How they voted: Tacoma's Prop. 1

Many utility tax supporters resided in Downtown, Hilltop, North Tacoma

Staff writerDecember 5, 2013 

With the votes from November’s election tallied and certified, the city of Tacoma is dusting itself off and moving on.

Voters chose last month to not pass Tacoma Proposition 1, a measure that would have raised $11 million per year from utility companies by taxing their earnings another 2 percentage points. The proposition failed 43 percent in favor to 57 percent against.

Tacoma voters along Pacific Avenue, in the Hilltop, into the Tideflats and some of the North End favored Proposition 1, as you can see from the map below. Voters near University of Puget Sound particularly liked the measure, while the “no” camp encircled the “yes” voters like a doughnut. Zoom in on the map to see specific precincts and click for more information.

Turnout for the election citywide was at 41.09 percent — even lower than Pierce County’s fourth-from-dead-last turnout of 41.42 percent among other Washington state counties. But of those Tacoma voters, 38.73 percent actually voted on Proposition 1.

Even opponents of the measure have said that Tacoma’s streets are in dire need of repairs, said City Councilman Ryan Mello on election night after he learned of the proposition’s defeat.

“The streets aren’t going to fix themselves,” he said then. “I’m convinced they want us to fix something.”

Recently, City Councilman Marty Campbell said the city hasn’t made plans on how to move ahead.

“I think we saw (Proposition 1) as a reasonable way to solve the issues before us,” Campbell said.

Opponents of the measure said the cost of the utility tax would be eventually passed down to customers. Some business representatives said their companies would pay tens of thousands of dollars more per year if the cost were passed along.

Opponents said the city’s Fiscal Sustainability Task Force, which was convened to find ways to close the city’s budget gap in 2015, should be able to find ways to pay for the city’s aged streets.

You can read much, much more on the topic and play with an interactive map of the city’s crumbling street system here.

Kate Martin: 253-597-8542 @KateReports

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