Despite King County Council budget chair Dave Upthegrove’s announcement late Tuesday (April 11) that he was the pulling the Access for All tax measure from consideration by his committee, and his statement later on that the Access for All tax measure was “the wrong proposal at the wrong time,” supporters of the measure showed up to testify before the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee meeting the following day and were allowed to do so.
Following the Committee meeting on Wednesday, Council Chair Joe McDermott was joined by Councilmembers Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Claudia Balducci in praising the about-face. “By conducting a hearing on the measure in the Budget Committee this morning, the council was able to have an open and honest discussion about priorities, opportunities, challenges and concerns,” they said in a statement.
The Committee did not take immediate action, but McDermott, Kohl-Welles and Balducci said that they hoped to continue refining the proposal in time to gain the support of their colleagues on the Council and place it on the August ballot. The measure, backed by King County Executive Dow Constantine, would seek an increase of .01 percent in the County sales tax. Regional leaders have been working for a decade on this proposal, and Kohl-Welles had been serving in the Washington State Senate and was one of the key proponents of the Cultural Access Program when it was approved by the State Legislature in 2015.