Letter to the Editor: Vote against Community Transit’s proposed tax increase

Dear Editor:

In November, many Snohomish County voters will be asked to increase the Retail Sales and Use Tax by .3 percent to benefit Community Transit. (Proposition 1)

Washington State Department of Transportation lists Community Transit as one of the most expensive transit agencies in the state.

Voters should ask Community Transit to manage their budget before asking working families to forfeit part of their budget.

Jeff Scherrer

  1. Community Transit provides a valuable service for thousands of Snohomish County residents and reduces commuter traffic into and out of Seattle. Before scolding Community Transit, find out why it’s so expensive to run. Maybe logistics prevent them from running leaner. Become part of the solution.

  2. The sales tax increase is substantial and is essentially the most regressive means of achieving increases in revenue. One-third of the sales tax increase would be spent to fund a bus line between Boeing’s Paine Field plant and Canyon Park – those are not economically disadvantaged areas. Microsoft managed to pay for a freeway offramp in Issaquah that benefited its employees. Boeing can cough up part of the $8B in tax breaks it received from the state to make its employees’ commutes smoother in that three-mile stretch of I-405. For that matter, the mechanics and engineers employed by Boeing can pay into that as well, through the fare box with a specific fee for that one new line.

    Gradual increases in revenues are called for but community partners can be asked to pay into portions of service increase that are a direct benefit to them. Hitting the poorest citizens the hardest isn’t smart, isn’t fair, and isn’t necessary. But bullying those least able to defend themselves is at least easiest, and so we see a sales tax increase on the budget. How progressive.

    Seattle Metro’s proposal was voted down and Metro is still around. Sending a message to Community Transit, and to Boeing, that we expect them to live within our means is reasonable, not scolding.

    0.3% is too much and too soon. If it takes a failed proposition to make that point, that’s what it takes.

  3. I’m with you all on the coming ballot measure, but would appreciate some consistency on the subject of who pays and who benefits from transit generated tax increases. Maybe this commentary could enlighten us all as to who pays and who is expected to benefit from light rail coming up I-5 past Mountlake Terrace to Lynnwood and eventually to Everett. That is a corridor long served by buses.

    For all of the additional retail sales taxes Snohomish County residents have and will cough up for the Sound Transit mega-project, we could transport all of the poor and rich citizens of the area by bus anywhere they wanted to go along many transportation corridors. Sound Transit is fixed rail serving only one.

  4. Community is vital to Snohomish County. They are providing an important service to those who work in Seattle and many others in the community. Why would anyone want to go crazy driving into downtown and then pay someone to park their car? Why would the public want to further clog the streets and freeways? The bus is here to stay and you should be grateful that it is. Some communities aren’t as lucky as Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Edmonds, Everett, and other cities in Shonomish Counties. Appreciate what you have and work to perserve it. Think about what the environment would be without public transportation. Don’t deprive you fellow citizens of a much needed service that plays such a critical role in the counties future. Monette

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