New ballot measure: Property tax for Seattle-only Metro money

April 23, 2014 at 12:53 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 84 Comments

Even before the second vote count comes out this afternoon for Metro/roads-money measure Proposition 1, a new ballot measure is in the works, says a group calling itself Friends of Transit, seeking a property-tax increase to be used only for bus service inside the Seattle city limits. The announcement received via e-mail:

Friends of Transit today announced it will file an initiative for the November 2014 ballot that would save bus service within Seattle city limits. The measure could raise up to $25 million a year for the next six years, enough to reverse most cuts to King County Metro routes that serve Seattle.

“Seattle will grind to a halt if we don’t act fast to save buses,” said Ben Schiendelman, founder of Friends of Transit and proponent of the ballot measure. “Seattle voters want better transit. We will not rest until we have reversed these cuts and begun making the investments we need to provide Seattle with the transit system it deserves.”

“The pending Metro bus cuts will cause my neighborhood to lose one of our core routes, the Route 73. It also means that my 16 year-old son will be making a hour trek home from high school because the bus he rides will no longer go to our neighborhood. I am a single-income homeowner and I am careful with my money and I am in complete support of a City of Seattle property tax measure that will fund Metro bus service. Convenient, regular, safe bus service is essential to a healthy economy and a healthy community,” said Renee Staton, homeowner, mother, and Pinehurst Community Council member.

“Proposition 1’s failure will greatly harm the entire Seattle metro region. Overloaded buses will pass people by, making them late for everything due to incredibly congested roads as people with the option to drive may abandon the bus system. For West Seattle, with very limited access points and already overburdened roads and buses, our bridge commutes will be devastated – whether you drive a car or ride the bus. We need a reliable and fair transit funding solution before it’s too late,” said Joe Szilagyi, West Seattle resident.

The proposed initiative would increase the city’s property tax by $0.22 per $1,000 of assessed value between 2015 and 2021. The measure is estimated to generate $25 million a year in revenue, enough to fund as much as 250,000 hours of bus service. This funding would help stave off cuts to routes operating completely within Seattle, and may help reduce cuts to routes operating between Seattle and other cities. The property tax increase requires a simple majority vote for approval.

Revenues would be collected by the City of Seattle and used to purchase service from King County Metro. Seattle currently buys approximately 45,000 hours of bus service from Metro using revenues generated by the Bridging the Gap property tax levy, approved by voters in 2006.

The initiative will be filed by the end of the week. Once filed, it will be made available to the media and to the public.

You can also watch for it in the right sidebar here, once it’s filed.

5:04 PM NOTE: In comments, Joe Szilagyi (the West Seattleite quoted in the news release above) points to the legislative-district breakout of first-night results, noting that the Seattle districts voted for Prop 1.

Districts 36 and 37 voted 63 percent yes, 37 percent no on night 1. District 43 voted 78 percent yes, 22 percent no. The 34th District, which includes West Seattle but also outside-the-city White Center and Vashon Island, went 51 percent yes, 49 percent no. Three other districts that are part city, part suburb, were the 46th – 59 percent yes, 41 percent no; the 11th, 31 percent yes, 69 percent no; and the 32nd, 52 percent no, 48 percent yes. (If we’re missing any in-city district, please advise; this is the best we could do via squinting at maps.)

84 Comments

  1. Not sure how taxing homes vs. cars is going to go over but here we are…

    I wish the idea of taxing cars for transit had made sense to more folks. We have a car problem (pollution/congestion) and a transit problem (high demand/low funding) and disincentivizing car ownership for those who don’t need one only makes sense.

    This funding source doesn’t have the dual incentive element and that’s probably going to make it less palatable to some. But hey, we don’t use much logic around these parts when it comes to sorting priorities, so we’ll see.

    Comment by wakeflood — 1:12 pm April 23, 2014 #

  2. ooooooh; this is Ben; interesting

    Comment by Diane — 1:13 pm April 23, 2014 #

  3. Will 250k hours be enough for Seattle given that they are planning on cutting 550k hours?

    Comment by sven — 1:16 pm April 23, 2014 #

  4. We were thinking about this and wondering what percentage of those that pay property taxes use metro versus those that do not pay property taxes. It is sometimes disconcerting that whenever money is wanted/needed, they want to raise property taxes. Granted, it is not always very much, however, it adds up with each thing that is passed to add on property taxes.

