City of Seattle Proposition No. 1 Pike Place Market Levy

The City of Seattle’s Proposition No. 1 concerns increased property taxes for six years for Pike Place Market.

If approved, this propsition would fund seismic, safety, energy-saving, and other basic infrastructure improvements at the publicly-owned Pike Place Market, last renovated in the 1970s; all as provided in Ordinance 122737. It would authorize regular property taxes higher than RCW 84.55 limits, allowing collection of up to $12,500,000 in additional taxes in 2009 (up to $73,000,000 over six years). Taxes collected in 2009 would be limited to $2.60 per $1,000 of assessed value, including approximately $0.10 of additional taxes.

Should this levy lid lift be approved?

I am torn on this one, but ultimately I think I will vote for it.

Mostly I just don’t know that the benefit to Seattle is worth the public cost. I don’t think Pike Place Market really brings in that many tourists. Sure they’ll go there once they get here. But I don’t think it brings additional tourists who wouldn’t have come otherwise. On the other hand, I like the market (I used to hang out there every day after high school) and I like the ability to buy fresh foods and handmade items. But I don’t go there that often anymore. I’d love to see businesses renting there put up more of the infrastructure money.

Count me for this one, but reluctantly.

Plastic Bags at Sea

Danny Westneat at the Seattle Times writes that plastic bags are a tiny fraction of sea trash.

Although the mayor’s press release on the proposed plastic bag fees notes that plastic bags are particularly harmful to marine life as compared with paper bags, the big push is because the bags take up 4% of our landfill.

In other words, Westneat is building up a nice straw man and then knocking it down. It seems like the Seattle Times really doesn’t like the proposed fees. They’ve charged the fees will hurt the poor, and now this. It won’t hurt the poor. The city will be giving out free re-usable bags. The charge will get people to change their behavior. Because of that, they will not be paying this fee enough to hurt them. People respond to economic incentives. This is a conservative way to address a problem. It uses the market and the laws of supply and demand to achieve a needed end.

So get smarter, Seattle Times.