The following letter was sent by Toby Nixon to each member of the King County Council. Nixon is a candidate for the Kirkland City Council.
I urge you to vote NO on the proposed $20 tax increase on motor vehicles to subsidize Metro bus service.
Metro complains that their fuel and labor costs have increased, and that they need a “temporary” tax increase while they find new “sustainable” revenue sources. The fact is, families throughout King County are struggling with cost increases of their own and have had to cut back significantly on their spending. They have seen huge increases in their cost of gas, food, and sewer service, among other things. Many families are barely making ends meet or are going further into debt every month, and do not have the ability to just reach into the pockets of their neighbors and take money to close the gap as Metro proposes to do.
It is morally reprehensible for us to lay more taxes on the backs of the poor and needy in our community so that we can continue providing cheap bus rides for doctors, lawyers, businessmen, and senior government employees to get to their high-paying jobs in downtown Seattle. Those who ride the bus as a convenience at the expense of taxpayers already save hundreds of dollars a month on the cost of fuel, parking, vehicle maintenance, insurance, and, soon, tolls, and shouldn’t be subsidized further. It’s time we stopped providing taxpayer-funded bus fare subsidies to people who can afford to pay the full cost of the service they receive and who would still be saving money while doing so.
Instead of piling more Metro taxes on the poor, we should raise Metro bus fares to the level necessary to cover the full operation and maintenance cost of the system. We could then use existing Metro tax dollars for targeted subsidies only for those who truly need it, by issuing vouchers to those who qualify that can be applied to purchasing discount bus passes, rather than subsidizing everyone who rides the bus.