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Tacoma City Council “yea;” Bonney Lake City Council “nay” on Pierce Transit sales tax hike

Post by Kris Sherman / The News Tribune on Jan. 27, 2011 at 1:47 pm with 10 Comments »
January 27, 2011 4:51 pm
Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland
Bonney Lake Mayor Neil Johnson

It’s been an interesting week for Pierce Transit’s Proposition 1, which seeks voter approval for a three-tenths of 1 percent increase in the sales tax to pay for bus service.

The transit agency drew a draw Tuesday night in the category of city councils supporting or opposing the measure on the Feb. 8 ballot.

Pierce Transit already  collects a .6 percent sales  tax. Proposition 1  would  raise that to .9 percent – or nine  cents  on a  $10 purchase.

Tacoma City Council members unanimously approved a resolution in support of the tax hike. The vote was 8-0 with Councilman Spiro Manthou absent. Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland is co-chair of the Save Our Buses campaign and a member of the Pierce Transit board of directors.

The same evening, over in Bonney Lake, that city’s council unanimously adopted a resolution opposing the proposed sales tax increase. You can read reporter Sara Schilling’s blog post on the meeting here.

You can see the full resolution here.

Meanwhile, a resolution urging voters to say no to the added transit tax is scheduled  for consideration by the Pierce County  Council when it meets at 3 p.m. Tuesday. It’s  sponsored  by  Dick  Muri, R-Steilacoom.

Councilman Tim  Farrell, D-Tacoma, has already said he opposes Muri’s  resolution  and  is staunchly  in favor of the transit measure.

Farrell, who sits  on the Pierce Transit board, made a  show of  marking his mail-in ballot in favor in  front of a News Tribune reporter and several County Council staff members  last week.

Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, another transit agency board member, also is a cheerleader for the tax proposal, saying it’s crucial to the county and its residents.

Back  to Bonney Lake, that city’s mayor, Neil Johnson, told The News Tribune last week he’s opposed to the transit tax because he doesn’t believe small cities in outlying areas get service that’s anywhere near equal to the taxes their residents already pay. About $2 million of the sales tax paid in Bonney Lake last year went to Pierce Transit.

The bus agency is so centered in the large-city urban core it might as well be called “Tacoma Transit,” said Johnson, who also sits on the agency’s board of directors.

Strickland staunchly defends what she calls a critical need for the tax hike, saying the agency will have to severely cut service if it doesn’t get more money.

Thousands of  Pierce County residents depend daily on buses to get to work and school, to make doctors’ appointments, buy groceries and generally get around, she says.

Buses also help relieve traffic congestion by taking cars off heavily clogged roads and freeways as more commuters hop aboard to get to work, Strickland says.

We’ll post a copy of the Tacoma  City Council’s resolution  as soon as we get one.

Here’s a copy of Muri’s proposed resolution to come before the County Council on Tuesday:


A Resolution of the Pierce County Council Urging Voters to Vote “Rejected” on “Pierce Transit – Proposition No. 1 – Sales and Use Tax Increase” at the February 8, 2011, Special Election; the Full Title of the Ballot Proposition is as follows:

“The Board of Commissioners of the Pierce County Public Transportation Benefit Area (commonly known as Pierce Transit) adopted Resolution No. 10-013 concerning a proposition to increase the sales and use tax. This proposition would authorize Pierce Transit to impose an additional three-tenths of one percent (0.3%) sales and use tax, for a total sales and use tax of nine-tenths of one percent (0.9%), to provide funds to preserve transit service levels, implement local and express bus services and provide SHUTTLE services for people with disabilities, vanpools and associated capital improvements, all as authorized by Resolution No. 10-013. Should Proposition No. 1 be approved or rejected?”

Whereas, Pierce Transit has requested that voters approve a sales and use tax increase to support the provision of transit services within its jurisdiction; and

Whereas, this request is formalized by Proposition 1 in the February 8, 2011, special election, as identified above; and

Whereas, while the downturn in the economy has affected the revenues for transit operations, its effect on individual citizens and families has often been even more catastrophic; and

Whereas, it is inappropriate in these challenging economic times to impose new tax increases affecting the entire population; and

Whereas, alternative management strategies for addressing transit services should be investigated; Now Therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of Pierce County:

Section 1. The Pierce County Council urges voters to vote “Rejected” on “Pierce Transit – Proposition No. 1 – Sales and Use Tax Increase” at the February 8, 2011, Special Election.

