5th District lawmakers ask state auditor to conduct audit of King County operations

Lawmakers want to ensure efficiency, accountability before taxes can be raised

After several calls for increased taxes by King County officials and the passage of Senate Bill 5433, Reps. Glenn Anderson and Jay Rodne requested the state auditor unravel the county’s performance to find efficiencies before tax hikes can be implemented.

In a

letter   to State Auditor Brian Sonntag, the legislators urged a complete audit of King County operations. Senate Bill 5433 gives King County authority to impose a new regular property tax levy of 7.5-cents per $1,000 assessed value for transit-related expenditures without voter approval. This new property tax authority represents an estimated $26 million tax increase for King County property owners in calendar year 2010.

Raising taxes without asking the people who will foot the bill and before ensuring government is accountable and efficient, is disrespectful to taxpayers, they said.

"We want to know that all efficiencies have been found and are being implemented before asking taxpayers for more of their hard-earned wages," said Anderson, R-Fall City. "Washington’s families are looking closely at how they are spending their money and where savings can be maximized, and we want to know if government is doing the same. This is an effort to protect citizens, and I think the exercise will be well worth it as we all strive to tighten our belts."

The bill also provides new taxing authority for transit districts (e.g. King County Metro Transit) to seek voter approval of a $20 "congestion reduction tax." If approved, it represents an additional $31 million tax increase on King County vehicle owners.

"All levels of government must be transparent and accountable to the people. This process is even more vital in tough economic and budget times. Before government enacts new taxes and fees, it should have full accounting of its operations and assure taxpayers that existing resources are being used properly," said Rodne, R-North Bend. "I believe King County could benefit from a state audit and should embrace the idea. This isn’t about uncovering wrong doing; it’s about finding efficiency and restoring the trust of the people. I urge the state auditor to comply with our request and undertake a full audit of King County."

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Contact: Bobbi Cussins, Public Information Officer, (360) 786-7252
               John Handy, Deputy Communications Director, (360) 786-5758

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov