Snohomish County Council will put public safety sales tax on the November ballot

Snohomish County Council will put public safety sales tax on the November ballot
Snohomish County Council will put public safety sales tax on the November ballot

EVERETT, Washington, – Today, the Snohomish County Council unanimously (5-0) approved placing a public safety sales tax on the ballot for the November 5, 2024 general election. The tax was proposed by Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers and, if approved by voters, will provide additional funding for the county’s efforts to reduce crime and mitigate the impact of the drug crisis.

“We know the public is demanding creative solutions to the drug crisis because of the negative impact it has on individuals, businesses and our community,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. “We must ensure that perpetrators are held accountable while also showing compassion so that people get the help they need.”

“By creating new programs and strengthening our law enforcement tools, we can better combat the drug crisis and the crime that results from it,” said Jared Mead, chairman of the Snohomish County Council. “Voters can now have a say in whether they want us to use these new tools and strengthen our law enforcement agencies.”

If voters approve the public safety sales tax:

  • Snohomish County will be able to hire more police officers to ensure that cartels, drug traffickers and criminals are held accountable.
  • The county can provide more resources to the prosecutor’s office, public defenders, and the courts to ensure we can prosecute those arrested for crimes.
  • The county will establish a secure detoxification facility in Snohomish County to provide more capacity for those who need to get clean, significantly increasing the 77 beds currently available statewide.
  • Snohomish County would establish a second community resource center like Carnegie, which has proven successful in providing people with access to services.
  • The county wants to expand addiction treatment services in our jail.
  • The district will develop programs to combat graffiti, abandoned vehicles and other visible signs of the crisis.

“I am pleased that voters have the opportunity to weigh in on this important issue,” said Nate Nehring, vice chairman of the Snohomish County Council. “Weighing the burden of a sales tax increase against the benefits of additional funding for law enforcement is a difficult decision. It is appropriate that this important decision be in the hands of voters.”

“Because of my strong support for law enforcement and safe neighborhoods, I want to give voters the opportunity to weigh in on the public safety sales tax,” said Council Member Sam Low. “Our region and our country are awash with dangerous drugs, and with the public’s approval, we can deploy more tools for public safety.”

“This motion to voters will strengthen the county’s ability to holistically fund public safety in our communities,” said Council Member Megan Dunn. “It is important that the county has the resources necessary to take a balanced approach to ensuring the safety of all of our residents. The broad range of needs funded by this measure, including addressing behavioral health issues, youth violence, combating illegal activity, and improving access to treatment services, will undoubtedly improve the quality of life for everyone in our county.”

“We know the complex public safety challenges we face require new investments,” said Council Member Strom Peterson. “As a growing county, we must take the next steps to ensure the safety and health of all our residents. The public now has the opportunity to decide if this is a priority.”

If approved by voters, the tax would cost 2 cents per $10 purchase. Estimates suggest the tax would cost the average citizen less than a dollar a week. Sales tax revenue would be split, with 60% going to Snohomish County and the remaining 40% going to cities with a certain population and depending on whether they have adopted their own local sales tax. Over 50% of the funds would be used by the county for law enforcement purposes and the rest for other public safety priorities.

Source: Snohomish County