King County sales tax hike proposal moves ahead

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by ROBERT MAK / KING 5 NEWS

KING5.com

Posted on July 12, 2010 at 6:49 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 12 at 6:49 PM

The King County Council today moved one step closer to putting a proposed sales tax hike on the November ballot.

Under the plan, the sales tax would increase .2% for the next three years to pay for criminal justice programs, including courts, prosecutors and the sheriff's office. 

Judges pleaded with the Council to add an extra .1% to the sales tax proposal to replace the juvenile justice center, which they say is unsafe and unhealthy.  But Council members stuck with the .2% proposal, fearing the extra tenth of a percent would hurt the chances of voters approving any sales tax hike.

Faced with a $60 million anticipated shortfall next year, the council would solve about the half its problem if voters approve the sales tax increase.  The Council is expected to take a final vote next Monday on whether to put the proposal on the ballot.

Some council members are prepared to vote no, saying it's the wrong time to ask voters for more money.  Council members Reagan Dunn and Kathy Lambert proposed raising the sales tax only if some property taxes were lowered at the same time.  But that measure did not make it out of committee today.

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