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Fri., May 20, 2011, 12:26 p.m.

Council support for property tax boost dwindles

The Spokane City Council on Monday will decide if it will ask voters to approve a property tax increase to help balance the city’s budget next year.

At a meeting earlier this week, there appeared to be little, if any, support on the council for the tax proposal, and council members Nancy McLaughlin and Steve Corker argued that it should be pulled from the agenda. But other council members said they preferred to hold Monday’s hearing to hear from the public before making a final decision.

City administrators say there’s a $6.6 million deficit that must be dealt with to balance the 2012 budget. Spokane Mayor Mary Verner said earlier this month that she opposes asking voters for the higher property tax and prefers raising hotel taxes, diverting money from red light camera tickets and other measures to balance the budget. 

Earlier this year, some council members expressed willingness to consider asking voters for a property tax increase for libraries. But interest has fallen after Verner criticized property tax increases as a budget solution and after a city analysis showed that a raise in property taxes (called a levy lid lift) may not produce as much as expected if property values continue to fall.

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Jonathan Brunt
Jonathan Brunt joined The Spokesman-Review in 2004. He is the government editor. He previously was a reporter who covered Spokane City Hall, Spokane County government and public safety.

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