Arts, science, and cultural education and access in King County would get a $67 million a year boost if a sales-tax increase proposed by King County Executive Dow Constantine is passed by voters.
Today he sent the County Council a proposal for the August ballot, seeking to increase the county sales tax by a tenth of a cent per dollar spent. The measure dubbed “Access for All” would generate an estimated $469 million over the seven-year life of the proposal. From today’s announcement:
… The funding will focus on four primary areas:
Education for Kids: Students at all 19 King County school districts will see a dramatic increase in free access to curriculum-related art, science and heritages programs, both in-class and at cultural sites, with an emphasis on underserved students. Twenty percent of Access for All funding will ensure access for public school students, including transportation for students and in-class programming.
Equity and Inclusion: Recognizing that philanthropic funding for arts, heritage and science has historically been distributed inequitably, Access for All will intentionally provide higher levels of funding to community-based organizations that serve communities of opportunity. An Equity Advisory Committee will be established to evaluate progress toward achieving equity goals and outcomes.
Opening Doors for All: Families and seniors who earn a lower income will receive free or low-cost admission to nearly 40 major arts, science and heritage organizations, including Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle Aquarium, Pacific Science Center, Museum of Flight and others. Everyone in King County will have the opportunity to experience diverse performances and programs.
Investing in Local Communities: Cultural organizations such as heritage museums, organizations that serves communities that are underserved, botanical gardens, children theaters and music training programs, and local art and science groups throughout King County will be able to use the additional funding to meet their specific programming needs and provide enhanced cultural activities.
Funds will be collected by King County and awarded by 4Culture through public panels and contracts for service that call for each recipient to provide continual, measurable public benefits. Every organization that receives public funding through Access for All will provide ongoing documentation of program benchmarks, visitors serviced, and community impact. Their reports, site visits, audits, and program evaluations will be available to the public.
King County Council Chair Joe McDermott, who represents our area on the council, is listed as a co-sponsor of the legislation to create the ballot measure. You can read the legislation in its entirety on the county website, here. No date yet for a County Council vote on sending it to the ballot.