‘Head tax’ and parking tax for transit? Councilmember Licata pitches 34th District Democrats on Wednesday

July 8, 2014 at 10:38 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 22 Comments

If Seattle’s going to increase taxes to raise money to avoid bus cuts, which (if any) taxes would you prefer? As reported here two months ago, Councilmembers Nick Licata and Kshama Sawant are proposing commercial parking and employer “head” taxes instead of the sales-tax increase favored by Mayor Murray. Licata will be at the 34th District Democrats‘ meeting at The Hall at Fauntleroy tomorrow night to pitch the idea and seek the group’s endorsement, after the proposal comes up for a discussion and possible vote by the Council Finance and Culture Committee (which he chairs) at 2 pm – read the proposal here. In short, the proposal would raise commercial-parking taxes 5 percent, to 17.5%, and create a “head tax” of $18 per employee per year. The council could pass it without sending it to voters. Here’s the resolution the 34th Dems will consider at their meeting; the agenda is here.)

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  1. How about no new taxes. This is the age old problem. the REALITY is B A Z I L L I O N S of our tax dollars get WASTED on a regular basis. Are there not countless stories over the last year alone where its come to light that money was mis-spent, mis-used, wasted,or some blowhard got a fat paycheck for screwing up and doing nothing. Instead of figuring out how to squeeze more out of us how about appropriately using the tax dollars already being raked in. How much money alone is it costing to have countless public meetings to figure out the most palatable way to basically say ” if you’re not rich enough we don’t want you here” please stop bullsh—ing the public and just call it what it is.

    Comment by sophista-tiki — 11:22 pm July 8, 2014 #

  2. Sophista-tiki–I second that! I’m sick and tired of being taxed up the yin-yang only to see it wasted and then being asked to “bend over” once again.

    Comment by Ray West — 6:08 am July 9, 2014 #

  3. Yay…Lets tax business more. Thats a sure fire way to get more employees hired or foster growth

    Comment by JD — 6:27 am July 9, 2014 #

  4. Here’s a better idea… Increase the fare. Curious to know how much money they would gain by getting ride of the stupid 2.25 non peak rate and charging a flat rate of 2.50 every time…

    Comment by CP — 8:45 am July 9, 2014 #

  5. A fare increase is already scheduled for next year.

    Comment by WSB — 8:52 am July 9, 2014 #

  6. And we’re already one of the most expensive transit systems in the world:
    .
    http://www.priceoftravel.com/595/public-transportation-prices-in-80-worldwide-cities/
    .
    You raise the prices too high and people start driving (if they can) which defeats the purpose. Sure, you can raise the fares to like $6 each way. Self sustaining Metro! Then myself and a lot of others on bus days will immediately start driving, because I can park near my office for about $8-$9 a day.
    .
    And before anyone starts on more fare recovery enforcement, Metro is at 29%~ right now, which for a bus system without turnstiles and physical access control is pretty great compared to other agencies.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 9:41 am July 9, 2014 #

  7. Government needs to be responsible and respectful with are hard earned money, vote out career politicians and vote in people who have experience in the public sector! Licata needs to be honest and run on the socialist party ticket!

    Comment by timing — 10:28 am July 9, 2014 #

  8. The issue with metro is the money tied up in executive salaries, union contracts and no oversight into this government organization. Until people stop blindly defending them and their actions the problem will continue to grow with the riders and region suffering.

    “Question Authority”? I say “Question Metro!”

    Comment by timing — 10:34 am July 9, 2014 #

  9. You people are hilarious. When you’re bitching about paying taxes for basic services like bus service I can’t wait to see how you freak out about a state income tax when it’s implemented. The current back-*ss-wards tax system in this state is not sustainable, as we’re now seeing.

    Comment by Villagegreen — 10:36 am July 9, 2014 #

  10. Love the “you people”.

    Comment by Rick — 11:23 am July 9, 2014 #

  11. Yes a fare increase is scheduled for next year- how about increasing it to much closer to what it actually costs to ride?
    Discounts for students & low income- fine- but bring the fare closer to reality.
    Villagegreen- a state income tax has been talked about for years & years & years- doubt it will happen in my lifetime.
    I think the complaining is more about accountability – waste.
    Joe – so glad you can park at your office for $8-9 a day- many are not so fortunate. Many also just don’t want the hassle of driving- but the bus fares have got to come closer to what it actually costs to ride. It’s all about choices- if you commute & decide to drive you’re choosing to tolerate traffic, pay for gas & pay for parking- there’s also the convenience factor that goes into that choice . If you decide to take transit then a realistic fare must be part of THAT choice.

