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Tacoma’s Prop 1: What Do You Need to Know?
On July 23, Tacoma's City Council adopted a resolution placing Proposition 1 on the ballot this November. The official "for" and "against" statements that will appear in your voters' pamphlet are still being worked on, but the City has an information page all ready to go. Here are some of the details from the City page, along with a few other items.
What would be taxed?
- The earnings of natural gas, electric and phone utility companies would be subject to an additional 2% tax.
- Those utilities are already subject to a 6% tax, so the math brings that to 8%.
- Utility companies may pass this cost increase on to their customers through their rates.
- The City Council would have to approve any Tacoma Power rate change.
- If the full cost is passed along, the combined cost to the average household would be about $4.70 per month.
- Simpson Tacoma Kraft says its taxes would jump by $500,000 if the tax was passed along to customers.
- The tax would apply to utility companies serving Tacoma customers, and to customers of Tacoma Power outside of the city, but only for their electricity.
- About 74% of the funds would come from electric utilities.
- 11% would come from natual gas.
- 15% would come from telephone utilities.
What would be funded?
- The tax is forecast to generate $10 million to $11 million annually.
- All funds generated would be dedicated solely to street improvements.
- Safety improvements near schools, pothole repairs, neighborhood street improvements and basic maintenance, and arterial improvements and basic maintenance.
- School zone improvements to 46 locations sooner: ADA accessible sidewalks and school zone flashing beacons.
- 18,000 additional permanent pothole repairs – doubling what is done now based on current costs.
- Repave/resurface 510 residential blocks (45 percent chip seal, 55 percent two inch overlay), more than doubling what is done now based on current costs
- 12 backlogged neighborhood Local Improvement District projects where residents have already agreed to partner with the City and pay a significant portion of the cost, and provide matching funds for utility projects so water and sewer improvements can coordinate for street improvements at the same time.
- 70 arterial intersections would get traffic signal detection repairs.
- The entire community’s center and turn lanes would be restriped every year.
- More matching funds to apply for competitive grants.
- Tacoma's citizen Transportation Commission would have input on decision-making processes.
- Nationally, the average city with a population between 31,000 and 196,000 spends $26 per person, per year in transportation funding categories measured by the International City Manager’s Association. Tacoma currently spends $7.
- Tacoma Power’s rates are currently more than 30% lower than most other electric rates in the region for residential, commercial, and industrial customers.
- A group opposed to the tax has filed a lawsuit to stop the ballot measure from appearing as written, calling it "impermissibly confusing to voters." The lawsuit cites a requirement in city ordinance for Tacoma Power to pass on to customers all taxes on “the sale and/or delivery of electric energy.” That may or may not apply to a tax on gross utilities earnings.
- Tacoma voters have not approved a transportation funding ballot measure since 1968.
- A 2006 measure that would have raised Tacoma property taxes, generating $8 million per year, for six years for residential street maintenance failed 51.81% to 48.19%.
Facts and Information: Learn more on the City's Proposition 1 Facts and Information page, and at a series of City of Tacoma-sponsored info sessions. All sessions will begin at 6 PM unless otherwise noted.
August 26 - Lincoln High School
September 4 -Wheelock Library
September 11 - Fern Hill Library
September 16 - Meeker Middle School
September 23 - Truman Middle School
October 2 - Tacoma Main Library
October 9 - Moore Library
October 10 - Jason Lee Middle School
October 14 - Gray Middle School
October 30, 2013 - Snake Lake Nature Center
So, what else do you need to know in order to make an informed decision?
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