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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mayor Murray Wants to Re-Run Proposition 1 in Seattle to Save Metro

Posted by on Tue, May 13, 2014 at 12:19 PM

  • AH
You'll recall that Proposition 1, a sales tax and license fee combo to raise funding for King County Metro, failed at the ballot across King County in April. In a press conference this morning, Murray confirmed what we already knew: he wants Seattle voters, who approved Proposition 1 by an overwhelming margin, to vote on Prop. 1 on their own in order to save our Metro service.

Murray's plan will go before the Seattle Transportation District Board, which has until August 5 to refer it to the November ballot.

Under the plan, a $60 license fee and a 0.1 percent sales tax increase would raise $45 million—$15 million more than the revenue generated by last week's rival property tax proposal. Ben Schiendelman and his rebel group of transit advocates have suspended signature-gathering for that initiative. Schiendelman says he's "not sure" if any of the city council members will take up their proposal.

Murray, meanwhile, surrounded himself with a crowd of liberal establishment figures this morning, including King County Executive Dow Constantine, state lawmakers Jamie Pedersen, David Frockt, Joe Fitzgibbon, as well as a majority of Seattle City Council members, including Tim Burgess, Tom Rasmussen, Sally Clark, Jean Godden, and Sally Bagshaw. "I'm pretty confident this will pass," Burgess told me.

$3 million of the revenue from the plan would go into a Regional Partnership fund to shore up routes that cross into other cities and $2 million would establish a $20 low-income vehicle fee rebate. Additionally, the mayor plans to reallocate existing funds from Seattle's Department of Transportation to retain Metro's night owl routes, which are critical for night-shift workers who would otherwise be stranded.

The core of everyone's argument here is that this is the safest option. The state won't fund Metro, the cuts to bus service would be intolerable, Seattle voters already approved this flat tax plan once, so let's do it again. And it won't conflict with any other initiatives that could rely on property tax increases, namely universal preschool (although there is technically room for both). Burgess, who has made universal preschool his thing, told me he personally lobbied Murray against using property taxes to fund Metro. Apparently, he got his way.


Comments (33) RSS

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Rotten666 1
This is by far the best solution.
Posted by Rotten666 on May 13, 2014 at 12:33 PM · Report this
So Tim Burgess, our ex-Republican, anti-choice City Council member gets to dictate mayoral policy? Good to know.

Even though Prop 1 passed overwhelmingly in Seattle, keep in mind that it was a REGRESSIVE funding proposal, and when more progressive measures are available, perhaps we should consider them. Unless Tim Burgess is in charge.
Posted by DOUG. on May 13, 2014 at 12:46 PM · Report this
Kinison 3
I would love to see those threats of increased gridlock traffic come to light, assuming its true. If this fails and there ends up being carmageddon, then holy crap Seattle struck political gold and will be able to use that threat each and every time Metro funds run low. But if traffic is no different with or without those 25 Seattle routes, then thats one bluff that will always get called.
Posted by Kinison on May 13, 2014 at 1:02 PM · Report this
wisepunk 4
I am so fucking tired of this shit. The hinterlands reject something that effects Seattle and them because they don't want to pay. They then come back to Seattle, because we are about to get fucked in the city, and they ask us to pay for the city improvements AND a few bucks to continue service to the areas that voted it down.

3 million to shore up routes outside of the city? You are getting a no vote.

Exactly how much of our taxes will be used to pay for someone elses needs before we say enough?


If a bus is about to leave the city limits, and is getting funding to continue outside from these monies, fuck no. I'm done with paying for them.

I don't care, I don't care, I don't care if this is against a functioning transit system. Don't care if this means more cars on the road. I don't care that someone working late nights won't have a ride to feddy at 3 am. I. Don't Care.

Enough with those of us who live with the higher costs of living in city paying for our service and their service. Without painful consequences this will just continue to happen. The County and the State have continued to fuck us in the wallet for years becasue we roll over and let them. It's time for us to pinch our cheeks together and let the redneck faction find the 2 dollar whores in enumclaw rather than our beautiful city reared population.

Fuck them, they choose to live in squalor, let them fucking live in squalor. Let's stop trying to improve the lives of those who don't want them improved. Then let's see how they vote when the Seattle money spigot is turned off.

Posted by wisepunk on May 13, 2014 at 1:15 PM · Report this
Seems to be a lot of card-handling under the table, not good.

Burgess is making universal pre-school his marquee effort. Fine but he is also putting pressure on the school district for room for it that DOES NOT EXIST. The sooner he, and everyone else, understands that, the better outcomes for the effort.

