Letter to the editor: Proposed county sales tax increase will make area even more unaffordable

Snohomish County residents — You may not be aware of this news that the Snohomish County Council proposed last week to increase the sales tax for every citizen of the county starting next year to fund affordable housing. This vote is planned for Wednesday, Dec. 15 by the five members of the council without a vote of the citizens.
This permanent tax increase will impact every citizen of the county on any purchase except for groceries and gas. This snap vote just before Christmas in the midst of a pandemic leaves no time for public comment and impacts every economic group making the Edmonds area and the county even more expensive to live in.
While I agree that affordable housing and homelessness are important issues, they should not be funded by sales tax increases. There are over 20 organizations from private, federal, state, public and developers that have programs in place and are working on this problem already. You can make your voice heard to demand a public vote on this topic and not a rushed county council vote that will impact every citizen. Please send an email to contact.council@co.snohomish.wa.us and each council person will receive your input.
Tom Nicholson
  1. Thank you Tom I agree with you. This is not the time to raise taxes during a pandemic and with inflation soaring. I will email the snohomish county council. Thank you for bringing awareness to this tax increase.

  2. Who among can’t afford an extra penny on a $10.00 non grocery purchase? I’m in favor of this miniscule sales tax as long as it is actually used for helping house the homeless and not misused as often happens with tax increases.

    1. We have set aside billions throughout the King, Pierce and Snohomish area for affordable housing in the last three years. We all see nothing has been delivered. So why would we give government more money to waste wherever it is going?

  3. I agree that it would preferable to fund critically needed homeless housing with a less regressive tax option. However, the voters of our state and region have repeatedly rejected proposals to reduce our currently regressive tax sources and substitute more progressive options (even the ones that would only tax the really rich). More funding for homeless housing cannot be postponed. So this very modest tax increase needs to happen now. We are one of the half dozen wealthiest regions in the nation and the world. If we can’t adequately fund homeless now, something is really wrong with us.

  4. Everybody says they want the tents out of the parks and roadways, but no one wants to pay to get the job done. The rich don’t want to pay because they create the low paying jobs that these homeless people should want to work at, but don’t or can’t for whatever reasons. The upper middle class doesn’t want to pay because they’ve worked hard and earned “theirs” and so can everyone else, if they want to (even though mommy and daddy paid for their expensive college education). The lower middle class doesn’t want to pay because they can barely keep a roof over their own heads. As usual, since we worship success and wealth, we will tax the struggling middle class and the working poor to get the job “sort of done”. The result will be more people trying to live in a tent in a public place.

    The answer is to tax whoever has the means to pay to build regional, mostly temporary but permanent if required, low and no income housing and rehab centers where the homeless are required to go no matter what they say they want. These could also be half way housing for people trying to get back on their feet just out of prison. Answers require ideas and money from somewhere. Ideology and platitudes can’t and don’t work.

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