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Should Property Taxes Be Funding City Council Candidates?

Flickr Photo/Canadian Pacific
Seattle City Council complex.

This November voters in the city of Seattle will have a chance to decide whether or not City Council races should be publicly funded. Proposition 1 would create a program that funnels public money to candidates who decide to opt in to the program. To qualify, prospective candidates have to receive donations of at least $10 from 600 voters. If they do, they will receive six public dollars for every one dollar they raise up to $210,000 dollars.

The money to fund the program will come from a small hike in property tax, a 1.64 cent raise for every $1,000 of assessed property value. The idea behind Proposition 1 is to create fairer, more diverse elections by giving more candidates access to more money. Critics say the proposition will not achieve what it promises.

Jim Street, former Seattle City Councilmember and judge, supports the proposition. He explains why voters should consider voting yes. In opposition, Kirk Robbins, longtime neighborhood activist, explains why he thinks public money should go elsewhere.

Produced by Amina al-Sadi.