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Council’s Licata proposes adding parking tax, development fees to property tax levy for $930 million transportation plan

LevyMapFINAL-400x518A new proposal would allow Seattle to build a $930 million war chest to fund transportation projects across the city but would pay for more than a third of the total with a mix of an increased commercial parking tax, an employee tax, transportation-related fees on developments, and a smaller, $600 million property tax levy.

The proposal from City Council member Nick Licata was released Tuesday in advance of a public hearing on Mayor Ed Murray’s Move Seattle Levy, a proposed $930 million in transportation funding planned to be powered fully by property taxes.

Licata said his new plan should reduce the burden on “those on fixed and low incomes” and, he said, give the transportation levy its best shot at being approved by voters this fall.

“I believe we need to consider the size of the levy, and examine alternative funding sources, in an effort to reach the $930 million goal,” Licata said about the new proposal. “We should also consider the risk that a large levy might be less likely to pass, and consider the potential consequences.”

The Urbanist blog looked at how the two proposals would stack up:

Today’s median housing price is $450,000, which would translate to a 2016 tax bill for the average homeowner of $176 under Licata’s levy plan versus $277 under the Mayor’s. Homeowners of median valued units will pay $136 in the current year for the soon-to-expire Bridging the Gap levy.

In a statement, the Downtown Business Association called Licata’s plan “the wrong message to send to employers that are looking to create jobs in Seattle and those that are already here,” KING TV reported.

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5 thoughts on “Council’s Licata proposes adding parking tax, development fees to property tax levy for $930 million transportation plan

  1. Fixed incomes. I hope that those of us on fixed incomes, who bought modest homes long years back, but who face higher and higher property tax bills, can petition for exceptions from ever more additions to our yearly tax increases. I have no problem with paying fair-share taxes, but I don’t want to find myself forced out of my home by the eagerness with which representatives are to assume that everyone in a home can bear the increases.

    • Maggie, are you aware of the King County program which reduces property tax for qualified seniors? It can significantly decrease the total, and I believe you just have to be at least 62 and be below a certain income.

  2. Conversely, our $15 minimum wage (which I support) may already be seen as a employee tax for some segments of employment.

    At some point in our state, we’re going to have to get serious about tax reform: reduce property taxes, reduce sales tax, and implement a capital gains and income tax. All segments of our population need to contribute, and this seems like a reasonable compromise. Part of the problems we seem to have whenever funding issues for the state or municipal levels comes up is how do we get the middle and lower classes to fund it, while our high income households escape their fair share.

    • I think part of the problem with some of the income-tax proposals is that most of the large projects favor the city but collect from everywhere, and the rest of the state and county don’t want to pay for new sidewalks/bus routes they’ll never use. At least property taxes seem fair because they can be localized.
      Maybe a city-tax like NYC does?

  3. Why are there not a dozen plans for evaluation? What are the objectives? Why aren’t there online briefings and polls? Why don’t we hold our leaders accountable to do more and better work than two weak and only options? What have they considered?