Pierce Transit is Retarded...

...By Sales Tax
posted Feb 17, 2009
THE TACOMIC - Pierce Transit is Retarded... ()
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2/12 - Pierce Transit in a bind, Tacoma Weekly

2/6 - Pierce Transit mulls bus service cuts as revenue plummets, Political Buzz

2/10 - Pierce Transit Considers Service Cuts, BIA Blog

by Erik on 2/17/2009 @ 8:09am
Wonky underground Tacomic.

by izenmania on 2/17/2009 @ 8:54am that Richard Nixon?

(Sorry. Obscure geek-joke moment.)

by fredo on 2/17/2009 @ 9:33am
I suppose PT riders could collectively petition PT to increase the portion of the operating budget coming from the fare box. Ooops, that might jeopardize our new socialism.

by seejane on 2/17/2009 @ 10:06am
Fredo - a book you may enjoy is "The Discovery of Freedom" by Rose Wilder Lane (daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder of Little House fame.)
Here's a nice piece from the RWL wiki "Lane turned away from commercial writing and became known as one of the more influential American libertarians of the middle 20th century. She vehemently opposed the New Deal, creeping socialism, Social Security, wartime rationing and all forms of taxation, claiming she ceased writing highly paid commercial fiction in order to protest paying income taxes. She cut her income and expenses to the bare minimum, and lived a modern-day version of her ancestors' pioneer life on her rural land near Danbury, Connecticut.

A staunch opponent of communism after experiencing it first hand in the Soviet Union during her Red Cross travels, she wrote the seminal The Discovery of Freedom (1943), and tirelessly promoted and wrote about individual freedom, and its impact on humanity. As Lane grew older, her political opinions solidified as a fundamentalist libertarian, and her defense of what she considered to be basic American principles of liberty and freedom could become harsh and abrasive in the face of disagreement"

It's not an easy read, but very interesting.

by fredo on 2/17/2009 @ 10:37am
SeeJane@ Thanks for the recommendation. Sounds good!

I only hope my comments are not considered "harsh and abrasive." Since I appear to be the only conservative commentor on these threads I actually don't expect much in the way of support.

by NineInchNachos on 2/17/2009 @ 1:00pm
I like your comments fredo.

Whatismore, if PT messes with my bus then the overstuffed mickey mouse cartoon gloves are REALLY coming off.

Also, Anyone notice my rendering of the downtown transit center razor blade water-feature? That was for you Mr. Boe.

by izenmania on 2/17/2009 @ 1:40pm
Fredo, this is one point that I firmly agree with you on. While I don't want to see their tax revenue decrease, I am all for moderate fare increases (too much all at once will kill ridership). I also think that we'll be seeing more "skinned" buses, acting as mobile billboards, which I consider a perfectly acceptable revenue stream. The buses are already ugly, so it's not creating the eyesore that the Clear Channel billboards do, and the advertising revenue is going toward a public service, rather than a multimedia megacorp.

by izenmania on 2/17/2009 @ 1:41pm
Also, that is quite a lineup of hats, RR.

by NineInchNachos on 2/17/2009 @ 2:14pm
a note to businesses:

Joe is right. Always pick a transit ad over a clearchannel billboard.

Your customers will thank you.

by NineInchNachos on 6/29/2009 @ 9:19pm
" of the thousands of riders who will have to find a new bus route, if not another means of transportation entirely, by July 12.

Pierce Transit, squeezed by the economic downturn, will start its slimmed-down bus schedule on that date. It won’t affect heavily used routes, but service on less popular routes will be reduced or consolidated, and certain segments of routes will be eliminated."

by fredo on 6/29/2009 @ 9:44pm
The riders only pay 13c per $1.00 of operational expense through the fare box. Sorry, that's just too insubstantial.

