In Tuesday’s returns, voters were rejecting a proposal to create a new King County sales tax to fund access to arts, science and heritage programs.
King County voters were showing little enthusiasm for a new tax to support arts, science and culture programs in Tuesday’s returns.
Proposition 1, which requested a 0.1 percent sales tax — or a penny for every $10 spent — was being rejected by 55 percent of voters, with 45 percent approving.
The measure had widespread support from about 350 arts organizations in the county that would benefit from an infusion of more than $67 million a year. But it was opposed by those who argued that the arts weren’t the highest priority in a region facing crises in homelessness, mental health services and affordable housing.
Yes: 45 percentNo: 55 percent
“The high cost, when added to the other tax increases people faced over the last three years — I think a lot of voters said enough is enough,” said Metropolitan King County Councilmember Larry Gossett, who opposed the measure.
Supporters held out hope that later ballots would give them a win.
The arts tax was seen as another regressive tax amid a slew of new taxes, including those for Sound Transit expansion, state education funding and a proposal on the November ballot to double the size of the county’s Veterans and Human Services levy.
The proposal was estimated to cost about $30 a year for a family with an income of $80,000.
Proposition 1 also raised questions because the largest arts organizations in the county would get the bulk of the funding while about 300 smaller organizations would share about 28 percent.
Under the proposal, arts organizations would be required to provide free and low-cost admissions to arts, science and cultural programs and venues. Large organizations would have to spend 30 percent of their funding to support access by underserved communities and 20 percent of their funding to bring activities to suburban and rural parts of the counties.
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A public-school access program would fund classroom art activities and transportation to performances and exhibits.
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