Mayor’s plan to avoid Metro cuts in Seattle: Vote on car-tab fee and sales tax

May 13, 2014 at 9:59 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 92 Comments

9:59 AM: “This is a crisis and we’re responding to the crisis,” is how Mayor Ed Murray described the proposal he’s just made public about how to raise money in Seattle to keep Metro Transit from cutting Seattle service:

$60 car-tab fee plus 0.01% sales tax increase is the same mix that comprised Proposition 1, which, while rejected countywide, was approved by a strong majority of Seattle voters, as was mentioned repeatedly during the briefing just concluded. Here is a one-pager from the mayor’s office, breaking down the new proposal:

During the briefing at City Hall, the mayor was flanked by West Seattleites – County Executive Dow Constantine (whose Monday announcement paved the way for this) and City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen – and surrounded by more than a dozen other local political, community, and business leaders. Rasmussen explained that this will be considered as a “transportation benefit district,” as was Prop 1. It’s expected to be on the November ballot.

Murray described the tax proposal as a temporary solution. How temporary? he was asked: “They will last as long as there is no other source.”

How will it be ensured that Seattle dollars stay in Seattle? The mayor said, “There will be a ‘no supplant’ clause,” which will require that the county does not route the money elsewhere. Constantine followed up by declaring: “The answer is because, that’s the deal.” Added detail from the one-pager above:

Under this plan, King County Metro would collaborate with the City of Seattle to finalize use of funds and recognize the City’s authority to allocate funds, while the City recognizes the need to honor Metro’s Service Guidelines with flexibility to address specific demands.

And potentially of high interest here in West Seattle, where development projects are being approved without parking because of their proximity to transit that might or might not be available into the future, the mayor said he would create a new area of SDOT focused on transit as it relates to increasing density in the city.

As noted previously, if you have questions about this or other Seattle transportation/transit issues, you have a great chance to get answers by being at tonight’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting, 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way).

ADDED 10:54 AM: The official news release is here. It does not include details of the SDOT/transit/development point that the mayor mentioned, so we are following up with his staff to get details on that.

92 Comments

  1. Great! Another tax that hurts the poor.
    That was easy.

    Comment by steve — 10:27 am May 13, 2014 #

  2. I have seen how this works. So they start collecting the money, they will not stop collecting the dollars. When it comes to the no supplant clause they will just take the dollars that were suppose to come to Seattle and route them to some new bus bulbs or some other project. Everyone who owns a car in Seattle will pay $60 for car tabs for a long time even if there is a solution from Oly. I lived in CA when they allowed the lotto for “the children”, guess what the legislature did, immediately started diverting dollars away from schools as they were replaced by the lottery dollars. Unfortunately this will pass. Glad I’m moving next year.

    Comment by Dumb Guy — 10:36 am May 13, 2014 #

  3. Didn’t we JUST do this? The definition of insanity I tells ya! I’m voting no for this one too.

    Comment by jns — 10:36 am May 13, 2014 #

  4. When an initiative is voted down, those in positions of authority need to respect the vote. Rather than increase taxes, the authorities need to effectively manage their budgets. Its a tax that hurts everyone. Please understand that I don’t want bus service cut, as it is very important to riders, drivers, and bikers. Rather just manage the system like a professional.

    Comment by stop the madness — 10:37 am May 13, 2014 #

  5. Steve,

    How should we fund critical needs like transit? Property tax? An income tax? A graduated income tax that would not tax individuals that are considered to be ‘the poor’ at all?

    Cuts in transit service also hurt those that rely on the bus, including those that are poor and don’t own a car – relying on Metro for their transportation needs.

    Comment by James — 10:40 am May 13, 2014 #

  6. The regional connections give me pause, we are effectively subsidizing service for those that voted no in the first place out in the suburbs. On the other hand, those that work in the city limits contribute to our economy. I’m a little torn with this part of the proposal.

    Comment by trickycoolj — 10:44 am May 13, 2014 #

  7. Tax the USER, not the auto owner. Stop attacking my freedom and success (afford to drive my car!). We gotta get us some real leadership Seattle. Monorail, light rail, not buses…GROW UP! Oh wait, let’s dig (not) another tunnel.

    I’ll go get the Black Pearl.

    Comment by jackspara — 10:48 am May 13, 2014 #

  8. All involved have acknowledged that this is a regressive tax. The problem with a property tax seems to be that the city is about to max out by asking for more levies approaching the “lid” – Mayor Murray offered a particularly intense defense of wanting to keep some room for a tax hike to fund universal preschool (with other looming levies including the Park District). I’ll add the video from this morning’s event once Seattle Channel turns it around.
    .
    To the “respect the vote” – as noted in our story, local leaders contend that is exactly what they are doing, because (as we also had reported last week) when the votes were all counted, inside city limits, more than 60 percent of voters supported Proposition 1. I’ll add the link here in a sec which included the map you can use to see exactly which areas voted no and which voted yes. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:50 am May 13, 2014 #

  9. Remember when I voted no the first time? So do I! I’m with @stopthemadness on this one.

    Comment by Still No — 11:13 am May 13, 2014 #

  10. shoot, the way taxes keep going up and new levies keep happening, I’ll never be able to afford a smartphone and associated smart phone plan… yes, not really related but it’s so frustratingly expensive to live here, i just can’t keep up. (between the COL, taxes, and expensive/ non-existent childcare) maybe it is time to consider a move to another part of the country. But if we stay, I hope the city and county continue to function for those of us without smartphones and don’t move to only mobile services/ schedules.

    (for the record, I didn’t vote at all. King County didn’t like my signature (3rd time in the last 3 elections, Wth??) and I lost the mail that they sent asking me to sign again)

    Comment by sam-c — 11:14 am May 13, 2014 #

  11. @jackspara
    Just because someone rides the bus, doesn’t mean they can’t afford a car. I have my car and I do use it on the weekends. The bus allows me to commute more efficiently without the wear and tear on my vehicle and it also makes me save about $12 a day in parking. If you can afford a car and drive it everyday you wouldn’t even notice this tax increase at all. I’ll be sure to wave to you from the bus while you’re stuck in traffic and I bypass you in the Bus only lane.
    .
    A lot of the commenters here and on other news forums seem to think that only poor people ride t he bus. They do, along with all of the business professionals that work downtown. Every bus I take home from work is packed to the gills and is standing room only.

    Comment by Wes C. Addle — 11:15 am May 13, 2014 #

  12. The politicians in this state are the exact reason I’m leaving after having spent my whole life in this city. Rather than fix the problem by cutting spending and increasing efficiency, more taxes is the answer?? I think not! Very sad state of affairs. Can’t just blame the politicians though, the people that voted for these inefficient people should share the blame.

    Comment by Michael — 11:21 am May 13, 2014 #

  13. Michael – isn’t the budget gap $70M? I can’t imagine how Metro is going to cut spending and increase efficiency to the tune of 70m.

    I welcome the audit – we need it public knowledge how much public transportation costs, then we can have a serious conversation about whether or not we really want it, or if we just want window dressing.

    Comment by B — 11:38 am May 13, 2014 #

  14. @B, the Mayor is addressing only Metro services within Seattle and some feeder routes from other KC entities. He’s not trying to support all of Metro services in KC.

    Comment by RayK — 11:52 am May 13, 2014 #

  15. They need to hurry up with this Seattle-only tax so that enough time passes before they come back asking for a Seattle-only tax to cover the costs of the minimum wage increase.

    Is anybody thinking about whether anybody other than high-income earners will be able to live in Seattle in the future? Is that the kind of city the politicians want?

    Comment by Jim — 11:54 am May 13, 2014 #

  16. Vote yes!!

    Comment by Sittingbird — 11:58 am May 13, 2014 #

  17. The city overall supported the car tab tax proposal, so why shouldn’t we have another crack at it without the suburban types who voted it down, even though they were getting the heaviest subsidies.
    I didn’t really like the idea of the property tax funding option. From my perspective, even drivers of single occupancy vehicles benefit by getting more people onto mass transit, so it makes sense to use the car tabs to support buses and trains.
    And as for improving the efficiency of mass transit, I totally get that and expect leaders to continue efforts in this direction. But I don’t think they can cut themselves to a balanced approach without massive route cuts.

    Comment by onion — 12:03 pm May 13, 2014 #

  18. @JackSpara -
    Aren’t auto owners big users of roads? Don’t we have a huge backlog of bridge and road maintenance in this state? When auto owners start paying the true costs of using the roads, then you can start complaining about bus riders. In the meantime, I’m subsidizing your auto use, so pipe down.

    Comment by Peri — 12:11 pm May 13, 2014 #

  19. @wes c addie – please pay attention to the detail…USER Tax. If you like sitting on the bus, pay for it. I don’t so I don’t need to pay for it. I’d sit on a Monorail or Light rail…let’s really get stuff off the streets…oh wait, that’s the best of both worlds…

    ahoy mate!

    Comment by jackspara — 12:13 pm May 13, 2014 #

  20. jackspara – You’ve got to be kidding me?! Your message: “if I don’t use it, I shouldn’t pay for it”? So when the fire department comes to your house, you want a personal bill? Why should I pay for Medic 1 when you have your heart attack? You go to a particular park I don’t go to? Why should I pay for your pleasure at that park? You drive on certain roads I don’t use? Why should I pay for your roads? Why are you attacking my success by making me pay for the government services I don’t need? Selfish, selfish, selfish.

    Of course, the point I make is that your comment is moronic. Sorry for the harsh word, but it is what it is.

    We’re all in this together. Transit is a key to our economic vitality. We ALL need to pay for it. And I say that as one of those who never rides the bus and makes a good income and doesn’t mind paying more in taxes for the common good.

    Comment by wscommuter — 12:28 pm May 13, 2014 #

  21. For all of you advocating a “Use” tax for bus riders. OK, I counter with making the West Seattle Bridge/Viaduct a toll road… a “Use” tax on drivers.

    Comment by twobottles — 12:32 pm May 13, 2014 #

  22. Vote NO Seattle to increased taxes/car tabs. Metro can raise fares and enforce that all passengers pay the the fares. Murray, City Council, Metro need to start using their brains for business not politics.

    Comment by Seattlite — 12:40 pm May 13, 2014 #

  23. @jackspara
    I agree with you 100% on any type of rail transit. When I lived in the Arbor Heights area I would drive to the Tukwila park & ride to take the Sounder in to work, it saved me about an hour a day commuting vs. taking the 21 which was right in front of house.
    .
    I just think a user based tax will lead us down a slippery slope. What if someone suggested a user tax for schools? If you don’t have kids in school, then you don’t pay any taxes towards school.
    .
    I do think this audit is necessary so we the people can so if Metro is really being reckless in spending.

    Comment by Wes C. Addle — 12:42 pm May 13, 2014 #

  24. Question – this is a Seattle initiative for Seattle residents. What about those of us who live in Unincorporated KC with Seattle address – this won’t affect us at time of car registration correct?

    Just wondering if this will end up affecting me like the Seattle City Light rate increases (which the Seattle City Council, which I don’t get to vote for/against, gets to approve but affects me because I have Seattle City Light).

    I would have been all for a property tax increase with no waivers for anyone, interesting that Seattle didn’t go that route.

    Comment by Courtney — 12:44 pm May 13, 2014 #

  25. Why don’t you all really come up with something that makes sense. Car tabs car tabs car tabs — I’d support that for one vehicle per registered driver — as it is now those tab fees are added onto boat trailers, recreational trailers, extra utility vehicles that are used seldom — do not know about motorcycles — just plain theft beyond one vehicle per registered driver.– raise the bus fares and charge a license fee – AND ENFORCE IT — on the bicyclists — and get a fleet of cheaper non articulated buses for all the mid day and evening runs taht never have more than 6-8 people on them.

    Comment by Bill — 12:50 pm May 13, 2014 #

  26. Compared to Prop 1, we would be paying more to Metro and subsidizing routes to/from the suburbs? What about the backlog of road maintenance that we so desperately need funding for (or so we were told)?

    Comment by Confused — 12:55 pm May 13, 2014 #

  27. Sad to see the mayor go after car tabs again. The tax pits busses against cars. It reminds me a bit of McGinn’s creation of bike lanes at the expense of road capacity. Truth be told, I want to fund buses. Buses make my commute better; however, I refuse to settle for a sub par taxing strategy.

    Comment by Paul — 12:57 pm May 13, 2014 #

  28. NO to regressive taxes that hurt working poor
    ~
    only part of Prop 1 that was good; low-income fare and low income car tab rebate

    Comment by Diane — 1:05 pm May 13, 2014 #

  29. So, this plan has us 1) already subsidizing “low income” people with fares that do not cover more than 25% of costs, but then they also want to spend $2 million subsidizing “low income” people for the tab fees as well.

    Stop.

    If you are going to have a tax/fare/whatever, have it apply equally. We all are supposedly equal, but this just keeps inequality.

    A “low income” car uses as much of the road as a “high income” car. Charge EVERYONE the same.

    Comment by Ray — 1:09 pm May 13, 2014 #

  30. @courtney — your “Seattle” address is just for mail routing. Unless you voted for Mayor Ed Murray or Mayor Mike McGinn and our City Council members, this has no direct impact on you financially.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 1:20 pm May 13, 2014 #

  31. @confused we need to get some clarification tonight but it sounds like this is the Prop 1 vote but ONLY the bus part and ONLY in the city.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 1:21 pm May 13, 2014 #

  32. The problem I still have is that there is no logical connection between how many cars someone owns and what is a “fair” contribution to the transit system. Why is it that whenever a program needs funding agencies look to tax car owners or smokers?

    On this very West Seattle Blog, we can see lots of redevelopment underway in West Seattle – how much do developers contribute to transit funding through impact fees?

    Impact fees, property tax, and sales tax seem more fair, with low-income rebates offered for those who are disadvantaged.

    Comment by BT — 1:22 pm May 13, 2014 #

  33. @Wes C. Addle – I’ll be sure to wave right back at’cha when my car catches up with your bus when it has to merge back in to normal traffic.

    Comment by schwaggy — 1:23 pm May 13, 2014 #

  34. Mommy can i have a candy bar? No, son you can’t have a candy bar….you did not eat your veggies. Son runs to Daddy…..Daddy can I have a candy bar? Well son didn’t Mommy just tell you NO?

    Comment by joel — 1:33 pm May 13, 2014 #

  35. oh and why did the Mayor and the entire 6 figure paid staff have a press conference for this news? why not put out on Facebook or Twitter…..”Hey Seattle residents remember Prop 1 that just failed…well get ready for round #2. okay gotta get back to work now”…..how many thousands did that press conference cost?

    Comment by joel — 1:36 pm May 13, 2014 #

  36. Sorry Ed, a regressive tax is a regressive tax no matter what you use it for. There are no mitigating circumstances in Webster’s. This sort of thing is a big reason why Mike McScwhinn isn’t mayor anymore. Would it be too much to ask for a local politician who understands the difference between MASS transit and RAPID transit, that making it easier for people to get around without them…the way they do in other “world class cities”…is the preferable way toward the laudable goal of “getting people out of their cars”, as opposed to the McSchwinn (and now apparently Murray) way of “making it too expensive for poor folks to drive”? That the owner of a moped would pay the same license fee as the owner of a $3 million Bugatti is asinine, and while these sort of laws have little effect on “successful” folks who get paid parking spaces downtown and off-duty police officers to help them cut into traffic, many people who work for a living use motor vehicles to do it. When’s the last time you saw someone on the bus with a table saw?

    Comment by Fiwa Jcbbb — 1:47 pm May 13, 2014 #

  37. If only this meant the C line would run on time

    Comment by Colleen — 1:48 pm May 13, 2014 #

  38. Yes, Mommy told them no. Mommy lives in Auburn. Daddy lives in Seattle and said yes the first time but was shouted down by Mommy, so he is now trying to offer Junior the candy bar out of Mommy’s sight. Or something like that.
    .
    Anyway, if you are serious about thinking the news conference cost some change: It was in the mayor’s conference room, which means his staff walked a couple steps over and the councilpeople went up a few floors. Dow C would have had to walk a few blocks south – he’s in the Chinook Building, where he had his news conference yesterday. Now, the people of Shoreline might have cause to get cranky about their deputy mayor coming all the way down here to be part of it. I didn’t hear any other municipalities mentioned but might have missed one. Video’s not up yet or I’d check.
    .
    Speaking of visuals, here’s the story from last week with the map of who voted yes and who voted no (you can zoom all the way in to click per precinct) on Prop 1. http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/election-2014-final-prop-1-results-looking-ahead-to-i-118/
    .
    The most pro-Prop 1 precinct in WS appears to have been SEA 34-1466 in The Junction at 76 percent yes. The most anti-Prop 1 precinct appears to have been SEA 34-1543 in The Arroyos, 62.3% no.
    .
    Added … looking a little further south, the suburban “no” vote can be found closer than Auburn/Renton/Kent. Boulevard Park, for example, really hated Prop 1. BUR 33-1189 went 80.3 percent no.