    Comment by Bree — 1:18 pm April 23, 2014 #

  5. Seattle will NOT grind to a halt. More fear-mongering by these people.

    I am willing to be a lot of users of Metro WITHIN the Seattle city limits are renters, who do not pay a property tax – so again property owners are subsidizing the riders of Metro. RAISE THE FARES.

    And before you claim that renters pay property taxes via their rent – yes. Partially. But a renter of an apartment, say a 1100 square foot apartment, is NOT paying anywhere near the “tax” of a homeowner with an 1100 foot house and land. Not by a factor of 1:5 (and I am being generous here). Property owners would be unfairly subsidizing this package.

    Comment by Ray — 1:19 pm April 23, 2014 #

  6. How about we make developers who build without parking facilities include a minimum of one bus pass per unit in the cost of rent! All of this development and no contribution to the infrastructure. Makes no sense to me.

    Comment by Chuck Opolka — 1:24 pm April 23, 2014 #

  7. We are ALL friends of transit. But most people are not friends of wastes, lies and mismanagement.

    Comment by Rob — 1:24 pm April 23, 2014 #

  8. @Ray — Landlords factor in the cost of property taxes when determining rental fees. To claim otherwise is absurd. Of course renters will be paying for the proposed property tax increase – minus the benefits of the equity share found in the ownership of real property.

    Comment by Economics101 — 1:25 pm April 23, 2014 #

  9. How about we require that developers who build without parking facilities include the cost of a minimum of one bus pass per unit in the cost of the rent. It is not fair that they add traffic without subsidizing the infrastructure.

    Comment by Chuck — 1:27 pm April 23, 2014 #

  10. Ray, property taxes are an ad valorem tax. The assessor is tasked with assigning a market value to every parcel whether a house, condo, apartment, or business. Where are you getting your 1:5 ratio? Are you saying the county assessor is grossly undervaluing apartments? I need some data. All valuations are public information. Can you pull up some apartment valuations to support your claim??

    Comment by skeeter — 1:28 pm April 23, 2014 #

  11. I would want to see a lot more specifics, a very detailed plan. Exactly what routes would be enhanced/added, what extra commitments outside the levy would the City put into play – additional bus only lanes, signal priority for all busses, etc.
    There is no sense in paying to maintain current services that are at best barely adequate.
    Also, how would this tie Metro into providing the specific services the measure would contain?

    I am reluctant to provide funds for services to communities who, on their own, would not support such a levy. Giving Metro funding to provide Seattle services would free up money to enable Metro to provide service to hostile areas of the County. I’d like some real assurance that our money would be all for us, that the ‘free’ money that Metro would receive would remain in Seattle to provide the service levels that would be specified in the tax measure, not using the funds from hours/service purchased to be re-directed to other areas of the County.
    I really do not care about the “Metro Region”.
    That broad area has consistently proved itself to be unworthy of our efforts and attentions.
    I’m tired of carrying their water.

    Comment by old timer — 1:29 pm April 23, 2014 #

  12. Ray?
    renters do not pay property taxes? think again.
    the last time my landlord raised the rent it was because the taxes went up…
    .
    and that apartment renters versus homeowners argument? not so valid.
    .
    apartment owners don’t pay the same property tax as home owners because they own less property..
    .
    it really is that simple.
    .
    i don’t know if property tax is the way to fund our transit system.. but something has to.
    .
    because there are going to be a whole lot of bus riders who once had options who will now be adding their cars to our roads.

    Comment by JoB — 1:30 pm April 23, 2014 #

  13. Okay Ray. What do you think the solution is? Raising fares will not generate enough capital to keep the whole system running. Higher fares = less riders. You. Live. In. A CITY. A major US City. If you don’t want to pay for the “rest of us” then move to Yakima, or Skykomish, or the foothills of Mt Rainier. I am SICK of the argument that just because you don’t use something, you shouldn’t have to pay for it. Your property taxes pay for schools, the Police and Fire Department and they SHOULD pay for services like Transportation. We MUST work with, live with and support each other. Stop saying things are UNFAIR. My god people.

    Comment by AmandaKH — 1:31 pm April 23, 2014 #

  14. Ray — do rental owners not pay property tax? It all passes down the line. Do business property owners pay property tax? This is a progressive revenue source.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 1:33 pm April 23, 2014 #

  15. Try raising fares and stop issuing the ORCA discount cards. Every user should pay the same fare, it only makes sense.

    Comment by marty — 1:42 pm April 23, 2014 #

  16. Economics101, landlords base their rental fees on what the market allows. If they have a $2000 mortgage on a unit that only commands $1500, she/he will lose $500 per month if they have to rent it out regardless of taxes. Also, FoT should tie this in with parks somehow. Park levies pass in this county every single time no matter how absurd.

    Comment by CandrewB — 1:44 pm April 23, 2014 #

  17. ORCA is *not* a discount card. I rode the bus some days during recent coverage of the Morgan Junction murder trial, and can tell you that firsthand. Same rate. Just for convenience sake. It *does* confer a lower fare on the Water Taxi, which is operated by a separate agency, but NOT on Metro. http://metro.kingcounty.gov/fares/

    Comment by WSB — 1:45 pm April 23, 2014 #

  18. There is a phenomenal amount of bad information and disinformation out there. Stop listening to the Seattle Times. It’s a source of a lot of dubious information.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 1:47 pm April 23, 2014 #

  19. As a renter I’ll be happy to have my landlord increase my rent to pay for her increased property tax if this passes (as she did earlier this year when her property tax bill came in.)

    Of course landlords pass on their taxes to their tenants in the rent. Unless they’re running a low-income building they’re in it to make a profit. They wouldn’t be able to make money or even break even otherwise. Just because it’s not itemized on the rent bill doesn’t mean it’s not there.

    Comment by West Seattle since 1979 — 1:48 pm April 23, 2014 #

  20. As said earlier, I too want to see plan. What’s the budget breakdown? How much money is spent on capacity, and how much is spent on administrative? Will giving Metro X million more dollars mean I get MORE busses than the 1-2 that serve my area of west seattle? Or does it merely keep the same (crappy) bus service?

    I live in West Seattle and I work downtown. Roundtrip is under six miles. It takes me an hour to commute via bus: 56->bus tunnel->work and reversed. It’s ridiculous and I’ve given up riding it because I have to catch a 5 or 5:10 bus to get home or wait until almost 6. Yes, I have the abilities to do so and I realize others don’t – but to those who say move to the country, well, that goes both ways.

    Comment by B — 1:54 pm April 23, 2014 #

  21. Really? The count isn’t in and there’s already yet another ballot initiative? Makes one wonder how much money all this costs to keep running votes or is the idea to just wear everyone down? I really need to see this proposal before nixng it out of hand but how is Metro going to fund just the Seattle segment of its coverage area? On the face of this very preliminary announcement this is either unworkable or bizarre in the extreme. More detils now, please.

    Comment by west seattle codger — 1:56 pm April 23, 2014 #

  22. WSC – this is a citizens’ initiative (I recognize most of the names in the news release, including local community advocate Joe S.), not a government ballot measure. That means the group proposing it is footing the costs of at least getting it to the ballot. They also are soliciting volunteers & fundraisers via their website. Proposition 1 *was* a government-initiated measure, though the campaigning was done by a non-government coalition. Re: further details, please note the end of the news release says they expect to file the actual text of the measure by week’s end – once they do, we will know more, unless any of the organizers care to drop in here and answer questions. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 2:12 pm April 23, 2014 #

  23. Seattleites who voted no on Prop 1 are going to be regretting their decision because this version WILL pass. The daily emails from the KCGOP and the Seattle Times propaganda pieces won’t have the same effect in a city-only election.

    And, this time around, there’s no money for improving our crappy roads.

    So great going guys.

    Comment by Militant Moderate — 2:18 pm April 23, 2014 #

  24. As a user of this service. You can look back into the years and notice that we did not have any of these discussion prior to Metro Transit and King County merging. King County has not been the wisest with their resources. Metro Transit was financially strong. Now with the merger final (in the recent years), Metro bus routes are suffering. I am happy to put my money (whether it be in my car tabs or my property tax) where it will be managed properly. I have not seen King County’s plan to maintain the infrastructure of transit that would go with increasing fees (anywhere, even fares). Show the long term plan for stablizing our transit future and I will be happy to financially constribute.

    Comment by WSTransitUser — 2:23 pm April 23, 2014 #

  25. Raise the Fares .
    Funding additional hours through another tax increase is not a solution to the problem. It only enables Metro to continue down the path of wasteful spending & mis-management

    Comment by Marc — 2:26 pm April 23, 2014 #

  26. Not for more money for our politicians to blow, 34th district a disaster. Then again, if they were to eliminate all routes from Federal Way to WS i might reconsider.

