Letter to the Editor: Levy supports veterans in need

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

To the Editor:

On June 19, the Shoreline Area News editorial wrote that the primary in Shoreline was meaningless with only one judicial candidate. (Corrected just after publication to include the levy. Ed.) I would like to point out that although the candidate list on the primary ballot in Shoreline is short, there is one primary ballot measure of great significance. That is renewal of the Veterans and Human Services Levy. This levy, initially passed in 2005, is now one of only two sources of human services funding by King County. (The other is the Mental Illness and Drug Dependency Sales Tax). Contrast this with 2005, when the Veterans and Human Services Levy was thought of as a supplementary levy, and the County spent $20 million per year on human services out of the general fund.

The ballot measure sets the same initial rate as the original 2005 Veterans and Human Services Levy, 5 cents per $1000 of assessed value. The ballot measure specifies that levy growth will be tied to inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, with a floor of 1 percent and a ceiling of 3 percent. Half the money is dedicated to veteran services and half to more general human services. There are separate oversight boards for the two halves of the levy. Reports of use of dollars and results of the levy are contained on this webpage.  I know that the oversight boards have been very conciencious about putting together a plan and carefully selecting projects that support that plan.

The renewal of the human services levy was approved by the Regional Policy Committee of King County, endorsed by the Suburban Cities Association and many individual cities including Shoreline, and sent to the voters unanimously by the King County Council. I know this is a bad time for even small taxes. However, it is a good time to continue this levy, which supports veterans in need who have put their life on the line for this country. Additionally, the human services part of the levy supports measures to provide homes for homeless families and fund low income medical clinics. I strongly support continuing this levy and urge Shoreline voters to also support it.

Chris Eggen

(Letter was originally posted with name withheld by Editor.)


Janet Way June 29, 2011 at 7:27 AM  

Thanks to Councilmember Eggen for sending in this letter on this important issue. It is so important now to support our veterans and honor their service and sacrifice.

We all may feel that the wars going on are so far away and somehow off our radar. But this levy brings it home and to the people most affected.

I support it too and urge all voters to do so.

Math Challenged,  June 29, 2011 at 8:31 AM  

I posted this the last time this was run..
Maybe someone has the answers now that it has been a little while?

I'd sure love to know what I'm being asked to vote for because I'd REALLY like to vote for it!
So..this is a slam dunk for me....05/$1000 is about $20/year on a $400,000 home, right? (about $10/year for Veterans)

But, what about the authorization of the additional % increases. What is the % based on?
Someone please help me understand what this increase (capped at 3% PER YEAR) would mean?
Would that be a yearly increase of 1%-3% of the .05/$1000?

It's tied to the inflation rate, but, what if inflation is 0%?
This says a floor of 1%.

I think I need a tutor..

Evan Smith,  June 29, 2011 at 10:02 AM  

King County elections officials tell me that the financial-impact statement will be available soon.

Anonymous,  July 27, 2011 at 8:30 PM  

There is no increase to the .05/1000 rate. The ballot measure does allow growth of the total collected amount though. All voter-approved levies are allowed up to 1% growth. The ballot measure bases the increase on the Consumer Price Index, to ensure Levy funding can keep up with cost of living and caps any increase of the total collected amount at 3%.

The average homeowner will pay less than $20 per year, and that could perhaps increase a buck or two per year depending on how fast your home appreciates.

Over time, as property values rise (eventually), the .05/1000 is actually likely to decrease.

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