Monday, September 30, 2013

Tacoma’s $10+ Million Utility Tax Hurts New Jobs and Local Businesses

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber opposes Prop 1 Utility Tax Increase.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber opposes the City of Tacoma’s Proposition 1 increasing utility taxes by 33% at a cost of over $10 million per year.

This measure, on the Fall ballot, proposes to increase the existing tax by 33% and add a $10+ million cost to consumers each year on their natural gas, electricity, telephone land lines and cell phone service bills. If passed, Proposition 1 would only partially fund basic road maintenance.

The reality is that this tax will be passed on to the customer on top of the City Council’s recently added $20 car tab tax that was supposed to go towards fixing our roads,” said Tom Pierson, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber President & CEO.

The City of Tacoma estimates that it needs roughly $800 million in additional revenue to fix existing transportation infrastructure inadequacies that the City has ignored for years. The proposed increase will take 80 years to correct existing problems – and hope that no new transportation needs occur.

The Chamber supports responsible and sustainable planning that will improve Tacoma’s roads with a comprehensive solution for fixing roads, not a band aid approach that the Council has put forward to the voters this fall,” Pierson stated.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber maintains that there are solutions aside from the Prop 1 Utility Tax hike:

•    Tacoma residents are now beginning to be charged the $20 license-tab fee adopted last year by the City.  These dollars should be used to fund road repair.
•    Allow the new Fiscal Sustainability Task Force to complete its work examining the City's revenue structure and budget deficit.
•    Allow the new Transportation Commission to advise the City on short-term and long-range transportation planning.
•    City Council must prioritize infrastructure maintenance with existing dollars.  The Council are currently spending less than 1% of its general fund budget on maintenance while other cities average nearly four times as much.

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