Today the Seattle Times Editorial Board says you should vote no on Prop 1. In doing so, they want you to vote to delete 74 Metro bus routes, reduce service on more than 100 other routes, and cut back service vans that transport people who are disabled (those Access vans you see driving around). Their reasoning? Metro should cut more costs before asking for money, and Prop 1, which includes raising car-tab fees and hiking the sales tax by 0.1 percent, is a regressive tax on the poor.
That's a preposterous argument from the same newspaper that advocated again, and again, and again to vote against this state's best shot at a progressive tax—an income tax on the rich. In fact, their whole editorial is pretty rich. It claims we could make up revenue shortfalls with "further fare increases." But you know what's really regressive? Raising fares on workers who rely on the bus.
In the bullshit editorials it's been writing for years now, the Seattle Times has spun the yarn that our taxes are too high. But according to a study this month by the Tax Foundation, the tax burden here is below average and it's falling. Meanwhile, we're short on money for schools, health care, and transit. Stuff the Seattle Times never seems to want to pay for. They opposed expanding light rail—not once, not twice, but three times. They said that it's not worth the money or that now isn't the right time. Now wasn't the time for light rail the same way that now wasn't the time for bicycle improvements and now wasn't the time for health-care reform. Now they say it isn't the right time for Metro. They admit the region "needs reliable bus service" but say Metro "has more work to do on righting its cost structure before asking voters for more revenue." They're ostensibly just waiting for more cuts and the perfect tax package. Uh huh.
The Stranger Election Control Board says vote yes on Prop 1. We admit it isn't perfect. But as our endorsement points out, we're in this mess thanks to a conservative anti-tax crusade in the 1990s that cut a progressive form of taxation based on the value of vehicles. Since then, Metro has already made millions of dollars in cuts and efficiencies. But we still need to help pay for it. And while we detest regressive taxes—and endorsed the income tax on the wealthy (ahem)—cutting transit for the working-class and poor would be more regressive than anything in Prop 1.