    Comment by WSB — 2:03 pm May 13, 2014 #

  39. If your going to balance this out, you have raise the fees, cut the routes that are not used enough, increase service where it is needed, raise the sales tax but not raise the car tab to $60. With that it should be balanced and everyone contributes. I don’t think it is fair the auto have to pay more and there is no raise in the fares.

    Comment by chris — 2:22 pm May 13, 2014 #

  40. James-make it a USER FEE-have a fare that truly represents the cost. At least start there for heavens sake! Then look at buss that run empty-or near empty-overnight etc. & cut those first. I am tired of the threat tactics-like cutting the 21-why would anyone in their right mind cut that route?
    Also wondering–isn’t there a movement that wants to raise property taxes to fund transit? If that happens & also Seattle votes yes on a hike in sales tax & car tab fees-would that hit us too?

    Comment by Gene — 2:25 pm May 13, 2014 #

  41. The top three characteristics of addictive behavior:

    1. The person becomes obsessed (constantly thinks of) the object, activity, or substance.

    2. They will seek it out, or engage in the behavior even though it is causing harm (physical problems, poor work or study performance, problems with friends, family, fellow workers).

    3. The person will compulsively engage in the activity, that is, do the activity over and over even if he/she does not want to and find it difficult to stop.

    Sound familiar?

    Comment by DTK — 2:26 pm May 13, 2014 #

  42. No taxes to support Metro.
    Raise the Fares!

    $0.50 per year for 4 consecutive years. That will support their escalating expenses through 2020.

    Comment by Marc — 2:43 pm May 13, 2014 #

  43. Gene, we mentioned this a couple times – they suspended their campaign after the mayor said he had a plan and it didn’t involve property tax.

    Comment by WSB — 2:54 pm May 13, 2014 #

  44. WSB…sure it cost money for the news conference. let’s not forget the current Mayor’s staff is making 30-50% higher wages than the previous Mayor’s staff….if money is so tight why not keep wages the same and put the extra money towards transit? also…when the Governor took office he commented the economy was in much better shape now and he wanted to give teachers a raise. So is the state economy doing well but the Seattle economy is doing poorly?……look at all the growth in Seattle..whether that is high rises in West Seattle or condos/business buildings downtown…there are more people working and living in Seattle. that means more sales tax revenue,more B&O tax, more car tax tabs and the 9 misc fees added to car tabs, more property taxes, et…….there is more government revenue created with more people living and working in Seattle yet they have no money to do anything. perhaps use that money more wisely?

    Comment by joel — 3:21 pm May 13, 2014 #

  45. even if this passes, Metro will be demanding more money in 2 years, GUARANTEED. these fools don’t know how to operate a sustainable business. it’s like a bunch of college kids asking mom+dad for help because they keep blowing the rent money on beer

    Comment by zackpanic — 3:57 pm May 13, 2014 #

  46. Now I understand why most of my co-workers live an hour or more away and have huge properties in rural places. They don’t want to pay for any more of City of Seattle BS! I voted no to this and will do so again. I only regret that I can’t easily sell my house inside the city limits to get away from you crazies! No, I do not want to pay for buses I will not ride. Don’t tell me it keeps other cars off the road, it might, but I commute at 3:00am. There’s nobody out but truckers, cops and a few other working stiffs who know how to keep-right except to pass. NO buses to my work at that hour. Years ago I voted yes to increased fuel tax because that will cost me proportionate to my road use which is fair. I am also saddened to have supported this Mayor (few options this last round) however the previous one didn’t to us motorists any favors either.

    Comment by Angry — 4:00 pm May 13, 2014 #

  47. I don’t remember where I heard it in the last few years, but doesn’t Seattle already have the issue of having it’s cost of living being 23% higher then the national average? Many people(myself included) have a hard enough time affording basic necessities due to the insane prices in Seattle, a sales tax would make this even worse. Especially if you consider it seems those who handle disability etc go by standards used throughout the us not taking into account the cost of living here.(From what has been told to me/I’ve observed and dealt with). 15 years ago I never wanted to leave Seattle, as things go on, I don’t want to stay, or even if I did I feel like I’m being forced out, and obviously will be if costs keep going up…

    Comment by Erithan — 4:01 pm May 13, 2014 #

  48. Gene,

    If user fees that represent the cost are good for transit, why aren’t we using them in other areas? People who require police or fire department responses should have the total costs allocated to them in user fees so the rest of u ‘non- users’ don’t have to pay that burden? Toll roads to represent the cost of building and maintaining roads not covered by gas taxes? Park usage fees to take a walk through a public park?

    People who work and pay social security taxes for as little as 5 years can have survivor benefits for their dependent children under 18 in an attempt to help provide for those children. Should we instead move to a 401K style system so that those people get nothing more than the exact amount they put in plus appreciation/income?

    Where does the rugged individualism end?

    Comment by James — 4:14 pm May 13, 2014 #

  49. This is a GENIUS idea. I’m all for it, if Seattle tax payers are going to foot the bill for Seattle transit then I expect IDs to be checked at the bus doors and only Seattle residents allowed on board.
    I voted yes on the previous proposition as the costs were spread across all residents of King County. That seemed fair. This proposition gets a big NO from me.
    The truth is all residents of King County benefit from robust transit solutions in Seattle. Further all residents of the State of WA benefit from Seattle transit. Transit solutions support the economy by moving employees to work, reducing congestion to move goods and services, supporting the Port of Seattle activities, etc. The economy in Seattle, and the enormous tax base it represents, disproportionately supports all areas of WA State.
    Bottom line is the State legislature needs to come up with the funds. Otherwise I am all for a proposition that will allocate ALL tax revenues to the City of Seattle in proportion to our population.

    I could not quickly find data for Seattle’s contribution to the State, but did find this (based on 2008 stats)

    “How big is this disparity? According to 2008 budget figures compiled by the state’s Office of Financial Management at the request of Representatives Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle) and Glenn Anderson (R-Fall City), King County, with roughly 29 percent of the state population, produced 42 percent of state tax revenues, yet it received back less than 26 percent of state benefits. That’s a return of only 62 cents on the dollar for our state’s Democratic stronghold.

    Compare that to the generous $3.16 return on each dollar enjoyed by taxpayers in hard Republican Ferry County in deep northeastern Washington. All in all, only six counties qualified as “net donors” to the rest of the state—San Juan, King, Skagit, Kittitas, Whatcom, and Snohomish—while the remaining 33 counties enjoyed an average return on investment of over $1.40 on every tax dollar sent to Olympia.”

    If King County generated revenues stayed in King County there would be plenty of money to pay for our needs.

    Comment by BCH — 4:15 pm May 13, 2014 #

  50. Ps. I suspect the 2013 revenue discrepancies are probably even larger than the 2008 numbers referenced above.

    Comment by BCH — 4:31 pm May 13, 2014 #

  51. The city is going to devote 400 million to bike improvements. While I think that’s great, when we have issues with roads and possible bus cuts than I think that money would have been better spent elsewhere. I will vote no on this primarily because it’s a bandaid solution. In a year what’s to stop them from coming back again asking for more money.

    Comment by natinstl — 4:36 pm May 13, 2014 #

  52. So riddle me this. If Seattle buys transit services from metro using the car tab tax. What is to prevent metro from extorting money from Seattle (say a year from now) by threatening more route cuts due to budget constraints.

    I wonder if this plan has the potential to create a system where metro has incentive to cut routes in area that buy service from metro.

    Comment by Paul — 5:07 pm May 13, 2014 #

  53. When local politicians blackmailed taxpayers into saving the Mariners in 1995, they were very creative with raising the money, including a special lottery.

    .

    Maybe raising money to subsidize Metro could come via a lottery earmarked for mass transit?

    .

    The marketing slogan could be “Play lotto for your chance to win money so you can spend it like we do!!”

    .

    I still would like to see Sound Transit expand their bus system into Seattle, is that not an option?

    Comment by West Seattle Hipster — 5:13 pm May 13, 2014 #

  54. I agree with BT. With all the construction in West Seattle and other areas of the city who are getting the “Micro Housing” for Urban Living,,,,Charge the builders/owners a per apartment fee to cover the cost of bus transportation since that is their goal, to get a walk-able area and limited use of cars, sort of like a Condo association fee. (Oh and lets not forget how many parking spaces we will no longer have in the Junction because the “parking space” requirement in each building plan.) I take the bus about 8 times a year to go downtown. I use my car sparingly and “buddy up” with a friend to go shopping. I am not Anti-Bus. Just frustrated that Metro cannot seem to manage their budget. There has got to be a better way to deal with the Bus Cost issue.

    Also, If the City of Seattle wants us to pay for the system, then The Seattlites who get charged the fee on their tabs should receive a card that identifies them as Seattle Residents. All others pay double.

    Comment by PixieB — 5:20 pm May 13, 2014 #

  55. Ride the Duck seems to make a profit and runs a sound business….perhaps they can also run the metro bus service. that may work….runs the buses as boats or land vehicles.

    Comment by joel — 5:26 pm May 13, 2014 #

  56. Just $28 round trip! http://www.ridetheducksofseattle.com/tours/land-water-tours/ticket-information/

    Comment by WSB — 5:36 pm May 13, 2014 #

  57. It’s going to be more expensive to live in Seattle, than it is to live in San Francisco, soon. As long as our property values reflect that, I guess I can live with it. Very sad for the average working middle-class man and woman in Seattle, however.

    Regressive taxes are asinine – and until there’s a discussion about raising metro rates, I’ll keep voting ‘no’ on these erroneous initiatives.

    We should remember: Prop 1 was only favored by 60% of Seattleites, and it was unopposed. If someone puts together a campaign to show the new initiative’s fatal flaws, I bet that majority can be defeated.

    Comment by ScubaFrog — 6:01 pm May 13, 2014 #

  58. No! No! No!
    No property tax increases
    No sales tax increases
    No tab increases

    How about transparency and accountability?

    Metro is clueless about spending money. They are planning to spend $15,000 change to the color of “Bus Only” lanes as a test program. Apparently, there are some people who believe they are buses. Really!!!! I think they have bigger problems and why not just alert the police to sit on the corner and write tickets to those idiots. Frankly, I would just rather have an increased fare.

    http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Emerald-City-turning-red-for-faster-bus-service-259153031.html

    Comment by astrogirl30 — 6:14 pm May 13, 2014 #

  59. As I have mentioned many times, the City is giving developers a benefit (no parking, more units) for free rather than exacting a use tax for a very real public benefit loss (loss of free public parking — it sounds trivial, but it isn’t-just ask those living along Avalon.) So charge them 50% or 60%, they will still take it. We will at least get transit specific funds.
    -
    I could even see where $10/month from rent at these units was routed to Metro. After all, these folks aren’t supposed to own a car and should support transit…

    Comment by JayDee — 6:27 pm May 13, 2014 #

  60. Paul, 1,593 trips across the West Seattle Bridge were made by bike instead of car yesterday. So, can it not be said that sharing the road with bikes is also making your commute better?

    http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikecounter_spokane.htm

    Comment by Kathy — 6:34 pm May 13, 2014 #

  61. **Metro** is not spending the $15,000, which unfortunately I have no neutral source of info about – checking for a news release. This is a *city* program – SDOT, which is city. Metro is county. Apparently a pilot program – West Seattle is not mentioned, though the bridge certainly has been known to have drivers who “believe they are buses.”

    Comment by WSB — 6:34 pm May 13, 2014 #

  62. Funny when it was the entire county that was supposed to foot the bill there wasn’t any clause in it to keep the money where the people paid for it, is it any wonder the people in the county voted against supporting Seattle?

    And what a surprise another tax with absolutely no mention of having the people USING the bus pay for it. How about having them pay more than 29% of their way instead of being freeloaders on the backs of everyone else? How about charging for Park n Rides? How about cutting administrative salaries and benefits? Of course we can’t have any of those options, that wouldn’t be “fair”.

    Comment by Taxed Enough — 6:52 pm May 13, 2014 #

  63. Personally I would like to see congestion pricing for roads; that could go towards transit.

    In the absence of something radical like that, I will settle for this (which I already voted yes on).

    Every person taking the bus is potentially one less car on the road. So the people clamoring for a “user fee” are off base–they are benefiting.

    The notion of “we already voted on this” is off base. The County voted on it, not the City. Accept that fact that there was overwhelming support for the original measure in city limits and we value Metro.

    The “waste and inefficiency” argument is so vague and specious. It is disheartening how many people hop on that bandwagon with zero specifics. Come back with some details of how Metro is wasting money (and anecdotal homilies like “every bus I ever see is empty” are not compelling). I recall seeing that Metro’s cost per mile is $0.99 and the national average is $0.98. That doesn’t sound horribly out of whack to me.

    Comment by jwright — 7:14 pm May 13, 2014 #

  64. SDOT is spending $15,000 per BLOCK for 9 blocks worth of red paint ($135,000 total) as an “experiment” to see if it will keep cars out of the bus lanes!! $135,000 would buy 600+ GO PRO cameras which could be installed in the bus’ that use that bus only lane. Every time a bus comes up on a car in the lane, it takes a snap shot and said offender is mailed a ticket? Why not make money instead of just spending it??

    Comment by flynlo — 7:22 pm May 13, 2014 #

  65. I wonder how much money metro would save if they got rid of those transit authority guys that just go around on the buses and make sure people paid. I mean, I know metro is worried about people sneaking in through the back doors of the rapid ride’s, but why not go back to the old way, when we had to pay in front of the driver? It seems like its way more than its worth to have guys going around to check if you have a transfer or orca card.

    Comment by Breezygirl — 7:40 pm May 13, 2014 #

  66. Breezygirl, you’re a genius! I bet nobody else thought of that idea. Oh wait, they did. Everyone paying in front of driver means the bus and everyone on it sits a lot longer at stops. It means slower trips for riders and more wages for drivers. Plus that time adds up. Maybe a bus that could do 12 trips a day can only do 11 now. That means Metro needs to buy more buses (and hire more drivers). A few fare enforcement officers are a lot cheaper than more buses and drivers.

    Comment by jwright — 8:10 pm May 13, 2014 #

  67. AUTO DRIVER = BUS USER
    .
    We gladly use the space that bus riders leave vacant on the road.
    .
    We want more bus riders so we can USE even more of the freed-up space.

    Comment by MellyMel — 8:15 pm May 13, 2014 #

  68. sure ticket people riding the bus lane but how about the buses constantly running red lights downtown. when a bus runs a red light it’s equivalent to about 6 cars running a light…..seriously though instead of running large buses around town late at night 95% empty why not drive mini vans or something a little less on gas and maintenance?

    Comment by joel — 8:18 pm May 13, 2014 #

  69. Well said, BCH. There should have been a state transportation package, since King County’s economy helps support the whole state. The non-King county state legislators must be so happy that Seattle is willing to foot the bill after they failed to do their job to pass a transportation bill. Meanwhile, their constituents benefit from the tax revenue King County residents bring in.

