Tacoma Urbanist

Nov. 3, 2012 at 12:37pm

Listen to Last Debate on Prop 1, Which Would Force Tacoma to Impose Washington's Highest Sales Rate

As the final days expire before the election, parties for, and against make their case on radio for their position why Tacoma should, or should not, be forced to impose the highest sales tax rate in the State of Washington (9.8 for most goods and services and 10.1 percent for auto sales).

comments [45]  |  posted under tacoma


by Erik on 11/3/2012 @ 1:04pm
The case for:


The case against:


by tacoma_1 on 11/3/2012 @ 2:06pm
EricI wonder how much the auto dealers r paying u to try to remove buses from Tacoma's streets.

Remember! No weekend, midday, or evening bus service if Prop 1 fails!

As always, No sales tax on gasoline, or groceries if prop 1 passes. 

Btw, Chris has a good post on his blog 'bout financial reporting violations from the no campaign. 


by JesseHillFan on 11/3/2012 @ 2:14pm
Here is a reason why cars should be taxed more.www.cnn.com/2012/11/03/opinion/safina-sa...


Discussion at the news tribune on thiswww.thenewstribune.com/2012/11/02/235341...

And here is what you can trust if disaster strikes.www.komonews.com/news/va?vaid=fdb082e3b6...

by fredo on 11/3/2012 @ 2:28pm

If this prop doesn't pass then life as we know it will come to an end.

by Jake on 11/3/2012 @ 5:14pm
Maybe it is just me (and people I know) but I have never shopped for a car in a certain place based on sales tax. I have bought cars in Fife, Puyallup & Tacoma and that has never come to mind. When I bought cars in Puyallup I didn't think "Cars Cost Less in Puyallup" like their billboards say. I saw the car I was interested in online and went to take a look or decided to take a look at the cluster of dealerships in a certain area. Or like my previous car, I had good experiences with their service department for a brand they sell that I bought used elsewhere and decided to go "look" at cars and ended up buying a new one.

Since I have bought a few cars (7) new & used in my not to long driving years, I have pretty good experience negotiating and have went with MANY people to look/purchase cars. They have never asked about the sales tax rates. They either have a specific car at a dealer they want to look at from looking online or you go to the dealer clusters in Tacoma, Fife & Puyallup.

Yes a purchase of $25,000 car will cost only $75 more, but i really don't think that many will be lost because of that. Cars are often an impulse purchase. Even at that buyers/dealers have means to negotiate the price if sales tax comes up as an issue.

by fredo on 11/3/2012 @ 5:20pm
  This issue is a lot bigger than just the car business.

People WILL move more of their shopping to other lower or non taxed areas. I personally know people who plan a weekend getaway in Portland every year and take their shopping list with them. What they save on purchases they could have made in Tacoma pays for the accomodations, the meals, the gas, everything.

More people will start doing this as the tax rate increases. If lots of people do this then tax revenues can go DOWN rather than UP.

by Jake on 11/3/2012 @ 5:30pm
Again, some sales will be lost but most purchases are impulse buys. That is how retail works. I have gone on trips to Portland for leisure and then bought things but have never said OHHH I saved $20 on those purchases. I could have done that at home, online minus the gas, hotel, parking & eating out expense. 

by fredo on 11/3/2012 @ 8:18pm
OK let's set up a hypothetical:

A family is planning the following purchases for the next 6 months:New refrigerator, new TV, new blu ray, new reciever, some assorted power tools and a few cases of hard liquor. Let's say the total price of these items is $8000. The tax here in Tacoma today would add somewhere in excess of $760. The portion going to Pierce transit would be $48 (8000 X .006).

Now the tax increase for pierce transit takes effect and the family thinks the tax is too high. So the family decides instead of staggering these purchases over several months that they will just take their pickup down to Portland and buy the whole lot at one time and save the tax money.

Under this hypothetical, Pierce Transit not only loses the extra $24 they were expecting under Prop. 1, they also lose the $48 they had coming before. And the other taxing authorities in the area expecting to make $712, instead get nothing.

I expect lots of people will do exactly as I have described in response to the perception that sales taxes are too high in Tacoma.      

by tacoma_1 on 11/3/2012 @ 9:29pm
Yeah. I always buy my liquor by the cases along with my surround sound, pwr tools, and refridgerators. 

