Tacoma Urbanist

Jun. 8, 2012 at 12:51am

Should Tacoma Become the Most Regressive and Highest Sales Taxed City in Washington State?

According to the Association of Washington cities, there are 281 cities in Washington State.  The City of Tacoma has always had a tax rate significantly below the highest tax cities in the state (usually some King County cities). 

However, in the last few years, Tacoma's sales tax rate has steadily increased and with the recently passed mental health tax, Tacoma is tied with Seattle for the highest, most regressive taxed city in the state of 9.5 percent.

During the election this November, Tacoma could adopt THE highest sales tax rate in the state, bypassing even Seattle, if they pass Pierce Transit's .3 percent sales tax (which is in addition to the .6 percent sales tax they have historically collected.

There are a number of issues Tacomans should consider before they become  "The Highest Taxing City of Washington."

1) What effect would Tacoma having the highest sales tax rates have on local Tacoma businesses selling high ticket items (like cars and appliances) when much lower sales tax rates can be found in nearby cities?

Would even more business follow the hoards of businesses which have moved away from Tacoma to Fife and the surrounding area?

2) What effect would having the highest tax rates in the state have on the City of Tacoma’s tax revenue? Would the city experience an even greater shortfall in the budget?

3) How much would having the highest tax rate be publicized in the press? Would Tacoma’s branding be altered so Tacoma would be known as “The Most Taxed City”?

4) Is it wise or ethical for Tacoma to become the most regressive taxing city in Washington when Washington State is already one of the most regressive taxing state in the nation?

I don't profess to know all of the answers these questions.   However, most of them certainly need to be addressed or considered before Tacoma risks driving yet more businesses out of the city and further cripples it's retail sector.

Regardless of one's political philosophy or the merits of supplementing Pierce Transit's bus system, there is a certain point at which the tax rate for Tacoma becomes toxic and harmful to the business sector, and consequently, the tax revenues of the City of Tacoma (which are already running at a large deficit).  Tacoma has managed to maim it's downtown and business environment many times in the past with misguided good intentions, they should be careful not to do it again.

Below are excerpts from an op-ed published yesterday in the Tribune raising some additional concerns:


Pierce Transit needs to impose cost controls on itself before asking for tax hike


Pierce Transit is returning to the voters to increase the sales tax by 0.3 percent. If this measure passes, Tacoma will have a tax rate of 9.8 percent (10.1 percent for cars). That is near the highest sales tax in the nation

If Seattle doesn’t benefit enough to pay anything for this service, we should cancel it. It provides little benefit to the Pierce County residents who are paying for it. How much could we save if we send equipment straight back without stops and riders?

With savings on unneeded service in Seattle, perhaps we can redirect some of the Sound Transit money to better Pierce County service. This month, Sound Transit is taking over funding of service from Bonney Lake to Sumner. It’s about time. However, Sound Transit is cutting express bus service from Puyallup to Tacoma at the same time.


Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/06/07/2172218/sound-transit-needs-to-impose.html#storylink=cpy

There are also issues of Pierce Transit continuing to try to subsidize remote, inefficient suburban routes, which encourages riders to live many miles from their workplace causing a type of "green sprawl" which is another discussion:

comments [80]  |  posted under tacoma

Comments

by Erik on 6/8/2012 @ 1:48am
On Washington State's regressive taxes:

Washington State has the most regressive taxes of any state in the country. In Washington, poor people pay 17.3 percent of their income in taxes, while the filthy rich pay only 2.6 percent of their income in taxes.

This is the result of our state's heavy reliance on the sales tax, which accounts for over 50 percent of all state revenue. Imagine two families, one rich and one poor, going to the same store and buying the same basket of goods and subjected to the same sales tax.  For the poor family, it's a much heavier burden than for the rich family. The sensible way to even out the tax burden is to tax income, like most other states. But Washington doesn't have an income tax. Never has. Hence our status as a national embarrassment—more regressive on taxes than even Texas or Georgia.
www.thestranger.com/seattle/tax-the-filt...

