The Seattle Times urges a No vote on Prop. 1, cites Metro’s failed promises and high costs

April 7, 2014

The Seattle Times published an editorial Saturday urging voters in King County to reject Proposition 1, saying the transit agency has not kept past promises and is not “thoroughly confronting its well-documented unsustainably high operating costs.”

Proposition 1 appears on the April 22nd ballot and would increase regressive sales taxes and yearly car fees to bolster Metro’s budget and spend money on road, transit, bike and pedestrian projects.  The car tab fee would increase to $60 a year and sales tax would go up .1%, to a total approaching 10% in most communities.

The Seattle Times points to Metro’s failure to deliver on past promises after receiving sales tax increases in 2000 and 2006, and mentions the Municipal League’s critical 2008 report on Metro’s high cost structure, noting for example that Metro had the third-highest-paid drivers in the country at that time.   A “No” vote would be a message for Metro to get unsustainable costs under control, perhaps by reaching a favorable conclusion in ongoing talks between managers and executives at Metro’s powerful unions.

Proposition 1’s regressive tax increases would fall hardest on those who could least afford it – the poor, the elderly, and the unemployed.  At the same time, Metro officials report that, without Proposition 1, the sales tax revenue they receive will reach record levels.  Metro now reports it will collect a windfall of $32 million above estimates in 2014, and officials say Metro revenues will be even higher in 2015, all under current tax rates.

For more information, Washington Policy Center’s “Citizens’ Guide to Proposition 1” is available here.