For those of you who have received your ballots in the mail and live in the city limits of Monroe, you are being asked to vote for a 0.2% increase in local sales tax. This is being done after the city just a year ago asked for a 0.2% increase in the sales tax for funding of the police department. The police department is funded so well now that they now have restaffed their department fully, including a new police dog. Not to mention the fact that the department just wasted almost $60,000 of YOUR tax dollars on 2 motorcycles. If the city was so short of money, where did the money come from to add the additional police staff that was not funded thru the previous tax increase? And remember this includes costs for Pensions and Benefits.
Some, perhaps many of you, who are reading this article may not be aware of the fact that the city has had unexpected increases in the revenues they had not budgeted for. There are also more houses being built in this city, which means that the new residents will be able to help provide the needed monies thru property taxes, and help to naturally bring more revenue to the city thru purchases. This fact is never mentioned, nor brought to the attention of the voters, and when discussed with the Mayor regarding this matter, he dismisses it. And let us not forget the fact that housing values are back up, therefore revenues are back up without the city doing anything.
Earlier this year, King County attempted to request monies for a transportation package. This was done with threats of cutting bus service. Bus services for the needy, low income persons and senior citizens was going away, even though both Pierce and Snohomish Counties were able to avoid this due to “unexpected” increases in revenues. And when questioned regarding the possibility of the same increase in revenues available, King County refused to offer any kind of answer to the question until after the special election had occurred.
This special election had a large sum of money raised for the Pro side in an amount of approximately $660,000. The opposition side raised approximately $10,000. And even though the Proponents to the issue had outraised and outspent the opposition by almost 66 to 1, the residents of King County smartly voted the issue down, by almost 60%. With residents on the outer perimeters of the county voting it down by approximately 70%. And guess what? King County DID have an increase in their revenues, and won’t be making the drastic cuts to their bus services that they had originally threatened!
In your voter’s pamphlet, it clearly states that this tax increase is going to occur for only 10 years. REALLY? SERIOUSLY? Any one of you out there who follows government tendencies and track records knows very well that government agencies rely on taxpayers’ short memories and a turnover of residents who are completely oblivious to any of the previous propositions, initiatives, and referendums, to maintain the status quo. Very few government agencies actually allow these increases to “sunset” or stop without some sort of argument to “cutting of vital services” if this occurs. The addiction of having these monies included in their budgets overrides and promises that they may have made to the taxpayer.
It has been reported that almost 80% of the working residents of the CVity of Monroe are commuting outside of the city for employment. Let me now ask you the question, is this tax increase going to get you to your destination quicker? If so, by how much, and at what cost? The Citizens are already paying very high gas taxes for transportation, and have the right to expect the City to make a better effort to get more for less.
There has been a pitch made to all of you that this tax increase would be spread across consumers, rather than property owners. While this may sound good on paper, the reality of the situation is that a very large percentage of commuters that travel thru the City of Monroe rarely stop. Most of their purchases occur close to their own homes and/or at their final destinations. In many cases, there is little incentive to purchase items from inside of the city limits as many of the products and services are either the same price or more expensive than purchasing closer to one’s own home. As the sales tax goes higher and higher, this fact becomes even more true. One of the factors that attracts people to the City of Monroe is the lower sales tax, which gives the consumer more spending power. Let’s not take that away!
The City of Monroe has made a choice to subsidize $450,000 of YOUR tax dollars for impact mitigation fees for low income housing. This is half of one year’s revenue that they are hoping to raise thru this Sales and Use Tax increase. So I must ask the question: Why is the City willing to sacrifice $450,000 of YOUR tax dollars to subsidize low income housing if one of the outcomes of this is more traffic and maintenance…. which the city cannot afford?
Goods and services are already going up at a faster rate than the average increase in a person’s paycheck. Why add more burdens when taxpayers are already getting less for their money? Stand together and send the message that the city needs to start making better and different financial choices. Please take this time and vote NO on Proposition 1. Your neighbors and future city residents are counting on it. If King County can do it, SO CAN YOU!