If the new sales tax proposal is passed, Tacoma may become the most regressively taxing city in the most regressively taxing state in the nation.

by tacoma_1 on 6/8/2012 @ 5:43am
The regressive nature of sales tax is not as regressive as the reductions in bus service that Tacoma citizens will be facing if we don't support our bus system:

What we will likely be facing if PT doesn't get more funding;

Complete elimination of weekend service.
No mid-day service on most local routes.
No evening service past 7:00pm except limited service on certain routes.
No weekend SHUTTLE paratransit service.
Route elimination.
Evening SHUTTLE ends at 7:00pm.
No special event service

Poor people can't afford to have their transportation taken away from them. Downtown merchants can't afford to have fewer customers. I can afford another 3 cents.

by fredo on 6/8/2012 @ 5:51am
Pierce Transit is a different organization than the city of Tacoma, but they are closely related. Tacoma has a habit of violating it's own city mission statement in the provision of services to it's citizens.The mission statement for the city clearly calls out for the provision of "cost effective" services.  The common meaning of "cost effective" is the least expensive.

But we can't have the least expensive services because of our many entanglements with local unions.  If the transit tax under discussion is passed by the voters we'll see the reestablishment of some of the former services but within a few years it will be insufficient to keep service levels up and there will be yet another appeal for more sales taxes.

My feeling is that the local governments don't have the will or the intuition to know what needs to be done. We're headed for a systemic failure which may be highlighted by either insolvency or actual voter backlash like we've seen in San Jose against union workers.

by fredo on 6/8/2012 @ 5:55am
  "Poor people can't afford to have their transportation taken away from them" tacoma1

You make it sound like everyone who rides the bus is a poor person. Is that true? 

by fredo on 6/8/2012 @ 6:00am
  "The regressive nature of sales tax is not as regressive as the reductions in bus service that Tacoma citizens will be facing if we don't support our bus system: " tacoma1 

Except we already "support" our bus system. The sales tax under discussion isn't a new tax, it's an increase in the established tax. We are already supporting the system. The problem is that when the union is involved it's never enough. If we raised the sales tax to 90% the unions would still be asking for more and threatening cutbacks.  These people can't be appeased. 

by tacoma_1 on 6/8/2012 @ 6:25am
When your done, let me know. I don't want to interrupt your conversation with yourself.

Btw, gas is over $4/gal. Without a viable bus system, everyone will get to pay more $ to BP so the oil companies can get even richer. Meanwhile Tacomans will be "saving" .03.

by fredo on 6/8/2012 @ 6:35am
The drivers and administration at PT can agree to lower salaries and this will restore our "viable bus system."

Another way to restore our bus system is to have 2 different fare structures. One fare for the poor and disabled, perhaps $2 per ride and another fare for the ordinary people like tacoma1 which would be closer to the actual cost of trip, let's say $15.00. I'm getting tired of having to subsidize EVERYBODY's ride just because some of the rider's are poor. Give us a break. Since gas is so expensive the rider's should expect to pay more at the fare box.  

by cisserosmiley on 6/8/2012 @ 7:35am
Pierce transit has single handed caused every property owner in Tacoma on the "1" route to lose property value because they connected our neighborhoods to parkland and spanaway on pacific ave. Making folks transfer DT used to keep 6th ave a "Tacoma" issue. Now we have spanaway and parkland criminals riding "the circle" into the N. End on the 1 bus. If there is no score, they ride the bus until the 1 does another loop through parkland and back into the N. End. Enough is enough!

by tacoma_1 on 6/8/2012 @ 7:39am
I'm offended. I have been called many horrible things before, and most have been well deserved. But to be called "ordinary" is an insult that is almost unbearable. I demand a most unordinary apology.

by fredo on 6/8/2012 @ 7:49am
Sorry it came off as an insult Tacoma1, you are anything but ordinary.

I want to make sure I understand your position tacoma1.  

