King County Sales Tax Revenues May Cause Arts to Flourish

King County Executive Dow Constantine speaks at his second inauguration. His administration posts a slideshow of accomplishments each year. His office has proposed a 2017 sales tax program that would raise revenues for art, science and cultural programs.

A new sales tax revenue program proposed for the Aug. 1, 2017, King County ballot would raise $67 million per year for art, science and cultural programs and access.

SEATTLE — King County Executive Dow Constantine announced Proposition 1, a sales tax revenue program funding art, science and heritage enrichment programs, for the Aug. 1, 2017 ballot.

The program, Access for All, would be funded by a 0.1 percent increase in the county sales tax, equating to 1 cent for every $10 spent. If passed, it’s expected to generate an estimated $67 million each year over the next seven years.

Access for All would increase funding for institutions providing in-class learning experiences in every county school district, along with providing students with transportation and free tickets. It would also allow more arts, science and heritage organizations to offer free admission and membership to families and seniors who earn a lower income.

Access for All provides all people of all incomes – young and old, rural and urban – with more opportunities to learn and be inspired,” said Executive Constantine in a prepared announcement.

How It Would Work

Access for All would provide proportionally more new funding for more than 300 smaller community organizations throughout the county.

About 20 percent of the sales tax revenues would be designated for public school students and their transportation access.

Access for All would be managed by 4Culture, King County’s Cultural Development Authority. The funding from county sales tax revenues would focus on four primary areas:

  • Education for kids: Increasing free access to students at all 19 King County school districts to curriculum-related art, science and heritages programs, both in-class and at cultural sites, with an emphasis on underserved students.
  • Equity and inclusion: Providing higher levels of funding to community-based organizations that serve communities of opportunity. An Equity Advisory Committee would be established to evaluate progress toward achieving equity goals and outcomes.
  • Opening doors for all: Extending to lower income families and seniors free or low-cost admission to nearly 40 major arts, science and heritage organizations, including Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle Aquarium, Pacific Science Center, Museum of Flight and others.
  • Investing in local communities: Creating additional programming funding for botanical gardens, children theaters, music training programs and local art and science groups.

Sales tax funds would be collected by King County and awarded by 4Culture through public panels and contracts for service that call for each recipient to provide continual, measurable public benefits.

Every organization that received public funding through Access for All would be required to provide ongoing documentation of program benchmarks, visitors serviced and community impact.

Read the original announcement on KingCounty.gov.

Editor’s Update: The measure failed on August 7, 2017, according to Cultural Access Washington.

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