Comments

1

One of the richest cities in the country where there are BILLIONAIRES (making bank on the pandemic), but hey. let's make sure the regressive taxation on the poorest working people is what funds everything in our state and then complain constantly about how fucked up everything in Seattle is. God forbid billionaires pay any taxes. God forbid WA state enter the present century and charge an income tax. For such a progressive city, Seattle sure does like doing everything like a backwater, red, cousin fucking red town. Dag gum them rich folks deserve to keep all their money! Just make all those folks who need transportation learn how to walk to work!

2

No, you can impose a GVW and miles traveled tax on all-electric cars and trucks to pay for all-electric transit. Or even hyperloop (stupid idea) or all-electric monorail (good idea for West Seattle).

Sometimes I think you guys don't actually read the literal laws. I used to spend my evenings going through the RCWs and bills (which you can get free on the Net by the way).

Now, it is true that gasoline or diesel or even hybrid transit is stuck with a sales tax). We should phase that out for clean green all-electric transit on it's own right of way, and remove fossil fuel lanes in cities to put it in. Or fossil fuel vehicle parking. Or both.

3

DefundThePolice

I found the money without new taxes.

4

@3:

King County Metro is currently projecting COVID-related operating losses in excess of $250 mm this year alone. The estimated cost to replace the West Seattle Bridge is just under $200 mm. Even if SPD were defunded a full 50% it would just barely cover the cost of the latter, with nothing left over for either the former OR for the community-based programs that would replace LEA operations. It's like applying Band-Aids to a patient bleeding out from a severed artery. An income tax would be a much better solution - and keep in-mind it would REPLACE the sales tax - but there are too many clueless dipshits in this state who think they'd end up spending more (not true!) because they'd pay one big tax bill every year instead of the death-by-a-thousand-sales-tax-cuts they do now.

6

So predictable - all these NIMBY pearl clutchers griping over a measly .05% tax increase.

8

yeah, mass transit is dead until covid is gone...waste of money

9

@1

First you are correct that our State's Tax system is regressive and needs to be overhauled.

The rub is, changing the State's Constitution to allow for a graduated income tax is going to take years of hard work and compromise. It's going to take political leadership to craft an overhaul that can garner bipartisan support. We'll need to specify which taxes are reduced (B&O, Property, Sales) and by how much, to make sure that the new income tax doesn't just pile onto the current regressive system. that kind of work will take, vision and compromise from some highly competent political leaders.

Incase you haven't noticed we have a dearth of competent political leaders in this state on both the right and the left. The Seattle City Council can't even handle the basics of government oversight or fiduciary accountability. Meanwhile the Republicans have so few leaders that their candidate for governor is a high school dropout whose only management experience is managing himself as the only cop in a one-cop police force.

If we had capable leadership who started working on it today it would take at least 5 years to work out the details of such a massive overhaul of taxation.

As it is, it will never happen.

10

@3

Defunding the police properly will cost more money, not less. At least initially.

In order to deal with the head cases roaming our streets and generating the crisis calls we need to get Western State Hospital re-certified. Then we need to hire and train the alternative responders. We need to create metrics of what success looks like. We need to develop codes of conduct, operating procedures, and clear lines of communications between SPD, SFD, and the Seattle Crisis Department (SCD?). And that's just for those suffering from mental illness. Duplicate those costs to deal with those with addiction issues.

Doing it right will take a good 5 to 10 years, be quite expensive at first, but pay for itself eventually with better safer service to everyone.

There currently is no plan to accomplish this, and the only idea our city leaders seem to have is to give a blank check to un-vetted "non-profits" with no track record of success, no means to measure success, and apparently no blueprint for what to do next.

So what will happen is: we'll reduce the size of our police force by at least 50% (mostly through attrition). We'll throw millions of dollars to non-profits who having no plan won't be able to deal with the crisis calls, or the addiction issues. After about five years (maybe 10?) of the situation getting worse, and worse. There will be some incident, either a crazy person will push someone in front of a subway, a transit rider will go all Bernard Goetz on Metro Transit, or something unimaginably worse.

Then comes the backlash. And we get our very own Law and Order Mayor, with his or her own Broken Windows policing.

