As Shift has reported, Spokane voters will be asked by the Spokane Transit Authority (STA) board to approve a major sales tax hike via a ballot measure this April. STA seeks to approve a 0.3% increase in the local sales tax to fund a $72 million electric trolley line that would go six miles – from Spokane’s Browne’s Addition neighborhood, east through the Gonzaga University campus and ending at the Spokane Community College campus. If approved, the local sales tax would increase from 8.7% to 9.0%— that’s one of the highest in the state.
Transit officials’ primary goal for the measure is the trolley line. Much like Prop 1 in King County, advocates are doing their best to ensure the trolley happens, launching a full-fledged “Yes” campaign. But, you won’t know about the trolley plan from the campaign’s latest literature.
According to the Washington Policy Center, the trolley advocates have “issued a new, glossy election brochure and launched a Facebook page urging support.” Noticeably missing from the literature is “any mention of the electric trolley, part of the proposal transit officials once called the “centerpiece” of their tax-increase plan.
Advocates appear to be hiding their true agenda by using general terms to describe what the measure would do. Rather than use the word “trolley,” the campaign opts for “central city line.” Additionally, “there is no picture, description or public notice about the proposed electric trolley.”
You would think that transit officials would believe in a project they ask taxpayers to fund to the tune of $72 million. By deceptive tactics employed, it is all too apparent transit officials prefer to keep voters in the dark about how their money would be spent.
You can check out the deceptive campaign literature here.