The people in tacoma, many of whom are poor, and don't even have jobs should pay a higher sales tax rate so that people who are relatively afflluent (like yourself) can continue to enjoy an 80-90% subsidized ride to work? 

by tacoma_1 on 6/8/2012 @ 8:09am
The poor can't afford $4/gal gas but they can afford .03.

That's my point again.

by fredo on 6/8/2012 @ 8:20am
When are we going to talk about the dismal state of the farebox collections account at Pierce Transit? People are essentially riding for free.

Rather than talking about the price of gas (which we can't do anything about) why don't we start talking about transit fares which is something we can do something about?

I understand that a public transit system relies SOMEWHAT on a government subsidy but here in Tacoma we've really gone way too far overboard and this situation needs to be addressed pronto.

by tacoma_1 on 6/8/2012 @ 9:28am
Actually

We can do a lot about the gas price. We can walk more, ride bikes more, take the bus more, fund our local bus systemore, and stop funding BP gazillionaires.

We can afford the .03. We can afford to live healthier. We can't afford to dismantle our transit system piece by piece.

by fredo on 6/8/2012 @ 10:49am
Can u afford a higher fare...be honest,

Also, it's not the taxpayers who are "dismantling our transit system piece by piece" its the administration, the union and the riders who refuse make reasonable adjustments in their lifestyles. 

Nobody is stopping people from walking, biking, and riding the bus. If that's their choice and they want to stick it to the BP gazillionaires. Let us know how that's working.

by Erik on 6/8/2012 @ 10:57am
We can afford .3 percent sales tax increase if that was all to be considered.

However, with the laundry list of sales tax increases over the last few years, the question for Tacoma's retail sector, and for the fiscal well being of the City of Tacoma finances is can the city afford raising the sales tax rate to the highest of of any city in the State of Washington?

Even a chef who like a lot of salt in their food must eventually concede, that there is a point at which too much accumulated salt makes the food taste bad and eventually makes it inedible.

One problem that Pierce Transit faces is their timing in that their proposal may be the one tax too many that threatens to push the cumulative rate for Tacoma too high for the city to remain competitive.

A whopping 9.8 tax rate, exceeding even that of Seattle, may drive consumers of high ticket items out of the city.

by cisserosmiley on 6/8/2012 @ 11:09am
Maybe embrace the high tax and advertise to the region that Tacoma is the place to be if you want a high tax lifestyle. "Admit it Tacoma, you're taxed a lot!"

by fredo on 6/8/2012 @ 11:39am
I like that edgy concept cissero.

How about this: 

"Tacoma, we're not Detroit ...but we're working on it."

by Maria on 6/8/2012 @ 2:07pm
From personal experience, assisting a family member who had no car, the transit system is a mess. There are almost zero early morning buses / later evening buses after the last round of cuts. Many entry-level jobs are stocking and other odd-shift positions, meaning early and late hours. For many (mostly the working poor), this means walking miles to work.

I agree, though, that raising taxes is addictive, and we already have the least-progressive taxation system in the nation.

1) Washington citizens should be working on a more equitable system through a state income tax. That one group is paying 17% and the other 3% is an outrage.

2) Pierce Transit needs to sit down and cut costs again...pensions, salaries, whatever, etc. I know they've already done this several times (7% according to a News Tribune article). But we cannot keep taxing the working poor to pay for above average wages and benefits. (I am all for healthy wages and benefits, but I don't know how this can be justified in this economic climate.)

3) Someone wrote about Sound Transit investing more in Pierce County. I can't find the reference, but basically they proposed that we pay a certain amount in ST tax but are not getting a proportional benefit. Perhaps we can negotiate increased services from Sound Transit.

4) Let's keep working on walkability, bike trails, carpooling initiatives, housing affordability, light rail, LINK, attracting tech/manufacturing to the city, etc. so the long range picture for the region includes more viable transportation options.

5) Economic development is so essential for raising the welfare of all citizens of this area. More business, more economic activity, more innovation means more B & O taxes, more property taxes, more shoppers at retail, more bus riders, etc. This has to be kept as a priority because you can't squeeze blood from a turnip.

