Voters seemed to know what they were doing

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  • Thursday, February 28, 2008 9:07am

With virtually everyone in the state straining their eyes in search of some sign of life the moribund economy, Tuesday’s 55 percent approval of a parks tax may be a hopeful signal.

At a time when money is tight and the public and lawmakers alike have screamed “No!” to taxes, King County voters said “Yes” to spending more of their money on regional parks.

The measure fund continued and increased operation and maintenance of King County’s regional parks (for example, Marymoor Park; Cougar Mountain; portions of Burke Gilman Trail), rural parks, and recreation facilities, and fund recreation grant programs. In their approval, voters authorized King County to go above regular property tax limitations and levy an additional regular property tax of 4.9 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation for four years, starting next year.

Metro King Council member Carolyn Edmonds spearheaded the Council’s effort to put the item on the ballot. When she started, Edmonds’ plan of asking all county residents to do the right thing and support park facilities for the greater good seemed, well, optimistic. She stuck with her message which obviously resonated with voters.

Tuesday’s ballot counting brought other hopeful signs of an electorate perhaps feeling better about its current economic state.

In Renton, just less than 60 percent approved a school levy. In Snoqualmie, just more than 60 percent approved a similar school levy.

Those results, however, bring another issue about approving taxes.

It only takes a simple majority, 50 percent to approve an assessment for parks but when the same question is asked for the children, the future, it takes a supermajority of 60 percent. Now that’s something lawmakers should change.

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