SPOKANE, Wash. - In a late Monday night vote, the Spokane City Council raised car licensing taxes by $20, which will put an additional $2.5 Million into the city?s coffers to repair city streets and sidewalks.
The impact to each Spokane resident will vary depending on how many cars they own. But if you?re a Spokane business owner that owns a fleet of cars, the new tax is going to cut into their bottom line.
Kevin Schroeder opened Spokane Procare 24 years ago. He has struggled to survive the current economic storm and this new vehicle tab tax isn't going to help.
?It?s just another hit to the business,? he explained.
He owns 75 vehicles, which means that $20 per vehicle tax has turned into more than $1,000. Schroeder, however, isn?t worried just about businesses like his that will take a hit.
?Mrs. Smith, on a fixed income, that is already struggling, I think that?s huge,? he said.
Netharly Yager agrees; she owns one car and will probably have no problem coming up with the $20. But it?s still money she would rather spend on something else.
?Twenty dollars, gosh, that?s gonna help me go shopping a little bit for some clothes,? she said.
Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder voted in favor of the tax, and said the money will be well spent. 90 percent will help fix city streets, paying for filling potholes, grind and overlays, materials, additional crews.
?People should look at this way, they are already paying a tax and that tax is called front end alignment, new struts for your car and lost hub cap and reduced fuel efficiency from having less conditioned roads,? he said.
Snyder said the other 10 percent of the money raised through the tax will help make the city more pedestrian friendly because the city is building a people friendly transportation system.
?We aren't creating a transportation system for vehicles we are creating a transportation for human beings,? he said.
Schroeder says he will find away to stretch an already tight budget but he will be surprised if he starts to see better roads.
?I have lived in Spokane my whole life, we have always had awful roads, Schroeder said.
Schroeder says he will not raise his prices because keeping his prices the same is how he has managed to survive the poor economy, however other businesses contacted for this story indicated they would have no choice but to pass the increased cost of doing business on to their customers.
To ensure the money goes to repairing our streets, there will be a separate committee of volunteers who oversees the funds. The tax will go into effect sometime in the next six months.
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