This Washington

Seattle Senator Introduces Commercial Parking Tax Compromise

By Erica C. Barnett March 25, 2011



In the wake of legislation yesterday that would give the University of Washington a 50 percent break on the city's 12.5 percent commercial parking tax (and cap the tax, which Mayor Mike McGinn wants to increase, at its current level), state Sen. Scott White (D-46) has introduced legislation that would allow the city to charge a per-stall fee for every non-city-owned parking stall in the city, including those at the University of Washington.

The bill, which White's office characterizes as a placeholder in anticipation of similar legislation in the future, would allow Seattle to impose a fee on every non-city-owned commercial parking stall in the city. The per-stall fee would apply not just to commercial (paid) parking lots but to free lots like those at Northgate. A per-stall fee would cost the UW less than the commercial parking tax, but would almost certainly be opposed by businesses whose parking is currently free.

Losing UW's commercial parking tax revenue would cost the city approximately $3 million a year; the 50 percent tax break would cost the city around $1.5 million a year.
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