The King County Council budget chair dropped a controversial arts tax measure from committee Tuesday, effectively killing the legislation, according to a council release.
King County Executive Dow Constantine has been seeking a $469 million boost, thanks to an increase of 0.1 percent in the county sales tax. Multiple council members had bristled at the suggestion.
“This is the wrong proposal at the wrong time," Council member Dave Upthegrove, who chairs the committee, said in a statement. "As currently configured, the funding is distributed in an unfair manner that hurts, rather than helps, our efforts to achieve equity. The sales tax burdens working class folks the most, yet the lowest income parts of our county continue to be neglected.”
Upthegrove said he's willing to reconsider the legislation in 2018.
Access For All, which advocates for increased arts and science funding, hopes the conversation can continue after Upthegrove's "surprise" announcement.
"In the last couple weeks, we've had engaging and useful dialogue with councilmembers about finding a final proposal that accomplishes our goals of expanding science and art education and has the greatest return on investment for families," Jack Sorensen, a spokesperson for Access for All, said in a statement. "We look forward to that dialogue continuing, and hope that Councilmember Upthegrove allows his colleagues to discuss something they support."