Not everyone on board with plan to save Metro



Posted on June 26, 2014 at 7:27 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 26 at 7:37 PM

SEATTLE -- A rally to save Metro bus service was held at Seattle City Hall Thursday night, but not everyone agrees on how to fund it.

Without more money, Metro faces a 17 percent service cut. How can the City of Seattle keep the buses rolling?

There are two different funding approaches to saving Metro.

One idea is a mirror of the defeated April King County Prop 1, a sales tax and car tab increase. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray thinks a city version could pass because it was overwhelmingly supported in Seattle.

But many reject the sales tax as regressive.

”When you buy something you pay taxes, but if you make a lower income, then you pay more of out your income than a rich household does,” said Seattle Councilwoman Kshama Sawant.

And others disagree.

“I think it’s well intentioned and ill conceived,” said David Frieboth, King County Labor Council. “I agree. We have a horribly regressive tax structure in this state. This is not the place to make that statement.”

Some council members want to replace the sales tax portion of the plan with a head tax on business.

”It’s either them paying or workers paying through sales tax,” said Katie Wilson, Transit Riders Union.

The Transit Riders Union wants the tax shifted away from workers and onto business with a business head tax, approximately $18 a year per employee.

”Business benefits enormously from having a functioning transit system,” said Wilson. “How do their workers get to work?”

The city does have the legal authority to reinstate the business head tax, which was repealed years ago during the recession.

An alternative plan also includes an increase in commercial parking taxes. Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata is also in favor of this alternative plan. The Seattle City Council must come up with a plan by the end of the summer for a ballot measure in November.