    Comment by JJ — 2:37 pm April 23, 2014 #

  27. @WSC “how is Metro going to fund just the Seattle segment of its coverage area?”
    .
    From my understanding:
    .
    Seattle taxes itself, collects the money. Metro provides costs for JUST the runs and stops in-city or something like that. Let’s say it’s $1,000,000/year to save JUST in-city service at today’s levels. The city would then “buy” that in-city service from Metro. It would probably require some additional route readjustments, but I’m just guessing. But with what Olympia has done here, and the Prop 1 results, there’s no other option.
    .
    The County, now, is forced to be on it’s own. Every incorporated area like Seattle, Shoreline, Renton, Kirkland, Bellevue, etc are on their own. I imagine it won’t be long before we see similar tax measures from a lot of nearby cities to “buy back” services.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 2:40 pm April 23, 2014 #

  28. Well this will fail as well.
    Metro needs to get their spending on wages under control prior to expecting outside funding.
    Raise the fares, drop the salaries and dead weight.

    Comment by Wade — 2:44 pm April 23, 2014 #

  29. I don’t know how you stay sane reading some of the comments surrounding development WSB. I applaud you.

    Some actual facts, with actual sources:

    $798 million already saved/cut from metro budget 2009-2013

    80% fare increase over the past four years (protip: bus fares pay a fraction of the cost of bus services. This is true everywhere, it’s not unique to Seattle).

    The painful part of all this is Washington State already has the most regressive tax structure in the country (see “Terrible Ten”). Taxing car tabs is not particularly progressive, but our solution is to stop paying any taxes? Are those holding out for a better solution the same people who voted down the state income tax on $200k+ incomes? Because that was smashed down significantly harder than this proposition. Are we supposed to just pray the economy picks up enough to drive our very regressive 10% sales tax into fixing the shortfall?

    So we won’t pass progressive or regressive taxes. Because taxes. We’ll just flounder in traffic with another 30k estimated cars on the road commuting. Great.

    And if you really want someone to blame? Look at our state Senate, who could killed the original bill that was supposed to fund this fiasco.

    Comment by Joe — 2:48 pm April 23, 2014 #

  30. The assumption that all public services be funded entirely by property taxes is flawed. If all have equal access to these services, how about a per person “contribution” based upon legal residence in Seattle/King County. Spread across the entire population it would likely be less than car tabs, certainly less than the anticipated property tax bite. Similar to a state parks and recreation pass. Some property owners are on fixed or limited income and the continuing escalation of their taxes has a significant impact on them.

    Comment by DD — 2:48 pm April 23, 2014 #

  31. I’m starting to become convinced that government shouldn’t be in the business of mass transit. If you want to go to Vashon or Bainbridge get your own boat or swim. That will make you and your family more self-sufficient. I don’t use the high bridge and I’m tired of paying for its maintenance. I telecommute from home. I’m tired of subsidizing you and your ugly kids.

    Comment by I. Ponder — 2:49 pm April 23, 2014 #

  32. Make the developers pay? You gotta be kidding. This city is allowing high density, parking free units that by certain manipulations will pay LESS in property taxes – all they have to do is make a certain number of the units “affordable” and get a big big break in their property taxes. Those of us who own our own homes will have to subsize these developers and their tenants.

    Comment by WestofJunction — 2:55 pm April 23, 2014 #

  33. so we’ll have the parks property tax increase in August and then November another property tax increase. why not have all the increases on the same ballot???…..or then it would be too easy for voters to see all the hand grabs out there for money……is King County increasing their admin. staff or maybe purchasing adding machines by the truckload so they can keep adding up our property tax bill?

    Comment by joel — 2:57 pm April 23, 2014 #

  34. Make no mistake about it – this initiative will fail, too.
    -
    The threats of higher property taxes, higher rents etc. will again make the intellectually-informed voters say NO WAY. And make no mistake about it renters – your rents WILL go up.
    -
    Until the inherent problems are addressed with Metro, ie mismanagement/wages/inefficiency, informed voters will keep voting no.
    -
    Dow and his gang are targeting a small part of the population – and expecting them to fund most of the transit system, and apparently infrastructure. Another regressive tax. I’ve voted for Dow in the past. Never again.

    Comment by ScubaFrog — 3:10 pm April 23, 2014 #

  35. Here’s a thought. How about people that use the bus, pay for the bus. Raise the fares, manage funds better (Rapid Ride – waste of $$$) and be a little more above board. I work from home and don’t use the bus – why should I have to pay even more for it because I own a home?