It would be interesting to see how many riders would abandon the transit systems if they were required to pay their proportional share of the operationals.

by NineInchNachos on 6/29/2009 @ 10:08pm
as somebody pointed out in the TNT comments you can't pay cops to play basket ball AND keep bus service to all the outposts of suburban sprawl.


Do you enjoy hypotheticals? It would be interesting to see how many zombies would abandon their 3000 pound motorized baby carriages if the federal government ended subsidies to big oil.

by fredo on 6/29/2009 @ 11:14pm
NIN@ If the removal of government subsidies caused fuel prices to increase all transportation (including transit) would become more expensive. However, transit riders would still receive the huge sales tax subsidy so transit ridership would probably increase. And yes, I do like your hypothetical.

by NineInchNachos on 6/30/2009 @ 12:26am
not if they were MAGIC Buses

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/30/2009 @ 1:43am
RR and Fredo, you mention the oil and transit subsidies. But we all know they go deeper than that. Bank subsidies. Farming subsidies. Construction and development subsidies. Buying off a congressman subsidies. The list goes on and on and on.
So imagine, if you will, a US of A without Uncle Sam subsidizing Our good life.
Now, actually that is a helluva hypothetical, isn't it?

by fredo on 6/30/2009 @ 7:18am
Thorax, the list does go on and on.

We've provided billions of dollars in uncollateralized loans to the auto makers. And the money we loaned them we didn't have in the first place. We borrowed it and our children and grandchildren will get to pay it back. Apparently, our elected leaders are afraid to let the free market make rational economic decisions.

Having said that, I do favor a small subsidy for transit on the order of about 25%.

by Dmitri on 6/30/2009 @ 12:09pm
I hope that, as we're increasing bus fares, we look at charging the "real" cost of oil and gas. How about if we charge Exxon/Mobil for the cost of all the military we deploy to keep the oil supplies running (go ahead ... tell me we're there for some other reason). That would also mean getting rid of the public subsidies those companies get. The public also pays for pollution cleanup and road repair, far beyon what gas taxes cover. Gas would be about $7 a gallon if the oil companies paid these real costs. The difference between that and what we really pay is a bigger public subsidy than the amount we pay for public transit.

We have privatized profit and socialized loss. Your phantom of "socialism" can't compare to the corporate socialism we already have.

by thriceallamerican on 6/30/2009 @ 12:26pm
Maybe while we're at it we can take away all subsidies from road construction and pay tolls everywhere...

Yay, it's fun to take away subsidies and see all of the stuff we'd have to pay for directly if our taxes weren't serving us!

by NineInchNachos on 6/30/2009 @ 1:09pm
take away all forms of government. Let's make the US into the libertarian paradise that is Somalia!

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/30/2009 @ 1:22pm
Dunno. Governments from Uncle Sam down to the city level lately have been taking more and more, but giving less.
How high are our taxes? I've heard it said that on a per capita basis, we're not the highest taxed state, but Olympia does collect the biggest share of any state per capita.
Why the hell do we have all these goddamn potholes still?

by NineInchNachos on 2/17/2010 @ 1:35pm
"Unfortunately, Pierce Transit has been hit really hard by the economic crisis and has already been slightly reducing service hours. However, these service hour reductions are the tip of the iceberg in terms of what could happen if no new revenue source is found."

by fredo on 2/17/2010 @ 9:12pm
If the transit systems are really as valuable to the riders as proponents claim they are there shouldn't be any problem with raising the fares to cover the expected shortfall.

by tacoma1 on 2/18/2010 @ 7:31am
Actually, we need to change how we fund roads and transit. Neither has a sustainable revenue stream. We are simply going from funding crisis to funding crisis with no end in sight.

Our Governor refuses to come up with a transit funding solution, and our Pierce Co. Exec has shown no leadership here either. This is truly frustrating.

by fredo on 2/18/2010 @ 11:08am
This is what happens when you have a heavily subsidized transit system. People pay lip service to transit but they don't actually want to ride it themselves, or if they do, they want to travel great distances by only paying a dollar or two. This is truly frustrating.

by NineInchNachos on 2/18/2010 @ 11:27am
I've paid a great deal of money for puget passes and electronic orca cards over years to travel from central Tacoma to Downtown Tacoma. I love it.