    Comment by dcn — 8:35 pm May 13, 2014 #

  70. This is like the movie “Ground Hog Day.” I thought I just voted no on this crap since we are continually getting taxed and taxed. Since this is city of progressives, hopefully they will just reprint the old ballots and replace King County with Seattle. With all of the crappy development that is being thrown up in WS, tax them! Hello Detroit…

    Comment by buckwheat — 9:01 pm May 13, 2014 #

  71. Ahhhhh…. Seattle! Never a dull moment! There is always a swell of disaster and doom followed by new taxes to keep the sky from falling this week. I miss the good old days when Ballard was quirky and you could smoke in bars and get plastic bags in grocery stores… Just me. Totally a knuckle dragging non-progressive…

    Comment by TBone — 9:48 pm May 13, 2014 #

  72. You all can thank good ole Christine O’Grady Gregoire for 99.9% of this problem do her bad money management and tax breaks she has gave away. Instead of changing the way they do business and try to help the state her followers continue on the same path as to not have their party look bad. I hope they name the tunnel after her. If you want to know where all the money has gone just look to Gregoire’s tunnel, the cost overruns between the tunnel, 520 and much more could of paid years of metro funding, fixing the bad roads and so much more. Say good bye to the middle class in the city limits of Seattle as they will be taxed out very soon. This city is out of control allowing all the new building going on with no infrastructure to handle it and that’s the big problem and the one people should be more upset with than anything else. Vote No on everything till they start making better decisions and have better accountability for what they already have. Don’t forget their talking about a very big gas tax early next year around $1. per gal. thanks gov. Inslee

    Comment by wetone — 9:55 pm May 13, 2014 #

  73. I voted yes the first time but I would vote no to this one because I don’t want to pay to subsidize suburbia. If they want transit. Have then move to Seattle si that they can contribute to the common good.

    Comment by rb — 10:08 pm May 13, 2014 #

  74. Not sure how saving the 21 37 et al is a subsidy of suburbia.

    Comment by jwright — 10:24 pm May 13, 2014 #

  75. Paint the bus lanes red, genius! Perhaps a nice Commie shade with Bus Lane in bright yellow. Didnt we just pay 800 billion to fund these shovel ready bridge and road projects? Maybe the WH could ask for some of the 524 million it gave to Solyndra for photo op be returned to fund transit. They will never stop spending til you cutoff the credit card. Maybe we should just give everone in Seattle their own bus to go with their 15hr, to be fair

    Comment by JJ — 10:33 pm May 13, 2014 #

  76. WSB – “To the “respect the vote” – as noted in our story, local leaders contend that is exactly what they are doing, because (as we also had reported last week) when the votes were all counted, inside city limits, more than 60 percent of voters supported Proposition 1.”

    Does that mean maybe the states that voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 should allow a vote as to whether Romney should be their president? Should my neighborhood be allowed to legalize cocaine (for example) because I can draw a district to include a majority of people who would vote for it? Where do you draw the line of shrinking voter districts?

    Maybe we could make a voter district of those who want to pay extra taxes for Metro. They could all pay the tax and all be happy.

    Comment by A — 10:37 pm May 13, 2014 #

  77. @BCH….What you said! Strong work.

    Comment by Louise — 10:39 pm May 13, 2014 #

  78. I am outraged by this mayor’s refusal to listen to the voters, but not at all surprised. I voted No once and will do so again. This is right up there with McCheese’s retail ban on guns (a window sticker!). Why can’t Seattle get a mayor who actually LISTENS to the people (and fights against Metro’s fiscal inefficiency) instead of picking our pockets once again? ENOUGH!!

    Comment by Still No, No No — 12:20 am May 14, 2014 #

  79. No. No. No.

    Comment by Jeannie — 2:30 am May 14, 2014 #

  80. this August……property tax increase for Parks Department – This November sales tax and car tab increase – why can’t we vote on them at the same time?

    Comment by joel — 7:22 am May 14, 2014 #

  81. Still No,

    I am very surprised by your take that the mayor is not listening to the voters. 60+% of his constituents (Seattle voters) voted in favor of additional taxes to fund Metro. This is an overwhelming win at +20% over the no voters on Prop 1.

    To put that in some perspective, only 4 U.S. presidents have won election with over 60% of the popular vote (Warren Harding, Richard Nixon, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson). Were the people not being listened to in those cases as well?

    How the Mayor supporting a policy approved by 60% of those that also vote for his office is not listening to the people I cannot fathom. I agree that he has taken a position opposite to yours.

    Seattleites should have the opportunity to vote on issues that effect them and also have the right to vote to tax themselves. They should not be bound by a King County-wide vote. It is clear by the vote totals that people in Seattle value transit more than people in the rest of the county, and are willing to pay for it.

    By the way – to A:

    Your arguement about Mitt Romney being President of some states but not others is asinine. There is not a mechanism for split presidency over states, just like there is not an established voting district or body for your neighbor who wants to legalize cocaine. Seattle and King County exist as government entities with assigned powers to tax and make laws.

    This new vote by Seattle should be a conservative’s dream – localized government allowing the smallest possible group of people make decisions that affect them in their daily lives.

    Or to respond to an earlier post “Mommy – I want a candy bar, I’ve weighed the pros and cons of the purchase, and I’m willing to pay for it (also mommy – I’m an adult)”

    Comment by James — 8:41 am May 14, 2014 #

  82. @James Seattle voters voted for a King County wide measure….the costs were being spread over everyone in King County, not just Seattle residents. As I pointed out in my post above Seattle transit benefits everyone. Not just, Seattle residents but all of King County and the State of WA as a whole. How many residents of Bellevue, Renton, SeaTac, etc use transit to go to work in Seattle? Good transit supports a strong economy and is in everyone’s interest, riders or non riders. A strong economy drives revenue to the County and to the State of WA. In 2008 King County generated 42% of the revenue to the State of WA, yet received only 26% of the State funds. I suspect the discrepancy was even larger in 2013.
    I would argue that it is in the interest of residents of Spokane, Tri Cities, Centralia, etc to support transit investments in King County as King County is the economic engine that provides the revenue that supports the State and thus their cities.
    This is not a burden that should be carried on the backs of Seattle-ites only.