But Burgess seems to more than willing to use a heavy hand and it makes me wonder what he will try on Seattle Schools.
Posted by westello on May 13, 2014 at 1:17 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 6
"I strongly approve of this regressive tax policy" - Mayor Murray's Donors
Posted by TheMisanthrope on May 13, 2014 at 1:17 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 7
Frack the suburbs

Try a progressive tax the Rich pay not a regressive tax the Poor pay
Posted by Will in Seattle on May 13, 2014 at 1:26 PM · Report this
masque of owls 8
Yeah, no, fuck that regional transportation fund noise. Other cities can fund their own damn transport, since that's EXACTLY what we're having to do here. No sharing. /angry only child
Posted by masque of owls on May 13, 2014 at 1:31 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 9
I want to know what the average bus commuter would need to pay if riders paid the cost. How much?
Posted by Pope Peabrain on May 13, 2014 at 1:36 PM · Report this
Eastpike 10
I agree that this is better. I am not in favor of raising property taxes, which are passed along to renters. Keeping housing costs down in the city will also keep the number of commuters down.
Posted by Eastpike on May 13, 2014 at 1:43 PM · Report this
Green Eyed Beer Slut 11
I can't get behind a sales tax increase, so I will continue to vote no. Also, with the kind of money this city must see from parking, commercial property taxes and tourism, I think they could find better sources of funding rather than sticking it to the people that can least afford it.
Posted by Green Eyed Beer Slut on May 13, 2014 at 1:50 PM · Report this
Cascadian 12
I don't like how this went down at all, but I can live with this outcome. Murray better follow through with his promises to use the property tax authority to pay for other things, though, or else this will reflect very poorly on his motives.
Posted by Cascadian on May 13, 2014 at 1:52 PM · Report this
sameorsimilar 13
Waaah Wahhhhh!! Me me me me me me me.
Posted by sameorsimilar on May 13, 2014 at 1:58 PM · Report this
For not-so-Wisepunk @4, you forget that some of those routes leaving Seattle are actually carrying Seattle taxpayers, taking them where they want to go. If we are truly interested in serving Seattle people, you can't ignore those riders, as you so abruptly do.
Posted by Citizen R on May 13, 2014 at 2:00 PM · Report this
Murray cracks me up. After his big meltdown on Friday morning, he was told by Council that he had to do a Seattle-only solution. Because that was opposite of what he said, Murray had to get Dow to create a special program to allow cities to go it alone so Murray would not look like an idiot. Murray is a weirdo.

Ignoring the Seventh Floor circus, the important news is that we now get to move ahead with a proposal that seems like it may pass and restore service.
Posted by thingvellir on May 13, 2014 at 2:05 PM · Report this
wisepunk 16
So? The fucking bus stops at the city limits. Let them figure it out from there. And fuck your smart mouth too.

I could live in a bigger house, in a nicer neighborhood, for less money, but I made the sacrifice. I live close to work, pay more for my place per sqft and I deal with gunfire out my back deck every few weeks. Let the wasteful fucker in maple valley not depend on me subsidizing their chosen lifestyle. If you work outside the city, then the pain of not having a route is something your employer can lobby for.

The reason they vote no EVERY GODDAMN TIME is becasue they know Seattle will capitulate. No more.
Posted by wisepunk on May 13, 2014 at 2:17 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 17
@14 - Then that's Seattle's rightful labor force being bused out on my dime to benefit the commerce and industry of some suburb! A suburb, for God's sake!

I say we built a city wall to keep the riffraff out, but also to keep the Seattleites in.
Posted by MacCrocodile on May 13, 2014 at 2:20 PM · Report this
MrBaker 18
"$3 million of the revenue from the plan would go into a Regional Partnership fund to shore up routes that cross into other cities…"
And employers. For whatever reason you failed to mention, hell, you could have copied and pasted, the fact that this slush fund would also be available to employers.

Here ya go, verbatim:
$3 million would establish a Regional Partnership Fund to partner with key suburban cities and employers to maintain cross-jurisdiction routes.…

I have bus "service" so poor that I have to drive, so I get to pay for tabs, and the sales tax, and the icing on this shit cake is that my money gets funneled to corporations that would have to be doing well enough to fund half of a metro bus route to benefit them.

Hey, lookie there, a prescription for a NO vote.
The council might want to dial back the hands of Mayor Overreach.

Prop 1 had transit and roads, this has transit and a little screw job. This isn't a rerun of Prop 1.
Don't be shocked if the people that are stuck with cars vote this down just like the Transportation Benefit District vote in 2011.
This vote will be closer than the Prop 1 vote.
Posted by MrBaker on May 13, 2014 at 2:21 PM · Report this
@everyone who's mad
While truncating lines at the city limits might help you be less angry about it, its really bad transportation planning. And its really not the focus of this proposal. If you are willing to vote no on this because some money gets spent on routes that spend part of their time in shoreline, you are very much throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
Posted by JonCracolici on May 13, 2014 at 2:42 PM · Report this
seatackled 21

Mr. Murray, tear down this wall.
Posted by seatackled on May 13, 2014 at 2:43 PM · Report this
JonnoN 22
@20 says you, in a wholly unconvincing way.
Posted by JonnoN on May 13, 2014 at 2:47 PM · Report this
Kinison 23
Remember when Dino Rossi lost the election by a re-count and suddenly all the far right Republicans in the state were screaming bloody murder, that in the the outcome of this unfair election, that the state should split in two.

