Wednesday, May 21, 2008

School Bond Measure Lacks Support

News today that the Evergreen School District Capital Improvement Bond measure was defeated was disappointing, although not entirely surprising.

Indeed, the economic conditions don't lend well to tax-payer support. However, the support campaign couldn't just "pull the plug"...once the machine is started, there's really no turning back.

As I mentioned in our recent joint meeting with the Evergreen School Board, I viewed their measure as the litmus test for our community under these current economic conditions. The support campaign worked tirelessly, and there has been significant public support for the school district in recent years. Conventional wisdom would suggest that the current proposed capital improvement measure should have passed. However, the current economic conditions clearly have the attention of the tax payer, and even supporting schools and our children's education is not enough to part with the pocketbook.

Other local public agencies should take seriously the message from the resounding defeat of the school measure. In addition, the recent defeat of the public safety communication sales tax increase (CRESA) and the Port of Vancouver property tax levy are also both messages to be heeded. It's hard to believe that until the economy improves, until the public's perception of and satisfaction with government (particularly federal) inproves, until food prices come down, and until gas prices come down (if ever), there doesn't appear to be room in the checking account to pay more taxes.


Bob Koski said...


What does the defeat of all four County School Bonds say about the prospects for failure of portions of the "Leavitt Plan:??

Specifically your ideas about imposing a "Street Utility Maintenance Fee" in the City of Vancouver?

Figure the odds of that idea seeing the light of day for me...


Tim Leavitt said...

Thanks for the question, Bob.

Well, the Street Utility Tax isn't feasible right now...not necessarily because of what happened with the school measure, but because state law is not in place to allow for such a funding source.

So, until there are changes to State Law, a Street Utility Tax won't see the light of day.

As an aside, I would propose consideration of this tax to REPLACE other the Business License Surcharge and Head Tax, and Traffic Impact Fees.

A street utility tax would provide a more stable funding source for building and maintaining roads in our community. By spreading the "cost" to every household in our community, we would all pay a little...rather than placing the higher burden on local business. As you probably know, Washington has one the worst business climates in the nation. To many taxes placed on Washington businesses, disincenting growth, expansion and creation of more jobs.