May 23, 2006
Nix Biz Transportation Tax On Seattle Companies
If you live in Seattle, you know - and so do your shock absorbers - that the streets are shot. If you have any sense of pride in your city, you also wonder about crumbing public stairways. If you ride a bicycle, it is hard not to notice the haphazard, discontiguous layout of the bike paths. The question is whether, and how much, new revenues are needed to fix the local transportation infrastructure. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels is proposing a 20-year $1.8 billion plan to fix Seattle's worn-down streets and sidewalks. Of the several funding mechanisms proposed, one is particularly statist and odious: a head tax on each employee working in Seattle, paid by their employers. From the Puget Sound Business Journal's report:
The funding package would raise another $5.5 million in its first year through a new business transportation tax of $25 per full-time employee working in Seattle, with exemptions for workers who receive subsidized transit passes from their employer. Any company with Seattle employees would pay the tax, whatever the company's location.
This is a slippery slope; a tax that if approved is certain to be raised, and raised and raised. It is also unduly punitive to business, and invokes a philosophy that employee acccess to downtown should be a privilege, not a right. Ultimately, this approach is injurious to the business climate.
The city council would have to approve this "business transportation tax," and a proposed 10 percent commercial parking tax that is also part of the mayor's proposal. Another revenue component is a property tax hike requiring voter approval. As a Seattle homeowner, I could conceivably stomach that, but would first need to see the results of an outside performance audit on the efficacy of the city's transportation infrastructure maintenance spending in the last several budget cycles. That the current city council is no more likely to append such a stipulation than it is to pass a resolution lauding Donald Rumsfeld tells me we need some new blood on the council.
Faye Garneau of the Aurora Merchants Association tells the Seattle Times:
"I thought the city's responsibility was to maintain itself. I thought that's what we paid taxes for. I guess I'm naive. If this proposal should pass, then all of the rents are going to go up because the property owners aren't going to pay the tax out of their profits. They're going to raise rents on apartments, on retail locations," Garneau said. "It's a vicious cycle of inflation we start simply because we're not spending our tax dollars properly."
The whole city budget process should be reformed, and a clean slate approach instituted; each and every department and program should be scrutinized to see what real justification exists for its continuance.
Posted by Matt Rosenberg at May 23, 2006
08:15 AM | Email This
1. Matt, this will pass. Get thee from Seattle.
First, you have to get rid of 10-15% of the employees that are in "make work" jobs. I don't mean these people aren't working hard or aren't good people or don't care. I mean positions that have become entrenched in the culture that don't really contribute to the definition of what government should be doing.
Second, you will still need more money to fix the roads. Find some kind of funding mechanism, like robbing the general fund of monies that were supposed to go to fixing the roads, but somehow they got diverted to the general fund by Enron-type accounting.
City street maintenace is a basic function of city government. The priority of Seattle City leaders is apparently so out of whack that they do not consider street maintenance important enough to deal with unless citizens pay even more. what a crock.
Nickels ought to look over at Sammamish, where we are doing things in the right order. Roads get maintained, and somehow we are not having to pay extra taxes to see it happen!
4. What century is Nickels living in? Hasn't he figured out there are other places in the Puget Sound that has a population? Seattle is no longer the only city around, businesses will move and the net tax collected from this will probably be negative.
I for one can't stomach yet another tax on property owners. I'm sick and tired of being treated as an ATM for those who should exercise fiscal responsibility rather than dream up new ways to tax and spend.
One of the proposed expenditures is for mowing grass. Ever notice how "public" grass is mowed in this city? By civil servants driving city owned trucks using city owned equipment. How much could be saved by contracting that out? How many other functions are done by civil servants here that are done under contract in other cities.
As much as I detest citizen panels and or committiees that seem to accomplish little something needs to be done to review the functions that are carried out by city employees that could be done under contract. Start with gardening, painting lines in streets, street cleaning .......
And while we're at it why is Moby Mayor bent on exempting insurance companies and insurance agents from the proposed tax? What favor or free lunch is he gaining from that?
Every democrat mayor from Charlie Royer on, has done the exact same thing. Spend tons of money on non-essential items, non-essential people and totally worthless programs, while utterly neglecting the very basic requirements of "government."
Royer raised this very specter, using many of the same, exact bridges and roads, to screw about 200 million out of the taxpayers in about 1980 or so. If the "oh, so intelligent anointed" of Seattle fall for this again, too bad.
Start investing in suburban commercial and retail space. If this passes, business will flock to the other side of the city limits, especially when the tax rises.
