Thursday, February 02, 2006

I-776: Tyranny of the Majority.

Two days ago, the Seattle Times published an editorial regarding Tim Eyman's 2002 car tab initiative. The Seattle Times argues that since I-776 passed statewide, Sound Transit should be forced to stop collecting taxes in their three-county district.

I believe that this is misguided.

Sound Transit was formed as a district in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties by a vote in those three counties alone. The voters in that district supported taxing themselves - no one else - to fund light rail, commuter rail, bus and HOV projects in their own counties.

The I-776 vote passed the entire state - but failed in the Sound Transit district. The same voters who voted originally for Sound Transit voted to keep taxing themselves. I see no reason to allow the rest of the state of Washington to prevent the Sound Transit district from, with two consenting votes, continuing to exercise their right to self-govern.

I do recognize that Pierce County, of the three counties, did vote to approve I-776. I propose a solution: Continue collecting the MVET tax in King and Snohomish. Propose a different tax to Pierce County voters to make up the difference if they wish to continue funding Sound Transit. If they do not approve it, limit Pierce County projects to those which can be funded with other sources of income.

Any thoughts on this? I think that most of the arguments we've heard publicly so far come from individual interest in keeping or eliminating Sound Transit, not voter intent.


At 8:35 PM, Anonymous EvergreenRailfan said...

Pierce Transit has been a little conservative on the Sales Tax that funds it. It is only .6%, King County Metro is .8%, and Community Transit is .9%.

Ben, your compromise sounds good, and perhaps that un-tapped, .3% of Pierce Transit should be used for funding Pierce County Projects, such as expanding Tacoma LINK to TCC.

At 9:00 PM, Blogger Ben Schiendelman said...

If that sales tax can pay for it, sure - but Sounder service is also something that needs further capital investment in Pierce, and the Point Defiance Bypass for Cascades service is dependent on it. I'm not sure that there's enough money without the MVET.

At 9:54 PM, Anonymous EvergreenRailfan said...

Unfortunately thanks to Eyman on I-776, the MVET is no longer an option for Sound Transit, but perhaps since it has been more than 2 years, the legislature can repeal that, or amend it to say that it is re-instated and only the voters who approve it can repeal it. Nobody in Olympia seems to notice that now.


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