Seattle Public Library asks for a property tax increase

The Seattle Public Library (SPL) is asking the Seattle City Council to a put a property tax increase specifically for libraries on the August primary ballot next year.

The library believes that Seattle residents value their libraries highly and is hoping that they will vote in favor of higher property taxes to guarantee stable funding for them.

SPL has had to reduce staff and hours as a result of budget cuts due to the recession.  Many branches are closed two days a week and all locations are closed for a whole week once each year to cope with the reduced funding.

Last month, Seattle voters approved a $232 million levy for schools with 59 percent of voters in favor of the increase in taxes.  The vote encouraged SPL officials to see if residents would be willing to raise taxes for libraries as well.

SPL is holding several community meetings over the next month to inform the public about what the libraries offer and to gauge interest in stabilizing library funding through dedicated property taxes.

Many cities have been successful in the past year in getting voters to raise taxes to fund their libraries.  Let’s see if trend continues for Seattle next year.