6) Lastly, when we say "highest" tax rate in the state, what's the spread (especially in this region)? What's the tax rate of cities like Federal Way, Lakewood, Bellevue, Renton? If we're .3% more, that doesn't really bother me...it's such a miniscule amount. If we're 1-2% more, that's more of a problem.



by tacoma_1 on 6/8/2012 @ 3:34pm
We could just put up a sign at all of the city entrances that reads: If you can't drive a car, your not welcome in this town, please leave.  

Better yet, when Click is done with their illegal Clear Channel billboards, maybe Erik could organize the anti transit crowd to get that message up on those billboards for a cut rate.

btw, shouldn't someone that has such anti transit sentiments go by the moniker: the anti-urbanist?

by cisserosmiley on 6/8/2012 @ 4:01pm
The reality is Tacoma is a bedroom community and a GREAT transit investment would be a parking garage at 26th n proctor with a direct bus to DT Seattle.

by fredo on 6/8/2012 @ 4:45pm
There is no anti-transit sentiment on this thread. That's just a straw man.

 There were some comments in opposition to increasing the sales tax subsidy for the system.  Transit isn't even mentioned in the topic sentence. The topic is potential problem of increasing our sales tax rates to a level which wouldn't be prudent.

by JesseHillFan on 6/8/2012 @ 5:39pm
O.K. so the issue is this.A. Taxes will be too regressive here in Tacoma and hurt those whom are low income the most so ideally you would like the as you state the "Filthy" rich to pay more in taxes to be more fair.andB. Pierce transit needs more funding so that those too poor or disabled are able to get around and keep the current routes,times etc.O.K. I have a tax idea which would do both.Place a 50% fee on Tacoma Golf course players to play their rounds because as we mostly know that rich people love playing golf.Of course this is just one form of taxing the rich as there can be others as well.

by fredo on 6/8/2012 @ 5:48pm


I think you're on to something. Let's tax people who have electric powered bicycles. They obviously have surplus funds laying around.

by JesseHillFan on 6/8/2012 @ 5:57pm
Ah but I have no car so my electric Veltop covered bike is a much cheaper and more economical form of transportation more fitting for those whom are either of the lower income bracket or desire to be more environmentally friendly (which is desirable and should be promoted not penalized) .Motor vehicles should be penalized because they are very harmful to the environment.I sold my 36 year year old Hitler car because it was uneconomical to fix in the state of condition it was in.

by fredo on 6/8/2012 @ 6:30pm


A lot of people don't have a car and.... they don't have an electric bicycle either. I'm sure when they see you breezing by they think to themselves, "there goes one of those rich electric bicycle riding people who could afford to pay more for the transit system."

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/8/2012 @ 7:19pm
Why do we pay taxes anyway?

Taxes are supposed to fund the government and governmental organizations. There is much waste and poor spending habits, but gov't is in place to benefit the community. Everyone pays in a portion because everyone benefits.

Fredo will point out that buses and other things don't benefit him personally. They do indirectly because they benefit the community in general. He lives in this community. We all do.
I'm sorry, but I'm willing to pay 3 cents more on $10 to have some semblance of bus service.



by fredo on 6/8/2012 @ 7:27pm
 " Fredo will point out that buses and other things don't benefit him personally" Thorax 

You must have me confused with someone else, Thorax. I've never said any such thing. In fact, I've stated several times in this thread that transit should have an element of public subsidization.

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/8/2012 @ 7:34pm
"I'm getting tired of having to subsidize EVERYBODY's ride just because some of the rider's are poor."
     -Fredo



by Chris.Tacoma on 6/8/2012 @ 7:48pm
This is so off base I don't even know how to begin, Erik.

by fredo on 6/8/2012 @ 8:07pm
My statement indicates I'm willing to help subsidize the transit system so that POOR people can ride.  

We shouldn't have to subsidize the rides of rich people. They can pay full fare.

