04/23/2012: "Council Decision On Increase Sales Tax Coming Up"
The SJC Council will discuss a Draft Public Safety Sales Tax Ordinance (.pdf 95\k file) proposal on Tuesday (to 04-24-12; 2:15 pm) to increase the current 7.8 percent sales tax to 8.1 percent.
If the Council decides to move forward on the proposal there will be a public hearing on the ordinance that will put it on the ballot, and then it will be up to them to convince the voters that it is a good idea.
If passed by the voters, the increase would simply be another way for the County to raise money to pay for services that have been impacted by the current budget problems. The money raised by the tax increase will be earmarked for new programs, and the restoration of previous programs, related to “criminal justice and public safety services,” which are the state authorized uses, as per RCW 82.14.450, of the money raised by the increase.
Obviously the increase would free up money from the budget that has been used to supply the services in the past, and would be a bonus in the future if, and when, the budget expands back to it’s previous size prior to the economic slowdown; which hit the County hard in loss sales tax revenue and loss of revenue from the slow down in construction and land use permits.
The SJC Law and Justice Council has recommended the following areas where the money could be used:
New funding for Services and Programs
Victims Service Advocate for General Crimes $25,000
Public Records Specialist $45,000
Reserve Fund for high profile cases $20,000
One dispatcher $60,000
Subtotal New Services $150,000
Enhance and Restore Services and Programs
Courthouse Security $40,000
Juvenile Probation Officers to full time $23,000
Court facilitator to half time $31,000
New Jury Management Software $20,000
Automated document production and case mgt $20,000
Subtotal enhanced and restored services $134,000
Protection of existing services and programs
2 sheriff deputies $160,000
District Court Prosecuting Attorney $75,000
Department of Emergency Management $30,000
Public Defender $100,000
Indigent defense screener $11,000
Subtotal Protection of Existing Services $376,000