    Comment by Common Sense — 3:43 pm April 23, 2014 #

  36. Scubafrog-please provide data about the mismanagement/wages/inefficiency of Metro. I want to see you back up your claims. Thank you

    Comment by Steve — 3:45 pm April 23, 2014 #

  37. King County voters gave old Dow a jolt with their NO votes on PROP 1. KC council/Seattle council/Metro need to quit bullying the voters. Metro needs to start using basic business basics and quit asking for increased taxes. Mismanagement of Seattle/WA has been going on too long and the voters are waking up to the political shenanigans.

    Comment by Seattlite — 3:56 pm April 23, 2014 #

  38. They should be using a ‘user tax’. You use, you pay. I don’t use transit and don’t agree with having to pay for someone else’s transportation. It’s a major reason why I am moving to another state after living here my whole life. Government needs to become more efficient. Period.

    Comment by michael — 3:58 pm April 23, 2014 #

  39. This is sounding like “ready…. Fire…. Aim…” to me. Don’t we want Metro to **first** finalize what routes are being cut and reduced **before** we have a new ballot measure? For crying out loud, lets wait a few weeks to give Metro a chance to put some final numbers together before we get another ballot measure out. Yes, we’ve had a preliminary report of service cuts, but that has already been revised and will be revised further according the the metro website. It makes absolutely zero sense to me to initiate a new ballot measure until we have figured out where we stand.
    http://metro.kingcounty.gov/am/future/index.html

    Comment by skeeter — 4:08 pm April 23, 2014 #

  40. Keep voting no on transit and then keep complaining about having to sit in traffic, that makes perfect sense..

    Comment by Think — 4:12 pm April 23, 2014 #

  41. User fee- start charging at least close to what it actually costs to ride the bus.(discounts for students & low income)Smarter management of resources- why do we not insist on accountability? While I may vote yes on some new proposal-I will NEVER vote to raise property taxes to fund transit.

    Comment by Gene — 4:19 pm April 23, 2014 #

  42. I’d vote yes if there was binding commitment not to ask for any more tax dollars got the next 10 years. Otherwise Metro will be back in 18 months asking for more because of another crises.

    Comment by wsguy — 4:24 pm April 23, 2014 #

  43. The cost of riding metro now is about free, just get on in back or tell the driver you are not going to pay – I have witnessed both several times

    Comment by wsguy — 4:26 pm April 23, 2014 #

  44. For everyone claiming “this will fail”, you may be unaware since it’s just come out: Seattle in-city overwhelmingly APPROVED Proposition 1. It was only defeated by the suburbs and rural areas. Their opinions are of no value in THIS debate.
    .
    https://www.facebook.com/westseattletc/photos/a.311684108971867.1073741827.311682058972072/399258463547764
    .
    There are the results. The WSTC only just got it’s hands on that data via Facebook. City of Seattle residents, for what it’s worth, APPROVED Proposition 1, on a regressive car tab tax, in a poorly timed off election in April. What will happen in a heated November election with vastly greater turnout?

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 4:26 pm April 23, 2014 #

  45. @WSB,
    “ORCA is *not* a discount card…”
    Well, maybe not strictly a discount card, but (without an ORCA card) if you transfer between Metro and Link Light Rail or ST bus you will have to pay FULL FARES for BOTH, instead of a simple transfer, plus paying any incremental fare difference. IOW, no transfers between Metro and ST.
    So, a trip from WS to South Seattle, for example, could double in price w/o the ORCA card.
    On second thought, I WOULD call it a discount card.

    Comment by bolo — 4:33 pm April 23, 2014 #

  46. Thanks, Joe. First-night breakout isn’t necessarily how it’ll turn out – we have just posted a new update with today’s results, which included a few more “yes” votes than no in the new batch – but I note that the 34th District, which means West Seattle (with White Center & Vashon, mostly), was close to evenly split in those first-night ballots.
    .
    If you don’t use FB, p.s., the chart Joe is pointing to is here, on the county website:
    .
    http://your.kingcounty.gov/elections/2014/apr-special/results/election-night-abstract.pdf

    Comment by WSB — 4:37 pm April 23, 2014 #

  47. Just remember, Joe: There was no official opposition to Prop 1 – and you still lost. I wonder how much Dow/Metro spent on Prop 1… Anyhow, You’ll have vocal, and well-funded opposition for your November initiative. We’ll have a lot of property owners like myself who’ll fight the new initiative – and I’ll donate to any opposition handsomely. Many property owners will vehemently oppose that initiative.
    -
    Your facebook link is to a post by the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, Joe? Hardly verified, and not at all objective.

