TRANSPORTATION LEVY: Proposal for partial ‘alternative funding’ instead of raising all $930 million via property-tax levy

Some of the concerns about the city’s proposed $930 million transportation levy – which, as mentioned in our daily preview, is the subject of a public hearing tonight – involve how it would be paid for: A property-tax levy. Councilmember Nick Licata proposes shifting a third of the cost to other sources – making it a $600 million levy, with $330 million to be raised via development-impact fees, commercial-parking taxes, and an employee-hours tax. Read on for the full news release:

Councilmember Nick Licata announced an alternative funding proposal for the Move Seattle transportation levy today, which would fund transportation investments through diverse funding sources. He advanced the proposal prior to Tuesday evening’s 5:30 p.m. public hearing on the proposed nine-year $930 million levy. The Mayor’s proposal funds the transportation levy using exclusively property taxes.

Licata’s proposal would reduce the size of the property tax levy to $600 million, and the remaining $330 million would be funded by a 5% commercial parking tax, an $18 employee hours tax, and a transportation impact fee on future development.

The parking tax and employee hours tax are estimated to raise just under $230 million over nine years. Passing a transportation impact fee to mitigate future development could produce an additional $100 million. Licata will bring forward separate legislation for the commercial parking tax and employee hours tax.

“I believe this balanced package is the surest approach to reaching the $930 million in needed transportation funding identified by the Mayor, while maintaining affordability in Seattle,” said Licata.

A $600 million levy would be a 42% increase over the current Bridging the Gap levy, using 2015 dollars. The owner of a median $450,000 home would pay $179 in 2016, versus $277 for a $930 million levy.

7 Replies to "TRANSPORTATION LEVY: Proposal for partial 'alternative funding' instead of raising all $930 million via property-tax levy"

  • Fiwa Jcbbb June 2, 2015 (1:10 pm)

    A step in the right direction Nick, but I’m still voting against this. My income isn’t keeping up with my property taxes, and I have a sneaking suspicion the vast majority are in the same boat. This state needs to get rid of sales taxes and property taxes and enact an income tax more than ever.

  • les June 2, 2015 (2:55 pm)

    I am for no tax increases until SDOT starts cutting some of the current waste of our tax money .Next time you drive by and see SDOT count the number of trucks and the number of SDOT employees. 10 people at a job site will normally equal 10 trucks. You don’t need F450 and F550 trucks to cut grass, blackberries or pull weeds.

  • Born on Alki 59 June 2, 2015 (4:00 pm)

    Voting NO for so many reasons.

    Move Seattle will add an estimated $277 a year to the property tax bill of a Seattle home valued at $450,000. Sounds somewhat reasonable if West Seattle actually benefited from this.

    The bill for Bridging the Gap was $130 a year and the streets in West Seattle are in worse shape than ever.

    The Families and Education Levy was increased by 99 percent, to $230 million, in 2011.

    The Seattle Housing Levy was doubled to $145 million in 2009.
    Rob Johnson, who heads the Transportation Choices Coalition — a key backer of Move Seattle — spoke of doubling the Housing Levy again when it comes up next year. Really?
    Move Seattle is a big package, with such expenditures as $30 million to build and repair sidewalks in “high demand areas” and focus on seven “high demand transportation corridors” which can be made more bus-friendly with removal of parking and traffic lanes. Perfect.

    These are just a few examples of how city “leaders” are moving basic city services onto levies, and off the city’s main operating budget. How about an external comprehensive City audit to see exactly how that operating budget is really being spent? Accountability first, levy after it is clear the City coffers aren’t being wasted.

    An income tax would do nothing to relieve property taxes that are already out of control, and would likely retain a sales tax of some sort.
    Remember, income taxes are forever, even on retirees.
    And WTH is a $18 employee hours tax?
    Taxed to death…..

  • Jon Wright June 2, 2015 (5:18 pm)

    One has to admire the rigorous data collection that went into that categorical determination of SDOT’s lack of fiscal responsibility: “I saw a lot of trucks at a work site so therefore they are wasting money.”

  • Steve June 2, 2015 (8:03 pm)

    Mayor Ed Murray sure seems to like spending my money. I’ve never seen such an audacious grab for more and more property taxes. How about everyone paying their fair share?

  • Rob June 2, 2015 (8:57 pm)

    What was the $80 on my tabs for again? That’s what happens. We vote for/against something and then forget what it’s for. New developements that add people but not infrastructure or repair should be tapped. Audit. Determine leaks. Plug. Then come back to the well(nearly dry well…).

  • MOVE Seattle June 2, 2015 (9:43 pm)

    Born on Alki 59 – you forgot to mention the recently passed Early Learning thing which now has a director with a salary of something like $120,000 a year! (oh and she is the wife of the new Parks Director or some other higher up in city gov). And you forgot to mention the recently created Park District. Both of these new city departments will be raising property taxes too. I am going to be property taxed right out of the city with my measly $54,000 annual salary!

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