Washington really needs to get off sales tax altogether and switch to a progressive income tax.

by NineInchNachos on 2/18/2010 @ 11:28am
I'm sick of rich people getting free rides!

by fredo on 2/18/2010 @ 12:49pm
It's worth noting that the "microsoft tax dodge" in the legislature is sponsored by a Democrat.

Hey, I thought they were the party of the poor and oppressed?

by NineInchNachos on 2/18/2010 @ 12:54pm
you can have good and bad democrats,
just like you can have good and bad republicans.

by L.S.Erhardt on 2/18/2010 @ 3:11pm
No income tax unless the sales tax is 100% abolished.

Which it won't be. Aunt Gregoire and the rest of the nimrods in Olympia want both income and sales taxes and a 1 cent per ounce tax on bottled water.
...god help you if you buy your H2O in bulk at Costco.

by Jesse on 2/18/2010 @ 7:30pm
The state does need to move from a sales tax to an income tax. Sales tax helps cities that don't need it and hurts those (like Tacoma) that have poorer populations (than Seattle anyways).

I notice towns, in my job driving around the western part of Washington, that either seem to HAVE things they need or HAVE NOT nearly anything... thanks to the sales tax.

PS- Sarah Palin weeps for your soul over that comic RR.

by panachronic on 2/18/2010 @ 8:21pm
I would support an income tax if, and only if...

... there is a constitutional amendment eliminating and prohibiting reintroduction of any sales tax, and eliminating all state taxes on property.

... there is a criminal statute that requires stiff prison sentences for any legislator who so much as mentions tampering with said constitutional amendment.

... the income tax is flat rate, across the board, with no exemptions, deductions, credits, or any other type of tax break, for anybody, under any circumstances.

... the income tax treats all income, from all sources, exactly the same.

... the income tax carries no minimum below which a person would not be required to pay.

... all property valuations (for purposes of local taxation) are based on actual sales price and remain frozen until the property is resold.

Those are my terms. In the absence of these reforms, I will fight an income tax as if it were a hungry beast, looking to eat my children.

by NineInchNachos on 2/18/2010 @ 8:40pm
a welfare mom is supposed to pay the same $ taxes as a Microsoft billionaire? wait... they do that now! har har har.

by NineInchNachos on 2/18/2010 @ 8:55pm
hey uh... Panachronic, Fredo... TO'T... you guys don't own or fly private airplanes do you? I like to tease you, but please don't take it personally huh? Were all bro's here eh? Chin up!

by NineInchNachos on 1/23/2011 @ 7:42pm
Timothy Farrell says....

In the past, I have advocated for the "peanut butter" approach to spreading out transit service cuts. Should Prop 1 fail, I am considering shrinking Pierce Transit boundaries.

The upside is efficiency ensuring we don't tax people for services we don't provide. The downside is that if you need any transit services they will no longer be provided.

Big decision - so please discuss.

by NineInchNachos on 1/23/2011 @ 7:43pm
Kevin Manley asks:

Wouldn't the downside also be less revenue coming in if you decrease the boundaries?

by NineInchNachos on 1/23/2011 @ 7:44pm
Timothy Farrell says...

Kevin: Actually, we have many areas that are "receiver cities" in that it costs us more to service them than we get in tax revenue. Bonney Lake is an exception, they give more than they receive. I plan on asking staff to come up with a menu of potential options. Our current boundaries go as far south as 224th, my goal would be to reel that in to at least 176th - perhaps further in. I would also want to see a legislative change that would allow us to charge more for a rider if they live outside the transit boundaries. Many taxpayers ask why they have to pay as much as someone who lives outside the boundary. This would be a fair change for the taxpayers.