    Comment by Gene — 11:25 am July 9, 2014 #

  12. My sense is that the public transportation issue in Seattle is not so much about moving commuters to and from work as it is about redistributing money to people who cannot afford cars.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/07/07/why-cars-remain-so-appealing-even-in-cities-with-decent-public-transit/

    Comment by Jim — 11:37 am July 9, 2014 #

  13. We can’t raise fares, it will hurt the poor.

    Comment by sittingbird — 11:37 am July 9, 2014 #

  14. I rarely use transit (working either at home or odd hours on the far east side), but I support it nonetheless because I believe it reduces traffic snarls and gridlock even for people who need to drive their own cars. Having said that, I think all of the proposed solutions are appropriate — including higher fares, more efficient operations, less generous labor contracts, and additional tax revenue. Since the state and regional governments won’t come to the rescue, then additional local revenue is needed.

    I favor the current majority proposal, which is a modest uptick in the sales tax, rather than Licata and Sawant’s proposed options, because parking is too narrow a target and the increased head tax puts the burden on small businesses, which already need to absorb increases in the minimum wage.
    As usual, Licata and Sawant believe that hitting businesses is the solution to all revenue problems. They can’t be voted out of office soon enough.

    Comment by onion — 12:28 pm July 9, 2014 #

  15. Posting before Scuba Frog! :)

    Comment by Before Scuba — 12:51 pm July 9, 2014 #

  16. onion, good comment, I agree Licata, Sawant and others want to hit the businesses as it is much easier for them to collect from without any voting involved. Forcing businesses to be the ones to raise their prices and pay their new taxes along with keeping current on more paper work. Just one more reason for small business to leave the area. If only these people would work this hard on their cost overrun issues and bad management of city/state projects we wouldn’t need these constant tax increases. But instead they will let the city infrastructure fall apart, cut bus service, not improve our police department and so much more until they can black mail us for more money instead of running a tight ship and making better choices on their no worry spending/cost overrun mentality.

    Comment by wetone — 2:05 pm July 9, 2014 #

  17. onion, good comment, I agree Licata, Sawant and others want to hit the businesses as it is much easier for them to collect from without any voting involved. Forcing businesses to be the ones to raise their prices and pay their new taxes along with keeping current on more paper work. Just one more reason for small business to leave the area. If only these people would work this hard on their cost overrun issues and bad management of city/state projects we wouldn’t need these constant tax increases. But instead they will let the city infrastructure fall apart, cut bus service, not improve our police department and so much more until they can black mail us for more money instead of running a tight ship and making better choices on their no worry spending/cost overrun mentality

    Comment by wetone — 3:32 pm July 9, 2014 #

  18. Here we go again! The Seattle City Council is on a rampage to drive small businesses out of the city. First they ram the highest minimum wage in the country down our throats and now they want to tax us for the employees we hire. When will it stop?

    Comment by Elise — 5:27 pm July 9, 2014 #

  19. Before Scuba. You crack me up!

    Comment by WSince86 — 10:40 pm July 9, 2014 #

  20. Why not a tax on developers?

    Comment by WestofJunction — 5:56 am July 10, 2014 #

  21. Wouldn’t a tax on developers just increase the cost of a house or rent?

    Comment by jim — 11:22 am July 10, 2014 #

  22. so sales tax is considered “taxed up the yin-yang?” sure, we have extra taxes on car tabs in the city. we have more infrastructure to support. and we pay an extra pittance on the state sales tax, which goes to olympia for disbursement. what other city taxes apply?
    .
    unless you’re self-employed – and those who are are a minority – you have it pretty cheap as far as seattle taxes go. and city taxes don’t do much to fuel county services like metro, for example.
    .
    a modest and progressive city income tax for those who aren’t self-employed would level the field a bit, if tax fairness is your concern.

    Comment by redblack — 11:44 am July 10, 2014 #

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