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/8/2012 @ 8:14pm
And how do you propose to tell the difference? Make the poor carry a "Poverty Card" to prove that they are poor? How would a "Poverty Card" be issued? By the government? That would require a whole bureaucracy, more taxes and more gov't employees. It'd cost you a LOT more to fund a Poverty Card system than it does to fund buses that cost the same for everyone.


by fredo on 6/8/2012 @ 8:22pm
We have a system in the schools Thorax where some kids pay full fare for lunch and other kids get reduced fare or free lunch. Nobody carrys any "poverty card" and the system seems to work pretty well so I doubt if there are any logistic problems.

It might cost some administrative fees, I'll grant you that. But the upside is all those rich people who are getting 20 dollar rides for 2 bucks are going to be paying full fare so that should provide some extra administrative funding.

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/8/2012 @ 8:33pm
Ha!
Oh man, that's the best laugh I've had in a long time.



by fredo on 6/8/2012 @ 8:41pm


Always glad to brighten someone's day.

by Erik on 6/9/2012 @ 9:18am
@Maria: great analysis and perspective of some of the issues.This has to be kept as a priority because you can't squeeze blood from a turnip.

An analysis of downtown Tacoma showed what a narrow tax base the city has as there is such a large portion of downtown landowners which pay no tax whatsoever.

Yes, Tacoma has to be aware of it's competitiveness it it ever holds out hope for a better future.  So far the cumulative tax rate (of 9.8 percent) has not even been discussed by the media or any government agency.From 2000 to 2010, Tacoma grew a measly 2.5 percent while Pierce County grew at 13.5 percent.

Already built out Seattle grew at 8 percent and
Bellingham grew at 20.4. Olympia grew at 9.3 percent. Hence, Tacoma is failing badly to attract people and businesses relative to other cities. In fact we have lost many businesses lately. People do make buying decisions based on the taxes they pay.

Unlike Seattle, New York or San Francisco, it has a mediocre draw. No one knows the tax rate at which Tacoma's economy will be detrimentally effected.  However, considering becoming the highest sales taxed rate in the State of Washington should raise enough red flags to consider the issue.

by tacoma_1 on 6/9/2012 @ 10:12am
Eric
Your argument ignores the fact that Seattle's tax rate and growth rate are both higher than Tacoma's. There is no evidence of cause and effect in any of the examples that you've used.

Most of Pierce County's growth likely is coming from build out on Puyallup's S Hill, which will also be part of PT's service area and taxing authority.
Your anti transit suburban values are not befitting someone who claims to be an urbanist.

by fredo on 6/9/2012 @ 12:47pm
Eric didn't express any anti-transit values.

I would expect someone who calls himself an "urbanist" to make sure that tax rates remain affordable for everyone who lives in Tacoma and not just the limousine liberals who have wonderful jobs and a cavalier attitude about tax rates.  In the final analysis, affordability is much more important than an over envisioned transit system. IMO.

by low bar on 6/9/2012 @ 2:45pm
should tacoma blah blah blah?
YES
the USA already has a Portland OR, no need to have 2 cities with brains in the NW. 

by fredo on 6/9/2012 @ 5:19pm
Well Portland is doing something right.  

They charge higher transit fares than Pierce Transit and also are able to maintain higher farebox recovery ratios than Pierce Transit (18.8% 2003 vs. 13% 2009) 

by tacoma_1 on 6/9/2012 @ 6:00pm


 A two zone ticket in Portlandia is $2.10, on PT, it is $2, not a big difference.  Since PT has eliminated many of its suburban routes, going forward, PT's fare recovery ratio should be completely different.  Your wikipedia data is out of date and doesn't reflect  PT's newly reduced operational bounderies, or the huge layoffs that they had last year. 

by fredo on 6/9/2012 @ 7:03pm
Using Pierce Transit 2012 proposed budget the current farebox recovery ratio is about 10%. 

 I divided  the expected fares of $11.7M by the expected operating expenses of $117M to get this ratio. So you are correct. The 13% recovery ratio I've been quoting is not accurate. It's much worse.   

by Erik on 6/9/2012 @ 8:12pm
Update via the Tribune:

The Pierce Transit board is poised to roll the dice again on the sales tax increase voters defeated in 2011. The odds look better this time, but the agency will have to first produce a union contract that won’t anger the taxpayers.

