City Hall

McGinn Budget Likely to Include New Transportation Taxes

By Erica C. Barnett September 20, 2010

City hall sources say that Mayor Mike McGinn's budget, which he'll introduce next Monday, will include an increase in the commercial parking tax of at least 2.5 percent (on top of the 2.5 percent increase the city council passed yesterday) to help fill a $7.8 million shortfall in the city transportation department's budget.

The city council, which ultimately approves each year's budget, has said it has no interest in increasing the parking tax any further; if they say no to McGinn's request, they'll be forced to cut millions from SDOT's budget.

Additionally, McGinn may propose reinstating the so-called head tax, a $25-per-employee tax, paid by employers, on every employee at a large company who drives to work alone.

The council overturned the head tax last year, and seems extremely unlikely to reinstate it. That, too, will force the council to cut dramatically from the transportation department's budget.

In theory, the upcoming potential showdown puts McGinn in the driver's seat: By proposing revenue sources the council has said they won't accept, he's the one forcing the council to make cuts. In practice, it's hard to say which side the maneuvering will benefit.
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