    Comment by ScubaFrog — 4:44 pm April 23, 2014 #

  48. By the way, does anyone have a link to information about who funded opposition to Prop 1? Thanks!

    Comment by Ebisu — 4:47 pm April 23, 2014 #

  49. Scuba, as I noted a few comments ago, what the WSTC link goes to is A COUNTY DOCUMENT. Exact same document. They took a screen grab, but this is exactly what it is (and I will be adding it somewhere):
    .
    http://your.kingcounty.gov/elections/2014/apr-special/results/election-night-abstract.pdf
    .
    Yes, that IS verified and objective. It is a breakout of first-night votes by Legislative District, from the county Elections Department.

    Comment by WSB — 4:50 pm April 23, 2014 #

  50. Perhaps, WSB. Let’s not forget about journalistic integrity though – it’s also worth nothing that there was no opposition to Prop 1. And it still lost. Because it sounds like you’re trying to spin the story. Again: Prop 1 lost.

    Comment by ScubaFrog — 4:54 pm April 23, 2014 #

  51. Ebisu, here’s a link to an article that names a few of the many I saw in another article I’m trying to refind for you.

    http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/2014/04/15/republicans-vs-republicans-on-metro-rescue-plan/

    Comment by wakeflood — 4:56 pm April 23, 2014 #

  52. well that didn’t take long….

    .
    its going to be a relentless wave of initiatives and votes etc until metro gets their way.
    .

    these ballots and the voting process isn’t cheap, they need to combine this mess with other things and not waste even more money on stand alone initiatives.

    Comment by flimflam — 4:59 pm April 23, 2014 #

  53. It lost because of county and suburb and other city voters. Their opinions are of less than zero value or authority on this November election. As for in-city in November, we’ll see. I’m a homeowner who is happy to pay another $70-$80 to save Metro and will happily do my civic duty there.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 5:03 pm April 23, 2014 #

  54. Yes, it lost, as a King County-wide measure voted on in King County. Joe’s point is that the Seattle voters, in the breakdown so far, approved it, and he is applying that information to the emergence (reported in this story) of a Seattle-only measure. Three Seattle legislative districts are part non-city suburb so the chart from the county can’t be distilled into a pure “Seattle did this, non-Seattle did that.” I’m adding the breakout above. Had to consult some maps.

    Comment by WSB — 5:03 pm April 23, 2014 #

  55. My biggest problem with this whole thing has been that I recall the $20 “car tab fee” that was implemented a couple years ago being marketed as an emergency “fix” to keep metro afloat. I will be the first to suggest that I may be imagaremembering it that way, do please set me straight if that isn’t the case.

    I can see why these “fees” get people wound up, because they are really taxes, and calling them fees instead is a weak attempt at sleight of hand that just insults people.

    That said, what I don’t understand and haven’t seen explained, is if the $20 was an emergency fix, why do they now think they need $60?

    And failing at getting the new car tax implemented, we’re going to go take the same amount via property tax?

    When do we start talking about propositions that address the waste instead of just pumping money into an agency that squanders an ever increasing amount of it?

    Comment by rob — 5:39 pm April 23, 2014 #

  56. As a property owner, I will happily pay to fund services, even if I rarely use them. That’s part of living in a society. (I use Metro at least 10 times a week, but even if I didn’t, 44 dollars a year on my tax bill is worth someone being able to get to work.)

    Comment by JRR — 5:44 pm April 23, 2014 #

  57. If we want to encourage transit, we need to discourage driving. Although there are tons of hidden costs, driving is “free” whereas riding the bus requires me to pay out of pocket. Add tolls to all the main roads to unhide some of the costs of driving and then see how transit fares. I bet a ton of people would start taking the bus if they have to pay just as much or more to drive. That would cut congestion, cut emissions, and make the users pay for their use, both cars and transit, which is a common theme in this discussion. I’m all for helping out those in need but transit subsidies go to the Microsoft guy just as much as the poor student. Tons of policy problems are results of hidden costs; make the actual costs known and see economics magically fix things. A little tidying up after that will fix the rest.

    Comment by BillyD — 6:05 pm April 23, 2014 #

  58. Why do transit supervisors make over $100,000 a year? Why isn’t the union stepping up and offering to restructure their contract?

    Comment by clib — 6:14 pm April 23, 2014 #

  59. Well, the No voters just need to be prepared. Just like with the tunnel, they’ll keep throwing crap at the wall and pray not enough show up to clean it.