The measure on the ballot a year ago February failed for several reasons, economic distress being the chief of them. Tens of thousands of households were – and still are – suffering from loss of income and outright unemployment.

blog.thenewstribune.com/opinion/2012/06/...

by tacoma_1 on 6/9/2012 @ 10:34pm
Wow
A TNT editorial! The important news that I can take from that piece is that the TNT still has an editorial person on staff. Good to know. Thanks for the disinformational update.

by JesseHillFan on 6/10/2012 @ 1:07pm
O.K. our state constitution prevents a state income tax I think.But what about a city or county income tax?The tax could be zero at low incomes but be high at high incomes.There are quite a few cities in the United States that have city income taxes.

by fredo on 6/10/2012 @ 2:35pm


How about my idea of charging people with electric bicycles $200 per year for a license fee? I don't think there is anything in the state constitution prohibiting it.

by JesseHillFan on 6/10/2012 @ 5:57pm
It will probably come to that once the fossil fuel for ICE motor vehicles becomes so prohibitively expensive/scarce that the only vehicles on the paved streets,roads,highways  are either human powered or electric powered (and low mass under 500 pounds or so).But that's 20 years from now although gasoline will probably be in the $10 per gallon range in 10 years or so. 

by Erik on 6/12/2012 @ 1:03am
A split Pierce County Transit board forges ahead to place a whole .3 percent sales tax increase on the ballot which would impose the highest sales tax rate on Tacomans than any other city in Washington:

The vote was 7-1, with Don Anderson, Lakewood’s deputy mayor, the sole dissenter. He said he might have supported a smaller increase that came with an ending date.“I believe it’s unwise to put (the three-tenths of 1 percent increase) on the ballot at this time,” he said. “It’s too much, too soon and for too long.”Today, Pierce Transit collects a 0.6 percent sales tax within its boundaries; the additional three-tenths would bring the agency to the maximum allowed by state law.

www.thenewstribune.com/2012/06/11/217730...

by Erik on 6/12/2012 @ 1:18am
Current sales tax rates in Washington State:

dor.wa.gov/Docs/forms/ExcsTx/LocSalUseTx...



by tacoma_1 on 6/12/2012 @ 5:00am
Nice job of quoting from the one dissenter who doesn't happen to represent Tacoma. From the same TNT article:

"the agency has cut bus service by one-third and reduced its work force by 18 percent...the agency already had made $89 million in cuts...If the new sales tax measure fails, the agency will have to cut service by a projected 38 percent, officials said. Weekend bus and shuttle service likely would go away, among other cuts."

If it passes:

"It would generate an estimated $28 million annually and allow Pierce Transit to restore some of the service it’s cut in the last year, transit officials said. Annual service hours would rise from 418,000 to more than 581,000.

Read more here: www.thenewstribune.com/2012/06/11/217730...

by JesseHillFan on 6/12/2012 @ 6:17am
You know the adult fares are only $2.00 or so.How about doubling the rider fares to say for an adult at $4.00.Still a lot cheaper than taking a taxi.Those whom can't afford this could ride a bicycle instead (which is much better for the environment,much less expensive and a healthier thing to do for the rider than using a bus).

by fredo on 6/12/2012 @ 6:21am
JHF, you're on the right track with that posting. Fares are ridiculously low when compared to the cost of the service.

Pierce Transit has long advertised that people who ride the bus are saving thousands of dollars per year. If that's true, (and we'll have to assume it is true since Pierce Transit says it), then the riders can well afford to pay a few more dollars for their transportation.

by cisserosmiley on 6/12/2012 @ 8:08am
The chart shows some extremely nice areas with 8.5%'ish tax rates. If Tacoma lowered it's tax it might be more like bainbridge island...

by tacoma_1 on 6/12/2012 @ 8:34am
Braindamage Island is truly nice if you like communities without sidewalks, libraries, bike lanes, jobs, bus service...etc.

by fredo on 6/12/2012 @ 8:44am


Bainbridge Island doesn't have sidewalks, libraries, bike lanes, jobs and bus service? Is that really true?

by cisserosmiley on 6/12/2012 @ 8:51am
Not true.

by Erik on 6/12/2012 @ 9:13am
Bainbridge Island's main city is Winslow which is incredibly walkable vibrant with nice sidewalks.

