Word around town is that Mayor Dan Pike of Bellingham is looking again/still to raise taxes. I first read the announcement in the Herald blogs,
Mayor Dan Pike wants the city to form a citywide Transportation Benefit District and increase the sales tax by two-tenths of 1 percent, which would generate about $3.8 million a year.
He’s already talked with City Council members who like the idea, but the council is scheduled for formally discuss the proposal for the first time on Monday, June 7.
…He’d like to see money go toward annual repaving, building bike lanes and sidewalks and, through a contract with WTA, providing bus service that would otherwise be cut.
and then saw on Facebook that he was going to be on KGMI’s PM Bellingham to peddle his new tax scheme.
KGMI News/Talk 790 Ready for higher sales taxes in Bellingham? Mayor Dan Pike is proposing an increase to pay for transportation projects. Would you vote for such an increase?
Wasn’t it just a month or so ago that the people of Whatcom County told WTA Board member Dan Pike that they weren’t willing to spend this same amount? Now we have Mayor Dan Pike asking the people of Bellingham for the same amount. Is it a coincidence that it will take the exact same amount to improve transportation issues in Bellingham or is it that the WTA vote was used as a poll to see how much the people of Bellingham would cough up without choking?
If I lived in Bellingham that’d be the question on my mind. Do we need this, or is it Mayor Dan Pike who wants it, and he’ll find a way?
I won’t get to vote on this because I live outside of Bellingham. However those of us who live outside of Bellingham should have the same concerns, because we likely spend a good portion of our money in Bellingham where we will be paying this tax. Consider trips to Costco, Walmart, Fairhaven, Bellis Fair, go see a movie, buy a car, do business in town? The people of Bellingham will be voting on this tax, but given the commercial layout of the county we will all share in the paying.
So if this vote were to go through, Mayor Pike would essentially get a good portion of the taxes that he was just denied in the recent WTA vote. He also gets to contract with WTA to provide additional bus service in Bellingham and gets extra for other transportation related spending within the city. I wonder if as both a WTA board member and the Mayor of Bellingham, he will withdraw himself from contract dealings with himself?
Oh, and let’s not forget that whether we are in Bellingham or not, as State & Federal taxpayers we foot the bill for new WTA buses that get worn out in the City of Bellingham.
I haven’t decided whether this is shrewd, conniving of both? Hopefully it won’t matter as much as people awake to the fact that so many of the politicians in office are looking for too many ways to spend and too few ways to save.
Isn’t it time to give tax increases a rest?