    Comment by BCH — 10:28 am May 14, 2014 #

  83. So we’re facing 8 special tax levies this year. Are the democrats trying to force the middle class out of Seattle?

    Comment by ScubaFrog — 11:24 am May 14, 2014 #

  84. @ScubaFrog. Read my comments above. This is a State Legislature failure. It is the State that should be funding King County transit improvements (not citizens of Seattle), as it is King County that funds the State. Republican representatives from the East side of the state are fine with blocking funding in King County; as that means more of King County tax revenue they can take back to their own communities.
    Republican representatives and the counties they represent have created a welfare state…THEY are the recipients of the welfare program while the residents of the revenue generating counties face Republican forced ‘cuts’ in spending.
    Please read :
    http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/welfare-state/Content?oid=6686284

    Comment by BCH — 12:39 pm May 14, 2014 #

  85. BCH,

    I agree with you that the other areas in the state should see their own self interest in funding projects in Seattle that Seattle supports and the rest of the state doesn’t – a lot of those around transit. It would also be nice to recover more of what comes out of Seattle to the state in the form of taxes – though I wouldn’t necessarily expect the recovery rate to be 100%.

    The majority of what is being saved by the extra taxes will be routes that are by and large routes that serve Seattle within Seattle city limits.

    The reason that we are under-recovering for what we as Seattlites put into the state coffers are, I suggest to you, the same reason that Prop 1 failed as a county-wide measure. That is non Seattle is significantly more anti-tax than Seattle. Couple that with a sort of delusional anti-government rugged individualism that is not born out by the numbers and Seattle is getting railroaded.

    If your numbers are correct, the rest of the state, including the places that can be said to be significantly anti-tax, are also those that are benefiting from the 16% gap in Seattle’s tax payments in to the state versus their payments they get back out.

    Comment by James — 1:07 pm May 14, 2014 #

  86. I wonder if it is possible for a group of concerned citizens (preferably some with a tax/accounting background) could audit the books of Metro. It seems like an independent review with suggestions of how to adjust for budget cuts would be a good step. West Seattle blog does a great job trying to cover all the issues but why aren’t our local tv stations (King 5 and Kiro 7) doing investigative reports, including auditing Metros books? It seems to me that the tv media here doesn’t focus on presenting all the facts for the general public to help keep them informed.

    Comment by S — 9:34 pm May 14, 2014 #

  87. James, a few years back there was no mechanism for gay marriage or buying weed from a legal shop. Anything can happen, why not start collecting money now from those who are so anxious to open their wallets to metro. Maybe you should make a donation tomorrow.

    Comment by A — 9:49 pm May 14, 2014 #

  88. I note the phrasing “The Majority of Service” will be preserved. Have they posted what lines will be cut? I’m willing to bet that the elimination of all bus service in Gatewood will still be done. Nice to know there will be money left over to fund transit for people who live outside of Seattle, even if there isn’t enough to service to the neighborhoods in West Seattle that used to have buses.

    Comment by NickN — 10:12 pm May 14, 2014 #

  89. A,

    That is not how taxation, or living in a society for that matter, works. It is disingenuous to suggest otherwise.

    But maybe you have been reading “Government Financing in a Free Society,” an essay by Ayn Rand.

    She does note “Any program of voluntary government financing has to be regarded as a goal for a distant future.” But then it was written by Ayn Rand, so maybe not the most reliable source.

    Comment by James — 8:32 am May 15, 2014 #

  90. James, that is exactly how living in society works. If you don’t like going to McDonalds, you don’t go. If enough people agree, McDonald’s scales back or goes out of business. If enough people choose to go to McDonalds, they stay open and maybe even flourish. Most importantly, the McDonalds supporters can’t compel the non-McDonalds supporters to buy a Happy Meal twice a week.

    Comment by A — 10:04 pm May 15, 2014 #

  91. A,

    The government does have the right to compel tax payments. As voters we either vote for our elected representatives who pass legislation on taxes, or we vote for it ourselves as a specific issue – like proposition 1. Fortunately or unfortunately, we have a system where the majority of votes cast will win the day on a specific issue. I don’t end up agreeing with all of the results, and sometimes don’t understand the minds of my fellow voters. So if 60% of Seattle approves of something through a valid proposition, and it is not unconstitutional it will pass, and we all have agreed, by our membership in society, to abide by that. Just like it was right and proper that the King County wide vote failed because the will of the voter was to not approve that proposition.

    The government is a very different entity than McDonalds (a for profit business). A for profit business has the ability to charge a fee for their goods and services but does not have the power of taxation – so not much of a comparison there.

    Maybe some kind of constitutional amendment is in order – removing the government’s power to tax, or giving for profit corporations the power to tax? Until then, the two are not comparable for the purposes of your analogy.

    You might look into low tax countries such as Afghanistan, Albania, and Kazakhstan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, and then compare them on a standard of living/freedom scale to the higher tax countries (pretty much the US, Canada, and Europe). Your analysis might be a lot different depending on your gender. Very happy to be privilleged to live within our U.S. system with its benefits and imperfections.

    Comment by James — 8:47 am May 16, 2014 #

  92. two bottles:
    I would love a toll road on all bridges around here–I don’t think I met a “user-based” tax I didn’t like! Nothing like capturing the pocketbooks of all users of roads to demand competent leadership and a decent plan, right?? (I know, way optimistic)

    Comment by KM — 4:16 pm May 19, 2014 #

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