Tacoma’s City Council on Tuesday narrowly voted down an amendment to include a sunset provision in a measure that calls to end a business tax break for the MultiCare and Franciscan health systems.
The council voted 5-4 against the amendment introduced by Councilman Joe Lonergan. Instead, it will consider the original measure, as proposed in City Manager T.C. Broadnax’s 2013-14 budget plan. A final vote is expected next week.
The original proposal calls to end a partial business and occupation tax exemption for Tacoma’s nonprofit hospitals, which now pay a 75 percent reduced B&O rate. By imposing the full B&O tax, the city will raise an estimated $5.5 million in new revenues for its cash-strapped general fund over the next two years.
Lonergan’s amendment would have rolled back the tax to a 50 percent level beginning in 2015. He said he introduced it as a way to ensure a meaningful examination of the city’s uneven business tax structure would take place before the next city budget cycle.
Mayor Marilyn Strickland, speaking for the majority, said such a discussion can and will take place without the sunset provision.
Strickland joined Council members Jake Fey, Anders Ibsen, Ryan Mello and Lauren Walker to defeat the amendment, while Lonergan and members David Boe, Marty Campbell and Victoria Woodards supported it.lewis.kamb@ thenewstribune.com