No wait, no I don't.  I buy a new drill when I'm in the middle of a project and burn out the one I've had for decades.  And I buy a new bottle of booze when the liquor cabinet is in danger of running dry.  And as far as audio and video equipment, I order that shit online, I hate going to Bestbuy.  And refridgerators, I replace that when mine conks out, and I have it delivered and installed at the house.  My back is more important than saving a few bucks by hauling something that heavy myself. 

by fredo on 11/3/2012 @ 9:44pm
  Yes, that's why I called it a hypothetical.

If you don't like the basket of goods I selected you can add up $8000 worth of stuff that you would be more interested in.

Maybe you would spend money on a bicycle, an apple computer and violin for $8000. The point isn't about what the purchases are, but rather what the tax effect of people altering their purchase habits.

Regarding the refrigerator, they aren't that hard to deliver and install but if you are going to save $760 you can probably afford to have a couple neighborhood teenagers do the work for you.

by tacoma_1 on 11/3/2012 @ 10:53pm
In my hypothetical, I hire the unlicensed un bonded teenagers and they drop the refridgerator off the truck onto one of their buddies and not only am I out a fridge, but since the accident happened on my property, their parents sue me for $1M. 

And in my reality, I buy my bikes down the street from the local bike shop, cuz I want the local bike shop to stay in business. Driving to portlandia to have my bike worked on defeats the purpose of owning a bike.  

I buy my laptops from dell online, and I don't play the violin. You really can come up with asinine hypotheticals. IMHO.

TIme is money for most people. And anyone who spends the kind of money you're talking about on a regular basis would value their time highly. Your hypothetical is just an unlikely fairy tale, nothing more.

by NineInchNachos on 11/3/2012 @ 11:34pm
3 more days ! ! ! !   then this crap goes away ! 

by JesseHillFan on 11/4/2012 @ 6:29am
It's the political telephone robocalls that drive me nuts.Might have to turn off the ringer over the next days even if I miss desired calls.

by NineInchNachos on 11/4/2012 @ 8:18am
two more days!

by Erik on 11/4/2012 @ 8:37am
Yes a purchase of $25,000 car will cost only $75 more,

Actually, going to Olympia to buy a $25,000 car would save you a total [(.101 - .09) x $25,000] = $275 if Prop 1 passes.

Full size:


by tacoma_1 on 11/4/2012 @ 8:55am
And if prop 1 fails, the drive to Olympia still saves you $200.  Therefore prop 1's price tag is only $75 on a $25K purchase. 

 And that is if u don't trade in your old car. If you trade your car, thanks to the auto dealers lobbying efforts, they have a sales tax exemption on trade values carved out specifically so they can encourage shoppers to hand over even more profits to the dealership, instead of letting the consumer pocket the profits themselves by running a Craig's list ad. 

And the drive to Olympia also costs you an entire day out of your life that you will never get back, and a half a tank of gas. 

by fredo on 11/4/2012 @ 9:17am
tacoma1, you have done a good job of torturing my hypothetical by challenging the examples I've provided. As I said, you can assemble your own shopping basket of goods worth $8000. You can even use a lower number or a higher number, although it makes less sense to drive to portland to pick up a smaller amount of goods.

The bicycle shops in Tacoma will be glad to repair your bike for a fee even if you didn't buy it from them. And nobody is going to drop the refrigerator and injure themselves. Why do you always pretend to be so incompetant about everything?

The $760 that I save on my Portland shopping trip allows ME to go and buy a nice bicycle right here in town with my savings. The price out of my pocket is $60 worth of gasoline to run my pickup down to Portland.

Lots of people do this now, and more will do it if Prop.1 passes. But go ahead and stick your head in the sand. Ignorance is bliss if you are tacoma1

by tacoma_1 on 11/4/2012 @ 9:39am
Ok. I wanna buy a Nissan leaf. U can assume that the purchase price will be 'bout $33K. I will not be trading in my current car. I will be gifting that to the needy.

And I also wanna by 3 paper birch trees at about $50 ea. 

How much could I save by driving to Portland, or Olympia?

by fredo on 11/4/2012 @ 10:00am
erik already provided some examples of the savings on a car similar to your example.