As for the library:

www.bainbridgepubliclibrary.org/

Bainbridge Island also has a 8.6 sales tax rate:

dor.wa.gov/Docs/forms/ExcsTx/LocSalUseTx...

by fredo on 6/12/2012 @ 9:26am
Wow, you can have a wonderful city AND a low sales tax rate, 

Who'd thunk?

by tacoma_1 on 6/12/2012 @ 9:57am
Vain bridge is a suburban town, not a city. If you want to completely change Tacoma into a suburb, starving our bus system would be a good way to do it.

We basically have a choice of continuing to pay .06 for significantly less bus service, or to pay .09 for improved service. More service for only .03 more is a no brainier for me.

by cisserosmiley on 6/12/2012 @ 10:03am
Tacoma is a bedroom community or SUB-Urban already.

by tacoma_1 on 6/12/2012 @ 10:44am
No shit.

We have a choice to make here. Do we want Tacoma to become more urban with more transit and thus more walkable, or more suburban with less transit and thus more car dependent.

by cisserosmiley on 6/12/2012 @ 11:06am
I want more services to mirror needs. I want less social engineering. If WE used these criteria Tacoma would have a low general sales tax, a use fee on luxury automobile registrations each year, and taxes would feed the hungry, shoe the children, & fix potholes.

by JesseHillFan on 6/12/2012 @ 11:46am
We need Tacoma to be more of a Volksgemeinschaft.

by fredo on 6/12/2012 @ 12:09pm
Overpaying transit workers will make Tacoma more "urban and more walkable?"

Not a chance.

by panachronic on 6/12/2012 @ 10:36pm
Lefties make me laugh.  Regressive taxes are BAD... unless they pay for something lefties like.  Then it's different.

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/12/2012 @ 11:53pm
This conversation is still going on?


by low bar on 6/14/2012 @ 8:58pm
braindamage island, nice. If i was going to take a ferry anywhere to a better economy it'd be across the border, the border from crazy town USA to turbo chill british coloumbia. except all that chill north of the border gets boring quick. it doesn't take long for the fucked in the head to begin missing the greatest dysfunctional family on earth. long live the golden dystopia. i was eating at the fucking oyster house in oly the other day and observed the glowing flatscreens hanging around the place with two guys beating each others brains out on a bloodsport channel. looking down from the screens i saw a table with a family with small children stuffing their faces surrounded by violent images. GOD BLESS AMERICA (because lord knows nobody else would). 


by L.S.Erhardt on 6/14/2012 @ 9:13pm
At least it wasn't an episode of "Epic Mealtime".
I mean, why waste your time with blood and violence when you can watch people eat a single dish with as many calories in it as 2/3 of the human race gets in 2 weeks.



by low bar on 6/14/2012 @ 11:40pm
grass is greener...blood is bloodier?


by low bar on 6/14/2012 @ 11:43pm
@panchronic things lefties like: things that are good for the “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

go fuck yourself panchronic. if i had the power i'd strip people like you of your citizenship



by L.S.Erhardt on 6/15/2012 @ 2:54am
Don't do that!
Then as aliens, they'd get even more of Fredo's precious dollars!



by fredo on 6/15/2012 @ 5:40am
Here,'s something Fredo likes:

"give the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free some relief from our unconsionable sales tax rate."

If I had the power I'd strip people like the Pierce Transit board of their ability to place unaffordable tax increases on the local ballot. 

by fredo on 6/15/2012 @ 5:43am
Folks all around Tacoma are showing they can live on reduced budgets. My own family has cut back in varioius areas so that we can afford to live here.