    Comment by Civik — 6:20 pm April 23, 2014 #

  60. I couldn’t agree more with this earlier comment: “How about we make developers who build without parking facilities include a minimum of one bus pass per unit in the cost of rent! All of this development and no contribution to the infrastructure. Makes no sense to me.” The Seattle Dept. of Planning and Development has supported unregulated higher density, massive apartment complexes in Ballard, Micro-housing in all urban villages, all without parking. These developer don’t pay a dime for the major burdens that their developments will place upon the already old and obsolete city infrastructure; sewage treatment, parks, libraries, road maintenance, transit, neighborhood impacts, etc. These developers rely upon ignorant voters to tax themselves to support these developments. I fully support maintaining transit services and even increasing services in urban villages; however, I will never support regressive sales tax measures and flat rate car tab fees that continue to allow developers to pass on their development impacts onto existing residents. I have one car, don’t commute and I cannot support paying $60 so that a developer can claim that his proposed micro-housing tenants won’t have any cars. Portland found out that the number of renters in apartments and micro-housing without onsite parking greatly exceeded what the developers claimed. Portland has adjusted the city’s development and parking codes to reflect reality and not developer claims that can only be supported by their desire for excessive profits.

    Comment by Bruce Meyers — 6:42 pm April 23, 2014 #

  61. We can’t keep paying more property taxes. 30 years ago our property taxes were under $400…yes $400 ..a year. Now they are around $4000. Our income has not kept up, it has not increased 10 fold.I do not mind paying to help people ride the bus but frankly they are getting a great deal. Bus riders need to pay more and Metro needs to get it’s financial act together. Bicycles that ride into downtown to work need to help pay .I have had it with everything always being put on the people that own homes. If you rent them out you can make it up in rent, if you live there as your only home you are being priced right out of Seattle.

    It would seem that the no voters on the tunnel were right. A boondoggle. Time to stop that project and move on to something that will actually work. Like the viaduct has all these years..

    Comment by uhoh — 6:55 pm April 23, 2014 #

  62. @dlb: why do transit supervisors make over 100k? I ask you: why shouldn’t they? How, exactly, do you think they are overpaid? It’s called the middle class. Ask your parents — they’ll tell you all about it. Sorry you missed the boat, but that doesn’t mean we all must drown in your sorrow.

    Comment by Ebisu — 8:16 pm April 23, 2014 #

  63. MFTE is a problem. No way will I support a property tax increase to support Metro as long as MFTE exists. If you don’t understand this then you really shouldn’t be voting.

    Comment by NO WAY — 8:17 pm April 23, 2014 #

  64. someone posted this thought earlier, maybe in a different thread, but if this issue is important to you, by all means put your money where your mouth is and mail (at least) $60 to metro, immediately!

    Comment by flimflam — 8:22 pm April 23, 2014 #

  65. RE: “Metro has already cut/saved $798″
    .
    No. That $798M figure includes raiding the capital funds, raising fares, deferring service, and lots of other things that aren’t cuts or savings. The actual cuts are much smaller.
    .
    RE: “There is no Orca discount”
    .
    Technically true. But the is a PugetPass which entitles card holders to unlimited rides on Metro and is priced for about 18 days of round trips. For someone who rides Metro to/from work every day, this amounts to a 20 – 30% discount. When people talk about “rich corporations getting bus subsidies” I think this is what they are referring to.

    I support a small tax increase to keep bus service, but claiming Metro has made big cuts just isn’t true.

    Comment by sna — 9:11 pm April 23, 2014 #

  66. I would love to see a *significant* portion of metro funding tied to multifamily development in some rational way where more units = more bus funds.
    .
    Build near a transit hub so you are required to provide parking? Great! You are instead required to fund transit.

    Comment by MellyMel — 9:19 pm April 23, 2014 #

  67. Forget property taxes, too many more coming up. How about a similar tax, just like they do for property taxes per $1000 assessed value, just on cars. You own a $2000 car u pay x. You own 20,000 car you pay 10x, you own $200,000 car you pay 100x

    Comment by taxed out — 10:27 pm April 23, 2014 #

  68. The owners of a $2000 car need it to make their pay, an owner of a $200,000 car need it to play.

    Comment by taxed out — 10:44 pm April 23, 2014 #

  69. Will you be required to have a Seattle ID to ride in city proving you are a tax paying resident and only be able to ride on westbound Roxbury and not on east bound since technically that’s not in Seattle city limits? My 9 year old grand daughter could do a better job than this. But we’ll fix that soon as I get her signed up for government graft 101 in the 4th grade.

