new housing, some of it more like traditional dorms than like apartments, are not being asked to pay anything for the costs their housing is creating for Seattle.

To complicate matters, this money is coming out of the tax payers’ pockets while, at least in Seattle, developers have been getting a free ride … cutting the number of parking spaces and not replacing them with fees to support the infrastructure to go with the new towers erupting in Seattle.  I also see this as complicated as na UW issue because it conflates the very clear need for public transit with the very different issue of maintaining roads in rural King County.

These are not large taxes.  If we assume that the average person spends $12,000 a month on sales taxed items then the total fee is $72.  The real problem is that running this tax this way means we are in danger of running into the Eyman limits and not being able to fund other high priority issues such as support for the parks system and pre K.

Read the ballot issue below:


King County Transportation District

Simple Majority (RCW 36.73.065)

King County Transportation District Proposition No. 1 Sales and Use Tax and Vehicle Fee for Transportation Improvements

The Board of the King County Transportation District passed Resolution No. TD2014-03 concerning funding for Metro transit, roads and other transportation improvements. If approved, this proposition would fund, among other things, bus service, road safety and maintenance and other transportation improvements in King County cities and the unincorporated area. It would authorize the district to impose, for a period of ten years, a sales and use tax of 0.1% under RCW 82.14.0455 and an annual vehicle fee of sixty dollars ($60) per registered vehicle under RCW 82.80.140 with a twenty dollar ($20) rebate for low-income individuals.


Should this sales and use tax and vehicle fee be approved?
Yes No


If approved, Proposition 1 would provide dedicated transportation funding available to preserve current Metro transit service levels and provide transportation improvements, including road preservation, safety and maintenance projects, by authorizing the King County Transportation District (KCTD) to levy a 0.1% sales and use tax and a $60 vehicle fee, each for up to ten years. Proposition 1 would also establish a low-income vehicle fee rebate of $20 and provide funding for a low-income Metro transit fare.


Sixty percent of revenues, net of administrative costs, would first be available to preserve Metro transit service, including a low-income fare program and the operation, maintenance and capital needs of the Metro transit system. After allocating funds to Metro transit service, any remaining revenue from the sixty percent would be distributed equally for Metro transit and unincorporated area roads purposes. The allocation of these funds will be made by the KCTD Board and guided by criteria contained in Resolution TD2014-03.


Forty percent of revenues, net of administrative costs, would be allocated by population to cities for transportation improvements and to the county for unincorporated area road purposes.


All transportation improvements must be projects contained in adopted transportation plans, as updated by the jurisdictions. Selection of specific improvements would be made by the individual cities and the County consistent with the requirements of Resolution TD2014-03. KCTD would annually review the funded projects and programs and issue an annual report to the public on costs, expenditures, revenues, and schedules.


Statement For

Yes on Proposition 1: Save buses, fix roads throughout King County

Our growing region can’t afford more traffic gridlock and deteriorating roadways. With 400,000 daily rides, Metro keeps us moving. Proposition 1 protects bus service and fixes our roads and bridges – an affordable, needed investment in our economy, environment, and quality of life.

Proposition 1 replaces expiring Metro funding – preventing planned cuts that will affect 80% of bus riders, put 30,000 cars back on congested streets, and leave some seniors, students, people with disabilities, and working families stranded.

Prop 1 dedicates 40% of revenue to roadway safety, preservation, and maintenance – critical funding for every city and rural area.

Prop 1 addresses affordability, creating $1.25 low income bus fare and partial rebate for low income car owners.

Unanimous, bi-partisan support of County Council, Executive Dow Constantine & endorsed: League of Women Voters; Senior Services; OneAmerica; El Centro de la Raza; Seattle Human Services Coalition; Downtown Seattle Association; Labor Council; Virginia Mason; SEIU; King County Democrats; Machinists 751; Sierra Club; Federation of Blind; Mayors of Seattle, Redmond, Kent, Shoreline, Burien, Mercer Island, Tukwila, Des Moines, Auburn, Kenmore, SeaTac, Issaquah, Snoqualmie, Duvall, Renton, Maple Valley, Sammamish, Federal Way, and more!

Rebuttal of Statement Against

Unfortunately, opponent’s statement is inaccurate and misleading.

The Facts:

Through efficiencies and fare increases, Metro has saved $130 million annually while still meeting record pre-recession ridership levels.

Because Prop 1 replaces expiring funding, we’ll pay only $40 more each year for our cars ($20 for low income car owners); with 40% of funding dedicated to local road improvements.

Cutting Metro stalls our economy, increases congestion, and disproportionately hurts seniors, students, and the working poor.

Submitted by: Denis Hayes, Estela Ortega, and John Marchione

Statement Against

Your “No” vote will send the essential message that King County taxpayers no longer accept Metro Transit’s refusal to deal with its primary financial problem:  excessive operating costs.

Public transit is an important part of our transportation system, but Metro’s current shortfall of $75 million, annually, results from its expenses long increasing at over twice the rate of inflation despite its own stated commitment to reduce those costs to or below inflation.

This is why Sound Transit stopped purchasing services from Metro for several bus routes within King County and, instead, substituted Pierce Transit in order to save nearly 30%.  Pierce Transit has worked to reduce costs while Metro’s continue rising.

Proposed new taxes would burden low-income and transit-dependent individuals, through highly regressive impacts, while unjustly skyrocketing taxes on motorists from $40 for every vehicle over two years to $600 each over 10 years:  an unacceptable 1,500% increase.

For taxpayers living in east-and-south county – who already pay 65% of transit taxes but receive just 37% of transit services – piling on these added taxes would make this unfairness even worse.

Sustainable transit requires real financial controls, not Metro’s repeatedly broken promises.

Please vote “No” to save transit from Metro’s ongoing mismanagement.

Rebuttal Of Statement For

Stop Prop 1’s tripling of the car tabs tax annually. Reject Metro’s regressive tax increases on the poor for the third time in 10 years. Don’t bail out the politicians unwilling to reduce excessive transit operating costs in Metro’s budget. Don’t be fooled by more of Metro’s false promises. End bus subsidies for wealthy riders at the expense of the transit dependent. Vote No on unnecessary and excessive tax hikes. Visit for more information.

Submitted by: Will Knedlik, Dick Paylor, and Jerry Galland

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