Now it's time for local service providers to step up to the "challenge" and show that they can provide adequate services on a reduced budget.  If this reduction requires workers to give up their lavish lifestyles then I'm OK with that. Just cut drivers salaries to about $35K per year and cut administrative salaries by about 30% and we'll be making good progress.

by Erik on 8/21/2012 @ 12:33pm
Update:The Tacoma Pierce County Chamber opposes raising the sales tax rate to the highest in the state in Tacoma.I certainly don't agree with the Chamber on a number of issues, but here they make some good points:________Tuesday, August 21, 2012



Chamber Supports Transit, Not Prop 1

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber’s Board of Directors voted to oppose Pierce Transit Proposition 1, up for voters in the November 6, 2012 general election.

“The Chamber has long supported transit in Pierce County—even supplying the headquarters for the establishment of Pierce Transit decades ago. Unfortunately, the proposed sales tax levels are simply unacceptable.  As
the Chamber continues to welcome businesses and jobs to the area, we need to stay competitive with the communities around us,” said Tom Pierson, Chamber President & CEO.





pdf of the Resolution

The Chamber believes in and supports maintaining transit operations. That the proposed tax levels would push sales taxes for Pierce County to the highest in the state is critical information that influenced many board members. Currently
Tacoma and Pierce County sales tax are tied with Seattle, King County and other cities like Kirkland and Redmond for the highest sales tax rates before the proposed increase.

“Having the highest sales tax rate in the state is not a distinction Tacoma-Pierce County would want to be known for, “ Pierson said. “Being a community that preserves a reasonably business-and-economy friendly atmosphere is the sort of
favorable distinction we should strive for instead."

tacomachamber.blogspot.com/2012/08/chamb...

by The Jinxmedic on 8/21/2012 @ 1:02pm
Exactly.

by low bar on 8/21/2012 @ 2:48pm
They just haven't found a way to gentrify Tacoma. And they never will. 


by The Jinxmedic on 8/21/2012 @ 3:41pm
Who wants to gentrify Tacoma? That's what Gig Harbor is for.

by low bar on 8/21/2012 @ 5:50pm
Exactly, Gig Harbor lies outside the port stench. You couldn't pay a wealthy person to live close to that crap. 


by Erik on 10/25/2012 @ 4:13pm
Tacoma is struggling to retain businesses:

UPDATE I: DaVita, one of downtown Tacoma’s biggest employer, moving about a third of its employees to Federal Way

After looking for more office space to expand for more than a year, one of downtown Tacoma’s largest employers since Russell Investments has announced that it’s moving about 350 of its employees to Federal Way.UPDATE, 3:45 p.m.: I just spoke to the head of DaVita’s Tacoma operations, Jim Hilger.

The company will be moving to 32275 32nd Ave. S, which is a building on the Weyerhaeuser campus that currently holds the company’s data center. The office space has been empty for some time, he said, and DaVita will take about 125,000 square feet for the operations that currently have about 80,000 square feet in the Columbia Bank Center in Tacoma.“We are still committed to Tacoma.

We still will have 550 people working in downtown and we’re growing,” he said.Why not grow in downtown, particularly at the former Russell Investment headquarters that sits empty as Russell runs out its lease?“Stylistically it isn’t appropriate, and and economically it was not competitive,” Hilger said. “That building is a wonderful beautiful building. But it is not the type of space that DaVita typically occupies.

If you look around the country, we are just like Federal Way in almost every case except our corporate headquarters in Denver. We are in low 1-2-3-story buildings. Large footprints.”The Russell Building is a very formal building,” he said. “We’re not a super formal organization.”

Read more here:

blog.thenewstribune.com/business/2012/10...

by fredo on 10/25/2012 @ 4:39pm


but but but...we were just about to put a rain garden ditch in front of their entryway.

by The Jinxmedic on 10/25/2012 @ 4:45pm
Everybody wants open storm sewers in front of their business, right? I mean, that's what we're told is good and right?