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Commission Stuck on STA Plan When Deciding Own Tax Needs

Spokane County’s sales and use tax, which funds the jail, expires this year. The board of county commissioners plans to renew the tax through a ballot measure, but is stuck in debate over when to introduce it. The disagreement may hinge on commissioner opinions of STA’s tax proposal, set for April.

Commissioner Shelley O’Quinn said this week she supports putting the tax on the April ballot. But colleague Al French advocated for the August ballot, citing cost reasons.

French: “If we go onto the August ballot we’ll be able to share the cost of that ballot with all of the other municipalities that are going to be holding their primary elections, as opposed to now where we will only be sharing the ballot with STA.”

But it may have more to do with the commissioners’ views of Spokane Transit Authority’s “Moving Forward” plan and related tax. French has voiced support for it, while O’Quinn has shown resistance. French said he doesn’t want to introduce the sales and use tax in April given what’s already on that ballot, suggesting he wants taxpayers to focus on STA’s plan.

Commission chair Shelley O’Quinn says they will vote next week on the ballot timing. She said Tuesday: “and we will readdress this at that time, based on what the best interest is for Spokane County, not just for other items on the ballot.”

The sales and use tax is equal to one-tenth of one percent.

Copyright 2015 Spokane Public Radio

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