Elections

King County veterans levy (Prop. 1) earns Municipal League support

The Municipal League of King County announced it supports King County Proposition 1, also known as the Veterans and Human Services Levy, for the Aug. 16 primary election.

According to the league: “The renewal of this levy would help sustain essential services to some of our county’s most vulnerable populations. We believe $17 a year is a small price to pay for these critical investments. We recognize that times are tough for King County residents and many are struggling to keep their homes. However, failure to renew this levy may actually make matters worse since it would likely result in the elimination of services to those most in need.”

The Metropolitan King County Council unanimously approved the legislation in May. If approved by the voters, the measure would continue the existing levy for an additional six years at the current rate of 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. Consistent with the current levy, half of the proceeds would be dedicated exclusively for programs to assist veterans and their families. The other half would support general human service programs available to all King County residents.

The program has roots stretching back to the 19th century, in a state law that allows individual counties to establish veterans assistance programs. Countywide, the levy generates around $7 million per year for veterans services.

According to the league, arguments against the levy say that the levy places an unnecessary burden on taxpayers, and that voters need more specific information about how funds will be used.

"The county shouldn’t continue to create special silos for funding rather than pay for services through the general fund. This is not the right way to pay for ongoing, essential services," according to the league's website. "The independence of the oversight board is uncertain. Members seem to only represent groups that benefit from the allocation of these funds. A more balanced approach would include “at-large” or more general community members."

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