County postpones discussions on sales tax increase until next year

The Pierce County Council voted to continue discussions on a one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax increase — meant to fund housing — until its March 7 meeting.

The proposed new tax would cost the average Pierce County resident $16 per year, while generating approximately $103 million in revenue over the next four years.
“When we’re focused on the pennies, the one penny on 10 dollars and how much burden that might be … sometimes we need to look at the dollars that we’re getting,” Councilmember Marty Campbell said at the Dec. 13 meeting following numerous people testifying in support of the tax. “What I heard is that local programs have gotten back 20 dollars for every dollar collected. We’re talking $20 million a year here locally. Let’s look at that out over a decade because you don’t plan housing one quarter, one year at a time. You plan decades at a time.”
Campbell said the money to be collected translates into $4 billion in housing in Pierce County.
The tax is meant to create more affordable housing funds for supporting those whose income is at or below 60 percent of the median income of Pierce County, including those with behavioral health conditions, veterans, senior citizens, the homeless, those at risk of becoming homeless, people with disabilities and domestic violence survivors.
Certain items, including groceries, medicine and selected medical supplies and hygiene products would be exempt from the tax.


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