RE, your birch trees.

You wouldn't save enough to warrant driving to Olympia or Portland so just get those locally. If you are considering other purchases in the next few months then perhaps you could bundle them with your birch trees and it might make a trip to Olympia or Portland worthwhile, IMO.   

by tacoma_1 on 11/4/2012 @ 11:10am
The tax on the Nissan Leaf is exactly the same rate whether I buy it in Olympia or Tacoma.

by fredo on 11/4/2012 @ 3:20pm

Prop. 1 isn't just about cars, it's about all taxable transactions in the taxing district. The big savings for shoppers isn't on cars, but on other big ticket items as I have previously illustrated. We go down to Portland all the time to visit relatives so it's easy for us to move our big ticket transactions  there. Lots of other people like us too. I'm planning a pre-Christmas shopping trip down there even as we write. My kids want Ipads. I'll save over $100 alone buying these in Portland.

by tacoma_1 on 11/4/2012 @ 3:52pm
Sounds as though u will shop in Portland whether prop 1 passes or fails, so prop 1's outcome should have little to no effect on you. 

by fredo on 11/4/2012 @ 4:00pm

You' ve really succeeded at missing the point. As tax rates go UP, people will tend to begin to ALTER their shopping habits. It's not about me. I just provided an easy to understand illustration for you.

by JesseHillFan on 11/4/2012 @ 4:26pm
Consider that it will cost around $40 for the gasoline there and back.The maintenance car costs from wear would have to be included as well as possible parking fees or possible tickets,risk of injury or death on the road and the hourly time involved it would be too exorbitant and uneconomical to attempt to save $100 in taxes.A smarter method would be to choose an online retailer with no nexus (key word) here in this state as there would be no (state or local) taxes involved and possible free delivery too.

by fredo on 11/4/2012 @ 5:15pm
JHF,If I was going to portland JUST to purchase retail items I would consider the gas and time expense.  

But since we go down there all the time to visit family there is no extra gas and time expense. We are already there when we do our shopping.

We're not the only people shopping across the border. This is a widespread activity and as tax rates go up, more people will be making the trip. This is what is referred to as the law of unintended consequences.

by JesseHillFan on 11/4/2012 @ 10:52pm
Then it sounds like you wouldn't pay the sales tax anyway so this (Prop1) wouldn't be an issue for you either way

by NineInchNachos on 11/5/2012 @ 7:50am
one more day!

by The Jinxmedic on 11/5/2012 @ 8:03am
Well, the City of Tacoma bought their much-needed Nissan Leafs (Leaves?) from outside the county...

by tacoma_1 on 11/5/2012 @ 8:07am
Electric cars are tax exempt. So r gubmnt purchases. 
Leafeses?  Leafii?

by NineInchNachos on 11/5/2012 @ 8:08am
electric greens leeves boogaloo 

by JesseHillFan on 11/5/2012 @ 8:52am
Well if Prop 1 fails at least I have my electric bike and cargo trailer to get around.Tragic though for others especially the disabled and senior citizens.Unemployment will definitely go up when transit riders can't get to their jobs and some students will likely drop out.I even occasionally use the bus (it's been useful on certain trips).The former transit rider commuter workers will have to obtain employment much closer to where they work and many of them along with many students will have to ride bikes or use some other form of transportation like possibly an EPAMD (short range).

by fredo on 11/5/2012 @ 9:06am
  9-11 was a tragedy

Hiroshima was a tragedy.

Pompeii was a tragedy.

A few bus riders losing a few bus routes...not a tragedy.

by JesseHillFan on 11/5/2012 @ 9:44am
The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima mitigated Global Warming though as nuclear weapons used on populated areas do this.

by fredo on 11/5/2012 @ 10:08am

So closing down a few bus stops in 2012 is a greater tragedy than the 1945 nuclear bombing of Hiroshima?

by JesseHillFan on 11/5/2012 @ 10:47am
Well one thing is that you can't change what has happened in the past but you can prevent some tragedies from taking place in the future depending upon choices or recognition of dangers.

by fredo on 11/5/2012 @ 12:03pm
So I'll ask you again.

Is the elimination of some bus stops and bus schedules a "tragedy?"