Section 2. The Clerk of the Council shall provide a copy of this Resolution to the members of the State House of Representatives and Senate from districts encompassing a portion of Pierce County, to the County Auditor, and to the County Executive.

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    You act surprised that the city council voted to approve the transit prop. #1. They have never met a tax increase they don’t like. The folks at Bonny Lake get it and can read the data on the costs of Pierce Transit.

    I hope the people that pay sales tax in Tacoma don’t want to have the claim to fame as being the highest taxes city in the state. I will buy my car in Bremerton to save bucks on sales tax.

    These dummies don’t get it. And until you starve them and force them to live within their means they will keep taxing you to death.

    VOTE NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Vote no on Prop 1. It costs Pierce Transit $11.00 per passenger boarding to run their service. $22.00 for a round trip. That’s just dividing their operating costs by the number of riders exclusive of capital costs (such as buying new buses).

    It would be cheaper in most cases to put the riders in a taxi.

  3. I already voted NO and its in the mail. What a waste of the taxpayers money, ONE issue on a special election ballot. The City of Tacoma should endorse Arizona on their illegal immigration stance — not condemn it — until such time they get their act together you will always get a NO vote on any monetary issue. Now Pierce County, hold only ONE special election per year. Collect all these pipe dreams for one ballot and save the people alot of money.

  4. primetime64 says:

    “YES”!! on PROP 1 !!!!… So sick and tried of hearing people complain about the wages at PT. Why don’t you try to get a job as a driver, or perhaps you dont have a good enough driving record. I’am sure if you people made that kind of wages, you would not be complaining!!!… Hope it prop 1 passes just to piss!! you people of more…. YES!!! on prop 1…… YES!!!! on prop 1… YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!! on PROP 1

  5. clifford123 says:

    As a regular rider, im voting yes because they will also be increasing service. Thats something thats never mentioned and i think will hurt the chances of passing

  6. “…they will also be increasing service. Thats something thats never mentioned…”

    Really? The little, full-color brochure that PT sent out (at a substantial cost, too) seemed to state the added tax would only serve to MAINTAIN current service levels, while service would be CUT if the tax proposal didn’t pass.

    Perhaps you mean PT promised ‘increasing service’ by means of actually properly servicing the existing routes. When PT begins providing satisfactory service, instead of sub-standard service, one could say that could be called ‘increasing service’. It’s all how you define ‘increase’.

  7. clifford123 says:

    well if you look closer at the” little brouchure” you will notice that more routes will operate every 15 mins and new routes will be added to serve Dupont and Orting. Thats an increase in service if you ask me.

  8. tacomascene says:

    “taxedenoughintacoma says: “These dummies don’t get it. And until you starve them and force them to live within their means they will keep taxing you to death.”

    I wish I made $90,000 a year…….

    Well, maybe I could if I drove a bus for Pierce Transit.

  9. tacomascene says:


    You’re SICK. Please see a financial advisor.

    I’m sure glad you don’t run my company’s finances.

  10. tacomascene: maybe you could make 90K working for PT if you could get through the application and interview, pass the FBI background check, make it through rigorous months-long training and an additional 6 months probation without being late to work, getting a ticket, or otherwise washing out in any of the numerous ways there are of washing out. Oh, and yeah, even then you’d have to be willing to give up any home life to speak of, to live at the bus yard and on the road in a bus being professionally courteous to some of the most disadvantaged and angry customers to be found anywhere, in any city. And are you willing to adjust to a schedule that can range from 1:30 a.m. around the clock to 1 a.m. with 8 hour split shifts thrown in for good measure?

    I don’t think you’d make it…from the tone of your posts, I’m sure you wouldn’t. You’re not even nominally polite, and PT’s customer service is the best I’ve encountered in the Puget Sound regional transit pool (Metro, Sound, Intercity, Community, and Kitsap Transit being the limits of my experience of that pool).

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