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Lakewood City Council to vote on proposed 1/10th of 1 percent tax increase

Feb. 28, 2020

At its regular meeting Monday, March 2, 2020 the Lakewood City Council is expected to review and vote on an ordinance that proposes a 1/10 of 1 percent tax increase dedicated to funding mental health and chemical dependency services in the city.

The tax is being considered as part of a separate review of Substitute House Bill 1406, which was adopted by the state Legislature during the 2019 legislative session. This law provides a revenue stream to help fund affordable housing for counties, cities and towns that choose to participate. The money comes from the state’s existing 6.5 percent sales tax and is not a new tax.

In order to receive the full tax credit allowed under SHB 1406, a participating jurisdiction must pass a qualifying local tax.

A qualifying local tax is a local property tax or sales tax imposed by a jurisdiction separate from the requirements of SHB 1406, to address affordable housing or related issues.

Options include:

  • An affordable housing levy (RCW 84.52.105);
  • A sales and use tax for affordable housing (RCW 82.14.530);
  • A levy lid lift (RCW 84.55.050) that is restricted solely to affordable housing; or
  • A mental health and chemical dependency sales tax (RCW 82.14.460), which is only authorized by statute for those cities of at least 30,000 population located within Pierce County.

After review of the qualifying tax options, the Lakewood City Council requested additional information about the 1/10th of 1 percent mental health and chemical dependency sales tax. The council reviewed this option at its Feb. 24, 2020 study session and debated the pros and cons of implementing such a tax.

Following a roughly 45-minute discussion, City Council members agreed to bring the proposed tax increase to a full vote of the council at the March 2, 2020 regular meeting.

Members of the public who would like to comment on the proposed ordinance will have the opportunity during the regular public comment period at the start of the meeting to comment. Meetings are held in Council Chambers, 6000 Main St SW, and being at 7 p.m.

Listen to the City Council discussion from its Feb. 24, 2020 study session by clicking this link which will take you to the audio recording from the night’s meeting. The discussion around the tax begins at 1:26:37 and ends at 2:19:48.