Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Monday, October 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 54° Partly Cloudy
News >  Spokane

Voters renew Spokane County public safety sales tax

UPDATED: Tue., Aug. 6, 2019

An employee of the Philadelphia Macaroni Company, the site of a recent coronavirus outbreak, was arrested twice on suspicion of driving under the influence in a one-week span. His cellmate at the Spokane County Jail and six police officers were quarantined as a result. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
An employee of the Philadelphia Macaroni Company, the site of a recent coronavirus outbreak, was arrested twice on suspicion of driving under the influence in a one-week span. His cellmate at the Spokane County Jail and six police officers were quarantined as a result. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane voters overwhelmingly chose Tuesday to renew a countywide public safety sales tax.

More than 67% of votes in Tuesday night’s primary election were in support of Spokane County Measure No. 1, which will renew the county’s criminal justice and public safety sales tax.

The extension will be in effect from April 2020 to December 2029.

Spokane County Commissioner Mary Kuney said Spokane County keeps 60% of the tax and the rest goes to the cities across the county. She said the tax is an essential part of the $170 million public safety budget, which is only a fraction of the county’s entire budget of $790 million.

“To take $6 million away may not seem like a lot, but it is a lot,” Kuney said. “That would be some significant cuts to public safety.”

The tax is mostly used to pay for staffing in the sheriff’s office and courts.

Voters twice before have approved the sales tax, which amounts to one-tenth of 1% of purchases. The first time it came before Spokane County voters, in 2004, almost 52% voted in favor. When the sales tax was renewed in 2009, nearly 62% voted yes. When the sales tax was first adopted, it generated about $2 million in revenue; it now generates about $6 million.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.


American families feeling the pinch of COVID-19 pandemic

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index asked about 1,330 adult Americans in different income brackets a variety of questions, including how their finances are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy COUNTRY Financial)
Sponsored

The year 2020 hasn’t been the most forgiving year for families and their pocketbooks.