Well, the legislature finally passed a budget, averting a government shutdown, but the Rodney Tom led senate Majority Coalition Caucus has refused to allow a transportation funding package to come to the floor for a vote before the current special session is gaveled to a close tonight. And that means no local MVET option for King County Metro.
Senate Majority "Leader" Rodney Tom (R-Medina) says they'll work on a compromise package in the interim, with the intent of putting it to voters in November, 2014. Meanwhile Metro will begin to implement a 17 percent cut in bus service early next year.
This is, frankly, totally fucking outrageous. King County did everything the state asked us to do. We found savings, we streamlined service, we negotiated concessions with unions, and we raised fares four years straight. When the state imposed an insulting two-thirds supermajority requirement for passing a two-year car tab in order to get us through until a permanent funding solution could be found, we even managed the bipartisan support to do that. Then King County executive Dow Constantine got together with the mayors of the cities, and together developed a funding solution that would work for everyone. We didn't ask for money. No, together, the cities and the county went to Olympia with a simple request: Allow us to levy a 1.5 percent local MVET in order to fund bus service and road maintenance.
And the state senate just told us to fuck off.
I suppose the idea is that if they keep us hungry for the MVET, we'll vote in droves for whatever they eventually put on the ballot. The fact that thousands of King County residents will no longer be able to get to work or school in the interim, well, that's no concern of the Republican-controlled senate, apparently. Because fuck us.
Well fuck them back. My proposal is that we use what local taxing authority we have to save Metro and pay for road maintenance—a property tax levy—and then we vote down whatever package the legislature ultimately sends to ballot. If Republican legislators want roads in their home districts, let them cast the votes directly, instead of relying on tax-and-spend King County voters to do the dirty work of raising the gas tax.
King County is the most transit reliant region in the state by far, and refusing to allow us to tax ourselves to adequately fund our own bus service is nothing short of economic warfare. Diplomacy has failed. It's time to fight back.
UPDATE: The legislature has adjourned. Senators Tom, Fain, Litzow, and Roach—all representing King County districts—voted with colleagues in blocking last minute effort to move MVET bill. Thanks to them, their constituents will now enjoy a 17 percent cut in Metro bus service. Assholes.