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Morning update: Session Day 43

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Feb. 25, 2013 at 8:28 am |
February 25, 2013 10:45 am

Several proposals by Tacoma Democrats to help local governments raise transportation taxes are due for public hearings today.

One proposal offers a way for mass-transit agencies like Pierce Transit to increase sales taxes without a vote of the public. Voters have twice rejected Pierce Transit’s call for a three-tenths-of-a-cent increase. Under Rep. David Sawyer’s plan, each member of the board would receive a share of the vote corresponding to the population that board member represents. It is up for a hearing in House Transportation at 1:30 p.m.

Up for a hearing in the same committee is Rep. Jake Fey’s measure allowing local governments like Tacoma to collect car-tab fees of as much as $40 per year to pay for local streets and other transportation improvements. Tacoma is currently getting ready to levy a $20 fee, the maximum allowed.

At the same time, the Senate Transportation Committee hears a bill sponsored by Sen. Jeannie Darneille that would let Pierce Transit carve out a subarea and ask voters in only that zone to raise taxes on themselves for bus service. It’s identical to a proposal by Fey.

Both of the Fey proposals are included in House Democrats’ transportation tax plan.

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