We have a unique opportunity to create something new.

Unfortunately the activists on the Seattle City Council, aren't willing to do the hard work to make it actually happen.

So by 2030, we'll be back to exactly the same place we are now.

11

"This summer, the Seattle City Council had the option of bumping the tax up to 0.2% for the STBD but ultimately decided against it. Sales taxes are regressive, and the council didn't want to overburden Seattleites when their livelihoods are already being threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic and the disastrous economic landscape it has left in its wake. "

Oh, Bullshit. Who knows what the motivation was, but it came mainly from the mayor. Maybe she wanted to campaign for governor and say "I cut taxes, in the most liberal city in the state!". Keep in mind, the old tax was more regressive. A guy with a Lexus gets taxed as much as someone driving an old beater. The council and mayor had the chance to go for a full 0.2%, but fell short. The idea that this saves anyone money is ridiculous -- just do the math.

Start with the fact that it doesn't cover food. So then, imagine buying $100 worth of clothes for your kids. You save a nickel. Your hot water heater breaks, and a new one costs a grand. Lucky you, you save 50 cents. Or how about you buy a used car, and it costs ten grand. You save $5. In none of these cases does it even matter.

Yet good transit does. Transit will be worse because the mayor -- and council member Pedersen -- made a bullshit choice. Yes, our taxes are regressive. There are worse things: https://archive.thinkprogress.org/two-cheers-for-regressive-taxes-b77d0ec3c73b/

12

@7 -- The $54 billion was on a massively expensive light rail system, to essential destinations, like Fife and Ash Way. The money all goes to Sound Transit. Sound Transit runs a handful of buses, but it mostly just builds and operates the trains (OK, mostly just builds -- they aren't into operating it lately).

Metro runs most of the buses. These account for most of the transit ridership in the area (by a huge margin). Metro is a completely different agency, operated as part of King County. Metro funding goes up and down, but a few years ago, Seattle decided to spend extra on those buses. They did, and the results were as expected (a lot more people rode the buses). Now that city-wide levy is up for renewal. Except, as Ms. Graham explained quite clearly, they can't just renew what passed last time. We can't have car tabs. So, it is just a sales tax, and it is to fund the transit system that is used most in this city.

Oh, and just so you know -- even when we are done building that extremely expensive light rail project, buses (in King County) will still provide most of the transit in the city. In other words more people will ride the bus than ride the train (way more). That is because Sound Transit basically doesn't know what the fuck they are doing. They didn't do this: https://seattletransitblog.com/2020/07/14/maximizing-ridership-is-easy/, but instead did this: https://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2016/04/06/youve-got-50-billion-for-transit-now-how-should-you-spend-it/

14

Border area fuel taxes is only allowed for "cities and towns within ten miles of an international border crossing,"

Isn’t SEA an “international border crossing?”

15

@14 -- I assume they mean places like Blaine or Sumas, where drivers from Canada come down and fill up. This allows those places to make a little money off of folks that would otherwise just keep going.

I would like to see the next legislative session change that law, and allow every city the right to raise gas taxes in their area. This would be a good way for Seattle to fund the various maintenance projects as well as transit and other transportation related infrastructure (like sidewalks). You don't want to set it too high, though, as that would hurt places close to the city border (at the north and south). But a few cents and no one would notice, and yet raise a fair amount of money.

I think it is also highly likely that the West Seattle Bridge will be tolled. That will probably just pay for the bridge itself. I could see small tolls on other bridges (e. g. all the ship canal bridges). It doesn't make sense for Seattle to be responsible for bridges like that without tolling them.

16

@10 If any city needs our very own Law and Order Mayor, with his or her own Broken Windows policing, it's Seattle.

17

As mostly empty busses run up and down the streets outside my apartment, it's apparent that transit during and likely after Covid...if there is an after Covid... will need to change significantly. Commuting patterns and numbers have likely changed forever. People's willingness to board crowded public transit will have changed both due to fears of infection, and the reality that increasing downtown safety issues have made riding transit too risky for many. Right now, we could probably park almost every bus and contract with Uber to provide transit.

18

@16 stop pushing your suburban ideas on a city that subsidizes you.


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