TACOMA, Wash. – The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, which opposed the City of Tacoma’s Proposition 1 increasing utility taxes by 33%, is optimistic about early returns showing a defeat of Proposition 1.
“The Chamber is excited the early returns show voters’ rejection of an inadequate and unfair fix for our roads. We continue to support responsible and sustainable planning that will improve Tacoma’s roads. If there is a defeat of Proposition 1 at the ballot box, we are ready to work on a real solution,” said Tom Pierson, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber President & CEO.
The measure proposed to increase the existing tax by 33% at a $10+ million cost to consumers each year on their natural gas, electricity, telephone land lines and cell phone service bills. If passed, Proposition 1 would only have partially funded basic road maintenance.
The City of Tacoma estimates that it needs roughly $880 million in additional revenue to fix existing transportation infrastructure inadequacies that the City Council has ignored for years. These shortcomings will only partially be funded through Proposition 1 taking decades to resolve.
The Chamber had suggested solutions aside from the Proposition 1 Utility Tax hike that was proposed, including:
- Tacoma residents have only recently begun to be charged the $20 car tab fee levied last year by the City Council. These dollars should be used to fund road repair.
- Build on the recommendations of the City’s Fiscal Sustainability Task Force examining opportunities to find savings and revenues within the City’s existing budget.
- Allow the new Transportation Commission to advise the City on prioritizing transportation improvements.
- The City Council must prioritize infrastructure maintenance with existing dollars. The Council is currently spending less than 2% of its general fund budget on road maintenance.