    Comment by Rick — 12:15 am April 24, 2014 #

  70. Gene:
    .
    User fee- start charging at least close to what it actually costs to ride the bus.
    .
    sure thing. just as soon as car drivers start paying close to what it costs to build and maintain roads.

    Comment by redblack — 5:41 am April 24, 2014 #

  71. IPonder (Apr 23, 2:49 PM), there are important details that make up the substance of this argument, but you’ve distilled the essence. Thank you for your satirical service, sir or madam!

    Comment by Jake — 9:31 am April 24, 2014 #

  72. Bus riders need to pay more and Metro needs to get it’s financial act together. Bicycles that ride into downtown to work need to help pay .
    .
    Sounds like you think bus riders and bicyclists don’t pay property taxes, uhoh.

    Comment by datamuse — 10:08 am April 24, 2014 #

  73. How many times have you seen Metro buses at 2AM with only one or two people onboard? Is that an efficient use of our resources?

    Comment by KR — 11:15 am April 24, 2014 #

  74. I will reluctantly pay in whatever form I need to to so that we have a viable transit system. Reliable, fast mass transit is part of having a vital economy that works for everyone.
    .
    I understand that for some people with arrested emotional development, it’s hard to see the indirect benefits of public services that you personally don’t use. But mass transit provides car drivers a DIRECT benefit: fewer cars on the road and less traffic. This isn’t ideology or politics: it’s logic and self-interest. So why should you not pay for this benefit? Are you entitled to it because you’re a special snowflake who gives more and works harder than everyone else?

    Comment by Kayleigh — 11:28 am April 24, 2014 #

  75. “I’m a homeowner who is happy to pay another $70-$80 to save Metro and will happily do my civic duty there.”

    How about we only ask homeowners to pay another $50 and the rest comes from raising the bus fares? I will vote for that. I will not vote for any measure that doesn’t include some fare increase.

    Comment by junctionite — 11:34 am April 24, 2014 #

  76. It seems many of the people who voted no did so because they did not research the facts. Here is yet another example.
    .
    junctionite says: “I will not vote for any measure that doesn’t include some fare increase.”. Fares have been increased regularly over the last few years, and will go up again in Mar 2014. So now you can vote yes on the next funding bill.

    Comment by moose2 — 1:02 pm April 24, 2014 #

  77. Has anyone looked at Metro salaries? It’s online and shocking. Past tax raises and fees have gone to pay raises. What makes everyone believe this time will be different if they raise property taxes?

    Comment by Jim — 1:04 pm April 24, 2014 #

  78. NO. How about we make the fricken Seahawks or starbucks pay more taxes. Car tab and property taxes increased hit the poor the hardest. how about taxing Amazon, or microsoft more instead.

    Comment by sasha — 2:30 pm April 24, 2014 #

  79. Why the bad vibes towards Orca cards?

    If you do see it as a “discount card” then pony up the $5 and get one of your own.

    If you choose not to and just point out the cost savings as ridiculous (which is what it sounds like is happening), then by your own logic you are just being fiscally irresponsible.

    Comment by Elizagrace — 3:16 pm April 24, 2014 #

  80. Orca cards are a good thing–they eliminate fumbling for money, which means the buses leave quicker and can keep to their schedules better which helps everyone who rides the buses.

    Comment by West Seattle since 1979 — 4:25 pm April 24, 2014 #

  81. Since it appears that Seattle residents (generally speaking) only care about Seattle in this conversation . . . why doesn’t Seattle start its own service and tax its residents accordingly and then they can’t blame other voters who don’t want to vote for something that they can never benefit from?

    Comment by R Mann — 6:08 pm April 24, 2014 #

  82. Could anyone give a breakdown of how much the new initiative would cost the average Seattle homeowner?

    Comment by E — 7:41 am April 26, 2014 #

  83. E, it’s in the news release. 22 cents on $1,000 valuation. If your residence is worth $300,000, that’s $66. If your house is worth $400,000, that’s $88. And so on. If you don’t know what the county is valuing your house at these days, you can look it up any time with the King County Parcel Viewer: http://www.kingcounty.gov/operations/GIS/PropResearch/ParcelViewer.aspx

    Comment by WSB — 7:54 am April 26, 2014 #

  84. So people with more expensive homes somehow benefit more from mass transit, and therefor should pay more to support it? I’ll say the forbidden words that haven’t yet come up: Washington needs a progressive state income tax. If everyone benefits (directly OR indirectly), than everyone pays. Let the flaming begin. I can hear eastern WA screaming already. . .

    Comment by Idontgetit — 8:56 am April 26, 2014 #

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