On Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, Kent Mayor Dana Ralph sent out the following letter about the city’s Legislative Delegation and Community Partners, with focus on Streamlined Sales Tax (SST) Mitigation:
On January 14, our state legislators will embark on a 105-day session to tackle a number of statewide policy issues and develop a biennial budget. They will work long days and spend much time away from their families to tackle the difficult and challenging issues that face the state. We greatly appreciate the legislators who serve the Kent community in the 11th district – Rep. Steve Bergquist (D), Sen. Bob Hasegawa (D) and Rep. Zack Hudgins (D); 33rd district – Rep. Mia Gregerson (D), Sen. Karen Keiser (D) and Rep. Tina Orwall (D); and 47th district – Sen. Mona Das (D), Rep. Debra Entenman (D) and Rep. Pat Sullivan (D).
The City of Kent will be working closely with members of our delegation on the issues that have the most profound impact on our community. The most significant of those issues is securing ongoing funding for the Streamlined Sales Tax (SST) Mitigation Program that is currently scheduled to end October 2019. If the program ends this fall as planned, the City of Kent will lose nearly $5 million in annual revenue – funding that has previously paid for public safety and other critical services.
The SST Mitigation Program was put in place in 2007 when the state switched from origin-based sales tax to destination-based sales tax. Kent no longer receives sales tax revenue from products and goods manufactured, stored or sold in Kent. The sales tax now goes to the cities where the products and goods are shipped. With large warehousing facilities in our region, this has a significant and ongoing impact on Kent, Auburn and Tukwila, the three cities hit the hardest in the state.
At the time that destination-based sales tax went into effect, the State committed to making Kent and other impacted cities whole by making quarterly mitigation payments. However, because of changes made by the 2017 Legislature, that promise will be broken when the program ends this fall. Our legislators are well positioned to restore funding to the SST program, and we are hopeful that their partnership and advocacy on behalf of the Kent community will be successful. We also encourage Kent residents and businesses to thank and encourage our legislators for taking on the challenging task of restoring this critical funding. We all need to work together to make this happen.
In addition to SST mitigation, the City of Kent will work closely with our legislators to address transportation congestion, flooding, street racing, public safety, housing and more. We wish them well as they undertake these important Kent issues as well as other challenging topics.
Mayor Dana Ralph