Exit133 is about Tacoma
Utility Tax Increase + Property Tax Increase (Could) = Fixing Tacoma’s Streets
It's time once again to talk about potholes. To be more specific, it's time again to talk about how we might pay to fix them. You may have heard that Mayor Strickland was working on a proposal to raise funds to patch up Tacoma's troubled streets. This week she's asking her city council colleagues to put a proposal to do that on the November ballot for Tacoma voters.
The mayor is offering the voters a proposal that would impose a 1.5% tax on utility company earnings, along with a levy lid lift of $0.20 per $1,000 of assessed value over 10 years. If approved by the council this week, here's what voters would see in November:
CITY OF TACOMA PROPOSITION NO. 3
The Tacoma City Council adopted Resolution No. 39236 concerning levy rate and gross earnings tax increases for street improvements. If passed, Proposition No. 3 would authorize the City to increase the City’s regular property tax levy by $0.20 per $1,000 of assessed value for collection for ten years beginning in 2016, and levy an additional 1.5% earnings tax on natural gas, electric, and phone companies for ten years, beginning 2016, to fund street repair, maintenance and safety improvements for residential streets, arterials, and freight access, including resurfacing, pothole repair, pedestrian safety improvements, school crossing beacons, and sidewalk improvements.
Should this proposition be approved?
Yes………….. [ ] No…………… [ ]
The estimate is that this would raise about $130 million ($90 million from the utility tax, $40 million from the property tax), which would be dedicated to the repair and maintenance of Tacoma's residential and arterial streets, freight access points, and bike and pedestrian mobility. The average household could expect an increase of about $3.50 per month on their utility bill, and an increase around $3 per month in their property tax.
The voters have repeatedly identified fixing Tacoma's roads as a key priority. They have also rejected past efforts to raise revenues for the work. We haven't seen an updated estimate on the cost of fixing Tacoma's roads (there is an assessment of road conditions underway, from what we hear), but in 2012 we were hearing estimates in the neighborhood of $800 million. That means this $130 million proposal, while a significant investment in infrastructure, would only begin to address the problems.
So, will Tacoma voters find this proposal, with its blend of utility and property tax increases, more acceptable than they did Proposition 1's utility tax increase in 2013?
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