House Bill 2563 would increase transit tax authority
HB 2563 was introduced by Representative Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34th) and referred the House Transportation Committee this week. This bill would give city, county, or transportation district officials the ability to impose the following tax increases:
- 1.5% MVET with majority vote of legislative body;
- 2% Capital Gains tax with majority vote of legislative body;
- Local retail fuel tax specifically for transit, subject to a public vote;
- New payroll taxes with majority vote of legislative body:
- Less than 49 employees, employer pays .1% of total payroll;
- 49-251 employees, employer pays .2% of total payroll;
- 251 or more employees, employer pays .3% of total payroll.
Last year, transit agencies in the Puget Sound region lobbied Olympia for more tax authority, blaming reliance on the sales tax for most of their funding. In January 2013, Pierce Transit threatened to cut 34% of bus service if they didn’t receive more tax money from the public. Five months later, Pierce Transit officials scaled back the planned cuts to 28%.
Fast forward to today, Pierce Transit is now adding bus service due to higher than expected sales tax revenues. Community Transit also plans service increases. However, King County Metro continues to threaten the public with their plan to cut 17% of bus service if they can’t get more tax money from King County residents.