Yesterday, in what I assume to be the last chapter in the sad story of Pierce County's Prop 1, I wrote about the sales-tax increase's demise at the hands of Pierce Transit service area voters - who refused a three-tenths of one percent sales tax hike by roughly 700 votes. Pierce Transit officials say without an increase in funding service will be reduced by 53 percent and weekend service will be axed all together.
By rejecting a three-tenths of one percent sales tax hike, those within Pierce Transit's service area will soon be rewarded with a 53-percent reduction in services and some relieved car dealers.
By all indications, it won't be pretty. The poor, elderly and disabled will bear the brunt of the discomfort, as is all too often the case. As Loren Jellico of Steilacoom wrote in a letter to the editor published by The News Tribune in Tacoma, "The bottom line: It was a vote against human decency."
Truer words have never been written.
"If we're cutting 53 percent of service compared to where we are today, we would have to eliminate all weekend service completely. We would also have to eliminate all service past 7 p.m." Pierce Transit spokesperson Lars Erickson told Seattle Weekly in August.
Prior to Prop 1's defeat (which isn't expected to be challenged through a recount), Pierce Transit officials estimated that without passing the sales-tax hike -- which is the only avenue currently afforded to the agency to increase revenue -- Pierce Transit's service will likely be reduced to 75 percent of what was offered in 1980 within five years. Some have even speculated that it could lead to Pierce Transit ceasing to be.
For important perspective on the problem, 50 percent of Pierce Transit's ridership has a yearly household income of $20,000 or less, and 75 percent of its ridership brings in less than $40,000 a year.
Prop 1's opponents, who proclaimed victory Wednesday, argue Pierce Transit is bloated, mismanaged, and a borderline thieving operation. They say a sales-tax hike would be bad for area businesses, and organizations like the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce -- which opposed Prop 1 -- obviously believed it. Following the money, the anti-Prop 1 campaign was heavily funded by car dealers, a demographic that would have been hit harder than most by a three-tenths of one percent sales tax increase.
Obviously, not everyone thinks Pierce Transit deserves more funding. This becomes evident simply when looking at the vote tallies, and also by perusing the comment section of the posts I've published on the subject.
As commenter evadnikufesin wrote yesterday:
So let me get this straight... what you are saying is that while Pierce Transit has been INSANELY wasteful of the financial resources they've had is just going to have to lump it and take it's medicine like it should? Oh that's a shame... really... The CEO hired 150 drivers with ZERO experience.. trained them.. got them CDLs.. only to FIRE THEM BEFORE PUTTING THEM TO WORK. They could have HIRED QUALIFIED DRIVERS IN THIS ECONOMY READY TO GO!
I'm sorry.. PT can suffer for their mismanagement.. the Pierce Co. businesses shouldn't have to pay for PT's mistakes.
Oh.. and you're a moron.