Yes the far left liberals are basically acting like those far right Republicans after the election, simply because they didn't like the outcome. People like Wisepunk needs to go to the pet store, buy a leather leash and bite down hard whenever that hair up his ass starts to stand straight up.

I was one of many who lived in Seattle, commuted to the Bellevue for work, but got zero sympathy when Metro cut a dozen routes 3 years ago. Just how I had to adapt (by sitting at a bus stop for 20 minutes waiting to transfer), so will citizens of Seattle.
Posted by Kinison on May 13, 2014 at 2:49 PM · Report this
wisepunk 24
Why not live in Bellevue, Kinison?

I'm not trying to be a dick to everyone here, but this behaivor that Seattle must pay has to end sometime.

I would love to have this service extended to everyone in the county, but it wasn't voted that way. And it turned out that way because those people outside of Seattle don't want to pay. Now they want to extend service there anyway, and just have Seattle pay for it. I say bullshit. Let's keep our money here, to serve our people here.

Maybe we just add a new zone at the seattle city limits. Suddenly bus fare goes up a buck when you cross the line either way. I'm just done with hearing how we as Seattlites have not sacrificed enough of our money to ensure the lifestyle of non-Seattlites. Each locality can have a vote to see if they want to pay for these services and cut the dollar fee. I bet Bellevue and Redmond would be the first ones on the list to have that vote, once they here enough from Seattle commuters that have to pay an extra 40 bucks a month to make it to the eastside for work.

@20 I agree 100% it is shitty transportation planning. It is stupidity at it's highest. But it's what the people out there asked for.
Posted by wisepunk on May 13, 2014 at 3:24 PM · Report this
@9 Assuming positive intent here, and you did not know where to find that:…

Cost per boarding for the bus: $4.25

Farebox recovery: 29% (believe includes paratransit services, and reflects the impact of transfers on the per boarding number.)

So, depends how you want to calculate it. If you eliminate transfers, $4.25. If you don't, divide your fare (peak, off-peak, zones, etc.) by .29 to get your specific answer.
Posted by Action Slacks on May 13, 2014 at 5:28 PM · Report this
I think Ben S had the better plan, which he is suspending in the interest of uniting support and demonstrating good will to City Hall. If Murray was less petty, he would seize this olive branch and involve Ben in the negotiations.
Posted by wxPDX on May 13, 2014 at 5:48 PM · Report this
TCLballardwallymont 28

Worth noting that those are 2012 numbers. I believe we're pushing close to $5 currently, a tad higher if you're only looking at buses rather than including dart, slut, etc.
Posted by TCLballardwallymont on May 13, 2014 at 6:14 PM · Report this
Hernandez 30
Does anyone know (maybe I just missed it) what the polling is like for 3 property tax increases on the November ballot? Yes, we have the levy capacity, I get that. But are we going to end up sacrificing one or more of buses, parks, and pre-k if we load up the ballot with all of them at once?
Posted by Hernandez on May 13, 2014 at 6:18 PM · Report this
Um, a 20 dollar low income fee, isn't that just a nice way of saying the poor are only going to get screwed out of 40 bucks instead of 60?
Posted by j2patter on May 13, 2014 at 10:28 PM · Report this
@30 -- Parks is not on the November ballot; it's on August 5 Primary. And it's not a regular levy; it creates a new municipal corporation with separate taxing authority at twice the current level. With no voting ever again. See… for some debate on parks issue.
Posted by TobyinFremont on May 13, 2014 at 10:50 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 33
@26 I know it's subjective but that's not very much. Fifty a week for two way seat a day. Thanks.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on May 14, 2014 at 4:02 AM · Report this
@32 I like parks, and I love the arboretum. I think our city benefits from a strong park system. I don't know that it needs all the things in that article, which reads like a wish list. That's kind of a lot of money -- couldn't they maintain current service for less?
Posted by wxPDX on May 14, 2014 at 7:50 AM · Report this
Hernandez 35
@32 Cool, thanks for the clarification and the link.
Posted by Hernandez on May 14, 2014 at 9:19 AM · Report this
Kinison 36
@27 Ben is just a blogger, he isnt elected or appointed and carries no measured skills that show his expertise. Why would you invite anyone like that in? Its like inviting a scifi movie fan to help co-write the latest star wars movie.
Posted by Kinison on May 16, 2014 at 8:59 AM · Report this

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