New taxes need a vote


I had coffee with Port of Port Townsend Commissioner Pete Hanke the other day. We both agreed the Port just doesn’t have the funds to do what is necessary.

The Port did what any reasonable person would do - they looked for a solution anywhere they could find one. And they found a solution in state law, a law that allows the Port to raise property taxes on their own and without a vote of the people.

The Port could raise taxes as much as $15 million over twenty years.

Now, I’m no stranger to raising property taxes. I served as Treasurer for a political action committee that mounted two separate campaigns to raise taxes benefiting Quilcene Fire

Rescue. I had the privilege of working with legendary Democratic campaign manager Nancy Biery who guided both campaigns to success at the polls.

But the same law that allows the Port to unilaterally raise property taxes also allows the people to petition to put those taxes to a vote. I feel strongly that whenever possible, the people should vote on tax increases. That’s why I have prepared a petition to get the Port’s tax increase on a ballot.

It is not entirely certain the petition will succeed. It needs at least 1636 signatures and it must be submitted within a 90 day window. That’s a high hurdle.

The petition does not argue the merits of a tax increase - that will happen only if it gets to a ballot measure. The one and only issue addressed by the petition is simply this: Should the people vote on the Port’s tax increase?

No matter what your political stripe, if you agree that the people should be able to vote on tax increases then I urge you to sign the petition when asked.

David Neuenschwander


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