The Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters of Seattle-King County has voted to endorse King County Proposition 1, which will appear on the April 22, 2014 ballot and will authorize King County to enact a $60 annual vehicle fee and a one-tenth-of-a-cent increase in the sales tax; both would sunset after 10 years. Given the strong positions that both the State and Seattle-King County Leagues have on the need to adequately fund multi-modal transportation, along with positions for clean air, safety and energy efficiency and the lack of other viable funding alternatives at this time, this legislation is necessary to provide for needs of the cities and rural areas of the County. We are concerned that without this funding the County’s transportation infrastructure will continue to deteriorate as it has since the beginning of the economic downturn. In 2009 Metro, the King County Council, and the King County Executive took actions to address the declining sales tax and preserve transit service. Those options are now expiring and the Washington State lawmakers have been unable to move on legislation that would provide other funding alternatives for both transit and roads.
The LWVS-KC continues to support work toward a more balanced and progressive taxation structure. We are concerned that Washington State’s tax structure has forced us to be dependent on sales tax, along with this flat rate tab fee, as a cornerstone for transportation infrastructure funding.
Some mitigation to address our concerns regarding equity in the tax burden and sustainability was built into the legislation: A low-income fare and youth fare would be set at $1.50 starting in 2015.The eligibility threshold for the low-income fare would be 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, currently $22,980 for an individual. Adults in a family of four earning up to $47,100 would also be eligible. Car owners below 45% of the median county income will qualify for a $20 rebate on their vehicle license fee. Having to apply for the rebate can be a barrier to fairness. If the Washington State legislature enacts legislation that grants new authorization for county transportation revenues, the King County TBD board shall consider whether to reduce or eliminate the continued collection of the sales tax and vehicle fee.
Each year, the state League sets priorities for action during the session. You can see the 2014 priorities here. Team members then follow bills relating to the priorities. To follow the action, sign up for the legislative newsletter - a weekly email with a rundown on the bills being followed by the team members. In addition, the LWVWA organizes a lobby day to fight for issues that we have taken a stand on. Lobby days generally include a briefing on the issues, meeting with legislators and attending committee meetings or hearings. To find out how to join the Lobby Team, contact the state League office at (206) 622-8961 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Letters and Testimony
The League of Women Voters of Seattle-King County regularly communicates positions on public issues through letters and testimony to elected officials. Letters and testimony are available for review at our Seattle office.
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