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Dunn: County must make 'hard choices' before asking for more taxes
Metropolitan King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn said Tuesday that the county has to make "hard choices" before it puts a .2 percent tax increase on the August ballot.
“It has been reported that I am undecided about putting a sales tax on the August ballot," said Dunn, who represents a portion of Bellevue on the council. "I am not."
Dunn said that before he would be willing to consider more revenue he wants to see "some concrete action dealing with the real problem – year to year increases in King County’s cost of doing business."
Dunn noted that over the years, previous County Executives have said that King County has a “structural budget gap” and that more revenue is the fix.
"I have been saying that King County has a spending problem and must deal with its cost drivers, which are principally salaries and benefits," Dunn said.
Dunn said that every year the County Council makes cuts to essential services because those services increase at a rate of nearly seven percent. He added that he applauds Executive Dow Constantine for saying he wants to reduce those increases to the rate of inflation.
"We must now see some action toward that goal before asking the public to trust us with more money," Dunn said.
Dunn also said he wants King County to look at ways to offset any new taxes with cuts in other places before considering new revenue.
"King County taxpayers are struggling to crawl out of the recession," Dunn said. "This is not a time to burden them further."
King County is facing $60 million in cuts this fall. The cuts are expected to fall heavily on police, courts prosecution because public safety is a large part of the county budget.
"As a former federal prosecutor, it is difficult to see our criminal justice system cut," Dunn said. "However, King County must make some hard choices before asking the public to give more.”