Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Council Proposes Utility Tax Increase

The Tacoma City Council, by unanimous voice vote, approved placing on the Nov. 5, 2013 ballot a proposal to increase utility taxes by 2% for roads.

Along with a few business executives, the Chamber testified during the public comments section against rapid approval of the Resolution 38700.  A draft of the resolution was only proposed late Tuesday, July 16 at a Council Committee of the Whole.

As explained in an earlier Live Wire blog article, the Chamber recognizes the critical need for better roads in our community, but is concerned about the immediate passage to the ballot of this tax increase.  Indeed, during Council comments, Councilmember Joe Lonergan solicited from Kurtis Kingsolver, Interim Director, Tacoma Public Works, that this funding option for road improvements has never been vetted by any committee.

The Chamber urged caution in rapid approval of the resolution because:
  • The impacts of this tax increase on our community and economy are unknown.
  • The process has not taken advantage of the system of citizens’ committees the Council has just put into place.
  • This tax is just a small increment to the financing needs for Tacoma’s roads and is not part of a comprehensive plan.
The Chamber has not yet taken a position on the proposed tax increase.  In arriving at its decision on this issue, the Chamber will follow its committee procedure and seek its Board’s approval for adopting policy.

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