‘Tough’ Decision

A special governing body recommended, sort of, shrinking the Kitsap Transit service area, a move designed to help the agency win elections. Think that’s editorializing?

“We’re not denying that this is about economics and the ability to win elections,” (Richard) Hayes said.

The move wouldn’t change the agency’s service. It’s primarily about getting voter approval for passenger-only ferry service. All five on this board said they want the ferry service, but three said they don’t want to eliminate people from voting on it. Gehring was one of those, but voted for it Thursday in part because it wasn’t a final decision.

That will happen Dec. 12.

Gehring is the one who said the decision will be “tough.”

Some of you think it shouldn’t be a tough decision at all.

10 thoughts on “‘Tough’ Decision

  1. I do not mind so long as the bus service is the same. No one should become deprived of depended upon bus transportation due to political game playing.
    What difference does it really make if the transit company changes the perimeter? How does it hurt anyone?

  2. If the “public transportation benefit area” doing business as Kitsap Transit shrinks in size, the 22,000 Kitsap residents cut out of the district would no longer be allowed to vote on proposed tax increases which substantially affect them.

    Why is that not an obvious harm to them, Sharon?

    The “PTBA” boundary lines would no longer describe the area in which people receive a reasonable benefit from the transit services. Worker-driver, van pool, and ACCESS transit services would still be provided in those outlying areas, just as they now are.

    The boundary lines wouldn’t limit the area receiving transit services, but would instead limit the area within which the right to vote on tax increases exists.

    The new boundary lines are being proposed merely to make it more likely that tax increases will be approved by the remaining voters.

    It’s a strange idea of boundary lines. They wouldn’t define the service area, but would define the area where people will still have — or will no longer have — the right to vote on transit tax increases.

  3. What harm is it. I would be cut out of the chance to vote but must drive into Silverdale to do business and pay the increase taxes. I believe that passenger only ferries may be a good fit for Kitsap if the scheduling is done right. However, I’m not going to support it if I don’t get to vote on the tax increase I’m going to have to pay a 1/2 mile away.

  4. It is hardly fair then that only a limited number of people can vote on something affecting a larger group. The folks forced to pay the increased tax should be able to vote on it..

  5. How wide an area should be able to decide on the sales taxes to support Kitsap Transit? Everyone who ever shops inside the taxing district? How about Jefferson County folks who shop in Poulsbo or Silverdale? How about my relatives who visit here from out of state?

    What if the taxes to support Kitsap Transit were based on our properties or our incomes instead of our (and others’) purchases? Since only the property inside the district would be taxed, or only the income of those living inside the district would be taxed, would either of those be more fair to the taxpayers and voters?

  6. Cean, don’t change the question in an effort to set up a “straw man” that you can knock over.

    The question is whether to change the current Kitsap Transit boundaries — which are now the same as the county’s boundaries, meaning everyone residing in Kitsap County is in the district.

    All Kitsap County residents have the right to vote on Kitsap Transit tax increase proposals now.

    The people who want to shrink the land area included within the transit district would cut more than 22,000 residents out of the right to vote on tax increases.

    They would do this for the simple reason that those residents live in areas that voted by substantial majorities against the previous tax increase proposal.

    In short, they want to take away the right to vote, because those people didn’t vote the way the transit folks wanted — and they figure the votes would again go against a tax increase.

    The question is not, and never has been, whether people who don’t reside in Kitsap County should be able to vote on tax increases which would apply only within our county.

    The question is also not whether to increase the size of the transit district and include even more voters.

    The question is whether to take away the right to vote from more than 22,000 county residents in order to make it more likely that a tax increase would be approved by the remaining voters.

    Try dealing with the actual question, and leave the straw men out of it.

  7. Bob –
    You are right on. Most of the people having their right to vote on the tax increase taken away from them do not have other shopping options like people living outside the county do.

  8. I was not setting up a straw man. I was asking questions in the hope that people would think a little bit about our lousy tax structure.

    I believe that the entire county should be voting on this tax to support Kitsap Transit, but our laws are such that some taxpayers will not be able to vote yes or no to the tax.

    Sales tax works that way. It’s a poor way to fund government, but it is our state’s chosen method, and it isn’t going to change in the near future.

  9. __________________________
    The Washington State Ferries are considered part of our highway system, why aren’t buses for transportation considered part of the highway system too and funded the same way?
    Fact is drivers smart and considerate enough to ride the bus causes less road wear & tear, less environmental pollution from exhausts and less use of a dwindling resource…oil.

  10. I am a strong believer of the greater good that will come by allowing our local tranist authority to operate fast ferry service between Bremerton and Seattle (and soon, Port Orchard to Seattle). As a Small Business owner in downtown Bremerton, I believe in things that will help get more people walking by my store to spend money and thus, pay the proposed sales tax. Speaking of which, when you do the math, if I spend $1,000 per month on goods within the county, I pay $86.00 in taxes. With the proposed transit tax, I will pay $89. The difference is $3.00! So, for every $1,000 a family spends a month, there would only be an additional $3 to pay for fast ferry service. I believe that is less than a pack of cigarettes.

    I know the argument is about excluding 22,000 residents, but consider the greater good of being able to hop on a fast ferry to go to Seattle for a football game and not have to spend 2 hours roundrip to and from Qwest Field, or having a friend or family member in a hospital there and having to visit more regularly. WSF does not care about Bremertonians (just check out the boats the put on this route and the boats they put on the Bainbridge route). KT is right on the Bremerton Ferry Terminal. They do care about providing progressive transportation solutions. How do I know? I take the bus every day.

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