Channel 7, during their coverage of this last night, did the unthinkable and I'm sure someone lost their job for it. They showed an earlier photo of Nickels, before all those luxury rides in his Caddy, then cut over to the press conference. You should have seen the weight gain! Of course I doubt the city will be paying the $25 for him and his ride, even if it has become a big business perpetuating bad ideas and programs.
watch for a push to increase the property taxes of cities around seattle so there will be no escape for the middle class -- ie the Redmond's proposed massive tax hike -- have a feeling that this is part of the Democrats "teaching" the voters the upside of an income tax --
And this is just the start -- later in the year the public schools are going to ask for a massive building bond (to build schools for children who will never use them) + plus increase the pay of local union teachers -- it too will pass --
ya really gotta appreciate the artful imbecility of Nickels.
He is doing all that he can to fu@k Seattle into the ice age, and if him and his cadre of liberal nitwits have their way, he’ll come close to doing it.
In my youth I loved Seattle, she was pretty and clean and approachable, but now in her later years has become a toothless disease-ridden whore. Like Charles says, it started with Mayor Royer gilding the lily. Seattle didn't need phony sophistication; it needed conservative guidance and sensible spending priorities. Nickels will screw businesses, charge more for everything, plaster on a pretty face, and buy accoutrements so that Seattle can pose as a princess, but she will continue to be a whore because that is in Seattle's established liberal character. And Nickels will turn her out in style – on your dime.
Seattle is not THAT BAD, it can get worse. Liberals are like teenage children, they will not bother to do the right things (hard work) until forced to do them or until it is completely, absolutely, and positively necessary, and sometimes not even then. Hell, they have no idea what the right things are. They need adults (conservatives)to spell it out. In coming years we will see things get much worse. The old days are gone and the spirit of a clean reasonably honest and livable Seattle no longer exist – so for all I care – go ahead Nickels -- ruin it.
The ONLY THING THAT WILL EVER RESCUE SEATTLE FROM ITS OWN MESS is CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP or a disaster (natural or not). SOMETHING WILL HAPPEN. Which can you imagine will come first?
With Nickels pimping, Seattle will continue to be an example to point to when saying – if you don’t like being a street bum or whore – don’t do things like that.
mayor buzz light rail
"Tax Seattle...to infinity and beyond!!!"
Sorry guys, this is really entertaining to those of us not in Seattle or King County.
BTW I saw Lot's wife running down SB I-5 yesterday afternoon near Fife.
You are so right. I was born and raised in Seatttle and now live in Redmond. I just sold that house and will be moving even farther out as the shadow of Nickels' ample girth WILL spread accross the lake and surrounding burbs. I think that only bankruptsy will open the eyes (and minds) of Seattle's liberal elite. Even then, they'll blame it on GWB's policies.
Everyone get out while you can - SAVE YOURSELVES!!!!
I got particular pleasure in telling a family member of mine, a City of Seattle Council member, that the company I work for has been looking for property outside of King County for some time now. I have always lived out of King County and I always will.
They stand clueless to the idea that I, and people like me do not throng to live in Seattle or King County as they do. Have your city, special projects and city leaders hell-bent on eliminating effective access to the city (ie: the Viaduct).
Although, to their credit, said family member is supporting either a rebuilt viaduct, or if money is available, the tunnel option.
Here's a great make-work project for Seattle to spend our tax dollars on, pooper scoopers for human feces and urine sprayer offers. Every morning I see the shop owners doing this themselves. This should be done by Seattle Mayor, KC Exec, Seattle and KC Council members and their aides.
Based on the amount of shite I see on Seattle's sidewalks, I guess the bums are not using the taxpayer funded, million dollar public toilets. Hmmm.
If we can only hold out a few more years when I retire, you can have your income tax. That will be perfect for me.
I have talked to several car dealers. They get billed as a B&O tax. When things are going good, it is okay, but sometimes they are paying a lot of taxes when they aren't making money. They want some sort of tax that takes into account their income in lieu of the B&O tax.
15. The proposed property tax increase in Redmond actually failed by a fairly significant margin (roughly 62-38%.) Even around here, people can figure out that pleading poverty after building yourself an expensive new city hall doesn't work very well. I would be willing to bet you could look on most city budgets around here and find public art funding put well ahead of road maintenance and emergency services though.
16. instead of "valuable" mandatory diversity training, how about mandatory school nursery rhyme & story refreshers for politicians? killing the golden goose? (more taxes, new city head taxes) crying wolf? (school finance & fiasco); three blind mice (Seattle Council effectiveness & leadership); hmmm---no money for Seattle road repairs yet plenty for an 'art park' on the waterfront? not a peep ever about comprehensive audits to isolate waste and living within one's fiscal means; You voted them in--YOU asked for it!