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County Council Turns Down Sales Tax Plan

Ruby de Luna

It's Plan B for funding King County's public safety. A proposal to raise the county's sales tax to prevent deep cuts to the sheriff's and prosecutor's offices, along with other essential programs has failed. Supporters of the measure couldn't muster enough votes to put the question to voters. As KUOW's Ruby de Luna reports, the council will meet again Tuesday to consider another tax plan.


The council will hold a special meeting Tuesday to consider a property tax proposal. The plan would reduce some property taxes that fund existing programs such as the county's automated fingerprinting system, or the county's parks expansion. At the same time the proposal would ask voters for a new property tax levy specifically for public safety. Supporters of the new plan say those two sources combined will preserve the county's criminal justice system. King County Councilmember Bob Ferguson is spearheading this latest legislation. He admits it's certain to make some people unhappy.

Ferguson: "This is a situation that I get emails saying, hey Bob, don't just ax this, reprioritize county government. It's easier said than done. So what I did was work with my colleagues to lay out a variety of different programs that I care about, you care about and your listeners care about. But we have limited options, we have to preserve criminal justice in King County, that's non–negotiable. It's either taxes or reprioritizing existing county funds."

The property tax plan is estimated to cost a homeowner of a $400,000 house about $34 a year. As with the failed sales tax plan, this legislation will need six votes from the Council to be placed on the ballot in August, and the deadline is today.

I'm Ruby de Luna, KUOW News.

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