Sunday, September 26, 2010
The Municipal League of King County opposes proposed County sales tax increase.
Seattle – Today the Municipal League of King County released recommendations on six proposals that will appear on the November general election ballot. Notably, the League is opposing the proposed King County sales tax increase.
Read More >> for complete findings from the League’s review. In summary, the League made the following recommendations:
· SUPPORT: King County Charter Amendment No. 1 to specify the local and regional role of county government,
· SUPPORT: King County Charter Amendment No. 2 to change the way political candidates file campaign finance materials,
· NO POSITION: King County Charter Amendment No. 3 to grant the Sheriff authority to bargain working conditions,
· OPPOSE: King County Proposition 1, which authorizes King County to impose an additional sales tax (two-tenths of one percent) to fund criminal justice services,
“These were not easy decisions,” said League Co-Chair Kathy Elias. “The sales tax proposal was an especially difficult issue. However, our Committee felt that the County should demonstrate significant progress on the road to reform before asking voters to approve additional taxing authority.” Read More >>
About the Municipal League:
The Municipal League of King County is a nonpartisan volunteer organization that has worked since 1910 to ensure government that is open, effective and accountable. The Ballot Issues Committee of the Municipal League has worked over the last few months to review six measures on the November ballot. The Board of Directors of the League adopted these positions at its meeting Monday night.
2010 GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT
King County Charter Amendment No. 1 — Amending the Preamble of the King County Charter to specify the local and regional role of county government and to clarify the purposes of county government. Support
The Charter preamble should clearly articulate the County’s responsibilities and priorities, specifically its responsibility to both urban and rural areas and its role as both a regional and local government. This charter amendment is generally consistent with the Charter Review Commission’s recommendations and leaves open the opportunity to create a new executive branch position through either a future charter amendment or an ordinance.
King County Charter Amendment No. 2 — Modifying the King County Charter to allow a political candidate to satisfy the requirement that campaign-related finance reports be filed with the county Director of Elections by filing those reports with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission. Support
The Municipal League strongly believes in ensuring transparency when it comes to campaign finance reporting. This amendment is largely administrative in nature and will not adversely affect transparency as reports will be filed through the PDC and will be available to voters through the PDC’s website.
King County Charter Amendment No. 3 - Granting the County Sheriff the authority to bargain working conditions for employees of the Sheriff’s office while reserving to the County Executive the authority to bargain compensation and benefits. NO POSITION
The Municipal League opposed the creation of a separately elected Sheriff in 1996, the voters disagreed and we now have this position. The question before voters is how to ensure the effectiveness and accountability of this position. We recognize the Sheriff’s need to have authority to control the conditions for which she will be held accountable. However, we are also concerned that bifurcating authority may not be a workable solution.
King County Proposition 1 —Authorizing King County to impose an additional sales and use tax of two-tenths of one percent (0.2%) to fund criminal justice services. OPPOSE
Our opposition to this measure should not be seen as an attack on criminal justice services. We argue that these services are extremely important to citizens of the county and deserve to be adequately funded through means other than an increased sales and use tax.
We agree that times are tough for King County but we are not convinced that King County government has exhausted all other revenue-generating and expense-cutting options and we are disappointed that voters are being asked to approve a sales tax to fund popular and essential public safety services. While this may be a politically expedient way to fill a funding gap, it’s a poor way to govern. Essential services should be protected, not exploited
The timing of this proposal is also imprudent. The people of King County are facing tumultuous economic times. It is unjust to ask individuals and businesses that are struggling with survival to give even more money to the County through sales taxes. The net effect of this increase is that King County will have the distinction of having the 7th highest sales tax in the country – hardly a calling card to enhance economic competitiveness.
We are sympathetic to the County’s financial predicament. Some difficult cuts have been made and County leadership is taking steps towards reform. However, the results of these reforms have yet to be seen. It is our position that the County should demonstrate significant progress on the road to reform before asking voters to approve additional taxing authority.
Copies of the full reports on these measures, pro and con arguments, and the rationale for our positions are available at: http://www.munileague.org/issues/ballot-issues