That's a simple yes or no question.

It sounds to me more like an inconvenience. 

by JesseHillFan on 11/5/2012 @ 2:57pm
Well let's look.www.thefreedictionary.com/tragedy
"4. A tragic aspect or element."
"6. the unfortunate aspect of something"

I would say yes in some circumstances and no in others.However some transit riders might be able to adapt like I have.With limited means they might not.Seniors might have a problem walking 10 or 20 miles or even cycling 10 or 20 miles.It would effect those whom are wheelchair bound in drastic ways.Take away their limited transportation and it could (maybe) have dire consequences for them especially if they don't have family who can help. 

by fredo on 11/5/2012 @ 4:04pm
A tragedy is an "unfortunate aspect of something?" 

That's baloney.

One unfortunate aspect of owning a bicycle is that sometimes you need to put air in the tires. That doesn't make owning a bicycle a "tragedy."

by JesseHillFan on 11/5/2012 @ 4:20pm
A tragedy is also a drama (play) about human suffering.Would human suffering be involved well not in Fredo world.Someone whom is wheelchair bound is to blame in Fredo world.The elderly senior whom is forced to walk 10 miles and has a heart attack and dies trying oh that's an inconvenience in Fredo world.

by fredo on 11/5/2012 @ 4:47pm
Everything is a tragedy in your world, right jesse hill fan?

How about people who can't afford to live here because of our high tax rates, including sales tax rates, and who have to give up their homes and live in the street?.

 Is that a tragedy or just some acceptable inconvenience? 

by JesseHillFan on 11/5/2012 @ 5:11pm
It's not because of high tax rates rather it's because of current high rental costs.Those with low income generally pay more of their income towards basic expenses like food etc which are not taxed.Mostly its frivolous consumer goods that are taxed.One can easily survive without flat screen TV's and cable TV service.No one really needs an Xbox 360 either.
 BTW the last time that I ever payed rent it was $300 per month back in 1992.Now the same units rent for around $800 per month.I finished paying my last mortgage payments several years ago.The choice between buying a $30,000 for a car and being able to pay for housing is clear to most people.Pay your living expenses first.If you can't afford that car make due without it or get a used car.Only a fool would buy a car knowing that he/she couldn't make their rent or mortgage payments.

by fredo on 11/5/2012 @ 5:32pm
a car that can get you to work reliably and on time is a very good investment...for most people. also, (in case you didn't know), you don't have to pay $30,000 to buy a reliable car. I could buy you a reliable daily driver car at the auto auction for less than $3000. I could get you a beater that would at least get you to work for a few months for less than $1000. That's very affordable.  People who say they can't get to work unless Pierce Transit provides them a bus must be pretty stupid. There are tons of cars out there.

by JesseHillFan on 11/5/2012 @ 5:41pm
Except that you're forgetting the high cost of mandatory insurance,maintenance costs,fuel costs, replacement costs,possible parking and towing fees,possible tickets and don't forget the yearly vehicle registration /tabs either.Even a beater costs several hundred dollars per month in various costs.If you can fix your own car great but if you have to pay for auto repairs at a shop it's exorbitantly expensive and there are tons of rip off racketeering shops. 

by fredo on 11/5/2012 @ 6:15pm
I think I understand what you're saying.

Cars cost a little more than bus fares to be sure.

But the utility is much higher. You go from your point of origin to your point of destination with no stops and no waiting. You can take extra people and you can run errands whenever you want. You don't have to sit on a seat that people peed on.

In short, comparing a car ride to a bus ride is like comparing a beautiful barbequed rib eye steak to a piece of cold spam that you pulled out of the dog's dish. 

by JesseHillFan on 11/5/2012 @ 6:31pm
True also many of these riders can't legally drive either.Some underage or others with medical conditions that prevent them from doing so.There might even be riders previously convicted of DUI's from legally driving too and they many just be complying with the law rather than breaking it by using public transit.You don't want people with multiple DUI's to drive on the roads.
I remember also last year getting a terrible long term flu from a transit rider that was in a seat across from me on the bus.I tend to use it the least as possible.Now I will have need of a truck this year to transport some large cargo and I will rent one in the next couple of months.Since I rarely have need of a truck it doesn't make sense for me to purchase one though.