Concerned that it could see as much as $2 million in annual tax revenue slip through its fingers, the Puyallup City Council on Monday set a special council meeting for midday Tuesday to consider imposing a sales tax for mental health services.
The council had scheduled an initial discussion of the one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax at its regular meeting Tuesday evening, but fearing the Pierce County Council could act first, Puyallup scheduled a new meeting for 12:30 p.m.
Puyallup Mayor John Hopkins said the city called the special meeting as a “precautionary measure” to ensure that whatever sales tax money collected in Puyallup remains under the city’s control. If Pierce County acts before Puyallup, the city couldn’t impose the tax, Hopkins said.
Puyallup’s additional sales tax collections would be relatively high for a city of some 30,000 residents because the East Pierce County city is a hub for car sales.
The mayor said if the special tax is imposed, it would probably contain a provision that it would not be collected unless Pierce County imposed the tax on the remainder of the county.
“We don’t want to become a higher tax island in Pierce County,” said Hopkins. “Cars cost more in Puyallup would not be a good slogan.”
The Pierce County Council has said it plans to consider imposing the tax, but not until mid-December. The County Council is scheduled to discuss next year’s budget at the meeting Tuesday afternoon, which might have prompted the concern from Puyallup.
The imposition of a new sales tax typically is an action that the council would consider after lengthy notice to citizens. Hopkins said he is not concerned about the short notice on consideration of the new tax.
“We could always rescind it if necessary,” he said.
John Gillie: 253-597-8663