Legislature gives cities, counties right to raise taxes - after
TURNER; The News Tribune
Olympia, WA - The Legislature late Tuesday voted to give cities and
counties the power to boost their property and sales taxes, as long
as they get voter approval first.
The Senate approved Senate Bill 5659 by a hefty margin, even after
an intensive lobbying campaign - largely by e-mail - that antitax
crusader Tim Eyman and supporters mounted to get the measure defeated.
Sen. Don Carlson (R-Vancouver) took note of the e-mails just before
he voted in favor of the measure. Most of the e-mails he received
from constituents and others were deceptive, Carlson said.
Eyman's e-mails characterized the bill, sponsored by Sen. Shirley
Winsley (R-Fircrest), as a huge tax increase. However, the e-mails
omitted the fact that no local taxes would be raised unless local
voters approved them in an election.
SB 5659 would allow counties to raise the local sales tax by as much
a 0.3 percent and share the money with cities. It also would let counties
raise their property tax collections by as much as 6 percent a year
for six years at a time, as long as voters approve.
Winsley said local governments, particularly Pierce County, are chafing
under tax limitations imposed by Initiative 747. The measure, put
on the ballot by Eyman's supporters and approved by voters in 2001,
says local governments can increase their property tax collections
by no more than 1 percent unless voters approve a higher amount each
Winsley said elections for the tax increase could be held only on
the date of the September primary or November general elections, not
in the spring.
The House also approved the measure, which now goes to the governor.