- John Engber; Mary Ellen Stone, director of King County Sexual Assault Resource Center; Bruce Hillyer, presiding judge for King County Superior Court; and Maurice Classen, deputy King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and spokesman for the campaign to pass Prop 1
This afternoon, the Stranger Election Control Board met with the campaign to pass Prop 1, which would tick up the sales tax 0.2 percent to salvage $60 million a year in funding for King County's police, prosecutors, courts, public defenders, human services, sexual assault services, and more. They're all worthwhile causes. But as many people have asked before—and will asked again when they vote—doesn't this proposal just exacerbate a regressive sales tax (when Washington is already the worst)?
"No one is going to argue this isn't a regressive tax," Maurice Classen, a deputy King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and spokesman for the campaign to pass Prop 1, said in response to the question. "But what is more regressive is crime. Crime disproportionately affects people with a lower socioeconomic background background." As examples, he cites victims of sexual assault, property crime, domestic violence are disproportionately lower income. "People with a lot of money are not being affected by these crimes to the same level," he says.
Mary Ellen Stone, King County Sexual Assault Recourse Center, added that wealthier victims of domestic violence, for example, "have more resources. They can rent an apartment if they are leaving a domestic violence situation."
The bigger problem is that the county has no alternative, said Bruce Hillyer, presiding judge for King County Superior Court. "The bottom line is, do you need those services so much that they are going fund them with the only tax source you have? We don't have any other choice. The state legislature can do anything they want: taxes on bottled water, soda, bubble gum. All we can do is use the only sales tax we have."
(This post just scratches the surface; lots more info on Prop 1 is over here.) But it raises a question: How are you planning to vote, Slog?