Local Control of Taxes
The City believes local control of tax and regulatory processes is in the best interest of city residents and businesses. Local control allows innovation and greater flexibility to match taxes and regulations to a changing local economy. Local control also means allowing the City more authority over its local taxes, such as business and utility taxes. The City supports removing existing State controls over these taxes to allow the City to become less dependent on shared revenue from the State and will oppose legislation that attempts to further restrict City revenue authority.
The City supports changes to the one-percent cap on property tax collections that will allow growth in revenue year over year of up to the rate of inflation in Washington. The City also seeks full restoration of liquor taxes taken by the State and a greater share of tax collections from recreational marijuana sales.
Seeking Exemption of Leasehold Excise Tax
Property owned by a municipality is exempt from property tax so the Legislature established the leasehold excise tax for the privilege of occupying or using publicly owned real estate. The Tacoma Dome and the Seattle Center lease space to food and craft vendors, arts organizations, ticket vendors and concessionaires that must currently pay 12.84% of their rent to the State while Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field have been exempted from this tax, allowing them to compete for events at a competitive advantage. Tacoma will join with the City of Seattle to seek exemption from the leasehold tax for these facilities.
Public Health Funding
State funding of public health has been in decline for nearly 20 years. Washington spends less per capita on public health than significantly smaller states. The growing population of the State and the increased public demand for health services has reached a tipping point. The City supports the efforts of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and other community public health agencies to seek a significant increase in permanent state support.
Public Records Requests
The City supports authority to recover a greater share of the costs of gathering and reviewing requested public records.