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Pierce Transit would get new taxing authority under Rep. Marko Liias bill

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Jan. 25, 2011 at 3:30 pm with 19 Comments »
January 25, 2011 5:00 pm

Voters could decide next month to pay more in sales tax to keep bus service steady in Pierce County (Kris Sherman’s weekend story has the details). But what happens if they reject Proposition 1?

Cuts, cuts and more cuts, Pierce Transit says. But there’s an outside chance the Legislature could provide them with another option.

House Bill 1536 would give struggling transit agencies in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties access to a tax that wouldn’t require voter approval.

Through 2013, the agencies could collect a “congestion reduction charge” from drivers of up to $30 each time they renew their car tabs. Agencies would have to put together a congestion plan.

Democratic Rep. Marko Liias put out a news release about his bill that quotes the leaders of Community Transit in Snohomish and Metro Transit in King. Unsurprisingly given the upcoming vote, no one from Pierce Transit chimes in.

I asked Pierce Transit spokesman Lars Erickson about it. He stopped short of guaranteeing the agency wouldn’t use the option, but said it is “focused” on securing a more permanent (and likely much larger) revenue source with Proposition 1’s three-tenths-of-a-cent sales tax increase.

“Any kind of option that would diversify funding is important, but for us, we’re really focused on our long term sustainable funding,” Erickson said.

Unlike Pierce Transit, which is trying to move up to the maximum sales tax it can legally take in, nine-tenths of a cent, Metro and Community transit are both already at that ceiling. They say they still need more money, and this bill would bring in up to $38 million for Metro Transit alone, according to Liias.

Metro Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond made the case for it in the news release:

This new funding source will help offset Metro’s shortfall until a sustainable longer-term statewide funding solution is developed. This temporary bridge funding will help us preserve bus service, which will be critical in supporting access to jobs as the region’s economy improves.

Similar efforts by Liias have failed in past years. This time, the bill has an impressive list of more than 30 cosponsors, including transportation chairwoman Judy Clibborn and the top Republican for transportation, Rep. Mike Armstrong.

Tim Eyman slammed the bill in a news release, saying authorizing more tax revenue is “arrogant and disrespectful of the voters” considering they rejected taxes last November.

Leave a comment Comments → 19
  1. nonstopjoe says:

    Instead of $30 tabs on vehicles put a $30 surcharge on telephones and pets (dogs, cats, etc.).

  2. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    OK Tim Eyman, I see many in Olympia using the “Fee” word for everything unde the sun. Now a tax called “congestion reduction charge”. Who the heck thinks up these ideas.

    Tim, it’s time for another initiative for $30 tabs. The last time I paid $86 for my work truck. Count me in for a donation and signature collection. Tim, you are the only one that can save us from these tax and spend dummies.

    Don’t they get it. Cut, Cut, Cut, and CUT! We need fewer $70,000 a year drivers and $100,000 plus bean counters.

  3. the arrogance that these bureaucrats exhibit is astounding

  4. jetalmanac says:

    Shame on all of them… They have reached new heights to skirt the will of the people. Diversification of funding..? Call it what it really is….. sodomy disguised as a ‘congestion reduction fee’.

  5. What part of “no” didn’t you hear in November, Marko? Voters said no to a state income tax, no to 2 cents on a can of pop, King County voters said no to a tiny sales tax increase for always popular criminal justice, and liberal Edmonds voters — folks who Rep. Marko Liias supposedly represents — trounced higher car tab fees.

    You can read the rest here:

  6. If the Republicans are for the Increase,then I will be voting for any and all Democrats! At least we know what the Democrats are thinking and don,t hide behind a pretense of taxing us for our own good.I hope Tim Eyman mounts opposition to this farce!I would rather give 30 dollars for opposing this disgrace of representation than pay for something I oppose.The favorite money pit from our so called Reps seem to be our vechicles,Via taxes on gas or licenses fees.The list of,do not vote for these people is growing!!Temporary is an unknown.

  7. lovethemountains says:

    Did anyone really think the lower vehicle license fees would stay lower?

    “Diversification of funding?” “Congestion reduction charge?” These money sucking people have got to be thinking they can throw out new phrases and buzz words and the taxpayers will be bamboozled. Arrogance. Dump them back to their respective communities and forget them…..until they file to run for another public office.

  8. hortonpeak says:

    Would someone please pull the collective heads of D’s out of their … That said, the R’s are just as bad playing games with their spineless “No” votes. Meantime Eyman laughs all the way to the bank, the folks bankrolling the “Tea Party” laughs all the way to the bank and the rest of us just tear at each other’s throats. May I suggest folks read, “The Fall of the House of Zeus”. Not from a partisan perspective but from the perspective that most of us are simply fodder for the con artists of all stripes. Think about it. Cheers.

  9. UnbiasedReporter says:

    They keep sounding like a constant replay of ABBA songs

    “give me give me give me”

    “money money money”

  10. BigSwingingRichard says:

    Does anyone ever wonder why we need Tim Eyman looking out for us? Marco and all his Democratic friends is the reason why.

    Let’s get this started right now; Tim Eyman for Governor. We need the veto pen in Tim Eyman’s hands.

  11. What part of “NO” don’t these politicians understand??? No more taxing authorities without the approval of the people!!! Taxpayers, vote NO on any and all monetary initiatives that show up on your ballots…maybe that will be one way to get their attention!!!

  12. hortonpeak says:

    Do you think Eyman is looking out for you or has he found another way to fleece folks? You have “flim-flam” folks like Eyman, tone deaf politicians like many D’s, spineless “no’ votes by R’s, and meantime the “common folk” just try to get along. In a nutshell, the political process has become dysfunctional. How do we deal with it? Perhaps a good starting point is to call “bullshit” when it is “bullshit”. But, do not respond to “bright and shiney things” like the “Tea Party”. Let’s start doing some thinking out their folks but then that may be just too damn hard since it requires effort. It is much easier to just find the “guru”, profit (tongue in cheek), godlike Eyman, or anyone else who makes it easier. Cheers.

  13. gerry0416 says:

    We said no new taxes and we meant no new taxes – it doesn’t matter what you call them. I don’t know where this idiot (Marko Liias) is from, but hopefully his constituents will send him to the unemployment line at the first available opportunity.

  14. Ha Ha! We don’t need your approval of prop 1! We’ll just get 30 from you when you renew your car tabs!!! Ha Ha!!!!

  15. Any money that is given to Tim Eyman has been earned! He has done far more for the Washington taxpayer than all of the members of our tax,tax,tax,and spend,spend,spend lawmakers put together! Tim is disliked because he keeps pulling the wool off the voters eyes but the politicos keep putting the wool back on! I see by some of the comments that some of the populance like the treatment the legislature dishes out.The elected officials love this type of obedience.They don,t like being questioned on any decision they make.

  16. MadTaxpayer says:

    Get rid of this idiot!

  17. Concernedfather says:

    Tre, you are the reason we are sending bus drivers to the unemployement line. You helped break the system, and we are cutting your phat adz off.
    Boo hoo hoo, so sorry for you.

  18. TheOutlawJoseyWhales says:

    The private sector could do the job far better and nobody would have to pay a tax. Even I could build a transportation system which is affordable, efficient, tax-free and would be able to support retirements. The government can’t do it, and will never be able to do it. Government is incompetent at everything. Everything.

  19. Concernedfather says:

    Pierce Transit is not sustainable, it is disdainable!

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