City Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata aim to fund Seattle transit by replacing a sales tax hike with a business tax.
King County Metro is facing a 17% cut to services. The Mayor has proposed a Seattle-specific funding package that would include a $60 vehicle license fee and a 0.1 percent increment added to the sales tax. Our plan amends the Mayor’s proposal by replacing the regressive sales tax increase with two different taxes on businesses:
- A reinstated Employee Hours Tax where businesses would pay about $1.40 per employee each month, with small businesses exempted
- An increase in the tax paid by commercial parking operators, from 12.5 percent to 17.5 percent
Together these generate the $22 million necessary to prevent an increase in the sales tax. Washington State already has the most regressive tax structure in the country – we don’t need to further increase the sales tax. In addition, sales tax has proven to be an unstable revenue source: the dot-com crash in 2001 reduced sales tax revenue and forced Metro to scale back plans to increase service, and in 2009 Metro lost more than 15% of its sales tax base due to the recession.
It comes as no surprise that Metro is facing a funding crisis. The State legislature has systematically stripped away progressive funding options and has failed to pass a transportation funding package. Funding has increasingly become dependent on regressive and unstable revenue sources such as sales tax.
Local elected officials have an obligation to show leadership on these issues and push for change at all levels. Elected officials need to implement policies such as taxing big business and the super-wealthy, ending direct and indirect subsidies to large real estate developers, and ending corporate handouts in order to generate revenue to fully fund mass transit.
Come support this Metro funding proposal at two back-to-back events:
Thursday, June 26th
Transit Riders Union Press Conference Supporting Our Proposal
4:00pm, Seattle City Hall, 4th Avenue Plaza
Transportation Public Hearing
5:30pm, Seattle City Hall, Council Chambers
(Come early to sign up for public comment)