Opponents of Proposition 1, which creates a seamless countywide emergency communications system called South Sound 911, are making lots of incorrect claims.
Let’s set the record straight.
CLAIM: This is a permanent tax.
FACT: As a member of your Pierce County Council, I sponsored the amendment that placed an air-tight “sunset clause” on the sales tax increase. The one-tenth of one percent sales tax will expire in 25 years, after the construction bonds are paid off. It would take voter approval to renew it.
CLAIM: The government will “quietly” shift this tax to other areas after the capital needs are paid off.
FACT: This would be illegal. A state law, RCW 82.14.420, authorizes counties to ask voters to increase the sales tax by one-tenth of one percent solely to finance, design, build and operate “emergency communication systems and facilities.”
CLAIM: There are “undisclosed taxes and fees.”
FACT: There is only one new tax. The rest of the funding comes from existing 911 revenue sources.
CLAIM: This is only the county government’s problem.
FACT: Approximately 40 police and fire agencies in the county will get necessary radio equipment for their personnel. At least four local dispatch agencies will merge into a better, more efficient operation.
Voting for this new tax was not easy. But after many hours of hearings and reviewing the data, I concluded it was necessary to enhance public safety. Check out www.fix911.org before you vote, and learn more.
(Dick Muri is a councilmember for Pierce County Council District 6)