Morning Fizz

Morning Fizz: Murray's Metro Plan

Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring property taxes, endorsements, and 2016.

May 12, 2014

1. Mayor Ed Murray is scheduled to announce a proposal on Tuesday to prevent the pending Post-Proposition-1-cuts to Metro bus service in Seattle.

Fizz hears that the mayor—with King County Executive Dow Constantine and other transit, environmental, and social justice groups standing by his side (and perhaps even advocates of an initial Seattle-only property tax measure that was filed after the  Prop. 1 defeat)—will unveil a Seattle-only proposal of his own that looks very much like last month's Prop. 1—a sales tax with a $60 vehicle license fee (along with a rebate for lower-income people).  

Last month, voters defeated Prop. 1, a 0.1 percent sales tax and $60 vehicle license fee,  53.95-46.05, cuing up 15 percent cuts to the county bus system coming this September. The measure to stop the cuts won big in Seattle proper, but got crushed countywide, which prompted local calls for a Seattle-only fix for city service. Immediately after the last month's losing vote, transit activists filed an initiative and started a signature gathering effort for a property tax increase to fund Seattle buses.

But with plans for a pre-K property tax in the works—plus next year's bridging the gap renewal for street and sidewalk maintenance, pedestrian, bike, and safety programs, and some transit funding too—Murray was worried about maxing out the city's property tax capacity. (Murray and the council are also sending a property tax measure for parks to voters this fall, though the Metropolitan Parks District will be a separate authority and so won't cut into city taxing authority. However, it could add to voter property tax fatigue.)

Murray has already lined up a majority of the City Council to support his plan. 

As we reported late Friday afternoon, Murray's staff and other transit activists have convinced the property tax advocates to put their drive on hold until they see what the mayor has in mind.

Fizz has also heard Murray has already lined up a majority of the City Council to support his plan, and so we imagine a few council members will be joining him on Tuesday as well.

While the city put a losing $60 car tab proposal on the ballot in 2011—it paid for a bigger mix of transportation needs. With a singular focus on buses—and with the reality of cuts front-and-center for Seattle voters, who supported Prop. 1—bus advocates think it can pass this time.   

2. The Washington State Labor Council issued its 2014 election endorsements on Saturday, going almost exclusively with Democrats, no surprise; though they did endorse state Sen. Pam Roach (R-31, Auburn).

Explanation: Sen. Roach is facing a Republican challenger, state Rep. Cathy Dahlquist (R-31, Enumclaw), an "ed reformer" rival of the teachers' union. Roach sided with the Democrats earlier this year to vote against a bill from GOP leadership to make statewide testing part of teacher evaluations. 

What will be more interesting, quite frankly, is to see who the WSLC endorses for governor in 2016; Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee alienated labor during the Boeing contract standoff by weighing in at all and he also supported the teacher evaluation bill ... because without the change, the state ran afoul of federal funding guidelines. 

3. Already?

Neumos is hosting a "Ready for Hillary" fundraiser on June 2 with former Gov. Chris Gregoire, U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA, 7) and U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA, 9).

Tickets range from $20.16 to $100 (the "Above the Glass Ceiling" price, which includes VIP bar) to $201.60 (or bring 10 guests) to Co-chair prices: $800.16.




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